So it’s the day after the day after the conference.  As with nearly every conference I left with a feeling of empowerment, possibility, hope and energy.  I walked out on air really.  A whole new world lay at my feet.  Today, the day after, the day after, things would be different.  It was a time of new beginnings.  Until the beast slouched into the room and began to tear into those feelings.

Who are you to believe you can do these things?  You are so much less-than.  You’ve never done these things before.  Remember all the other conferences?  You were going to do great things, turn over new leaves, really push your comfort zones and what?  What happened?  Nothing really.  You returned to your old life.  The necessities of it made it impossible to do new things.  And you weren’t up to it.  You weren’t strong enough.  So what’s changed now?  This time what’s different?

It’s at this point that my beast, the smug bastard, puts his hands on his hips and defies me to convince him otherwise.  I can’t deny what he’s said about the past so on he goes.

Sure, you may have talent, you may have ability, but besides your poor track record, what’s the real chance, the real possibility that you’ll change?  You’re no spring chicken you know.  You’ve been around the block and you have this set of skills, things you do, have done, for so long, you’ll never really be able to build a new skill set.  You should have been at this for at least ten years at this point to have any hope of succeeding.  But don’t feel too bad, it’s not really your fault.  You did what you had to do to earn a living back when.  You were trying to provide for your family, you thought this direction didn’t show enough promise.  And you were right.  It was risky.  It was risky then and it’s risky now.  You did what you had to do for noble reasons, sure, but now?  I’m afraid the ship has sailed buddy.  No one blames you for staying in your lane.  Just stick there, where it’s comfortable.

The beast has turned understanding, sympathetic even.  He’s your friend.  He really just wants to speak reality and truth into your situation.  He’s looking out for you, your best interests and all.  He’d hate to see you rejected, disappointed, by chasing something that, let’s face it, is just out there.  His tone is fraternal now.

I know you’re hopeful that this new thing will fill you up, that it will step into some sort of gap you think you have.  But you really have so much.  I don’t really understand it in the first place because “hope” won’t pay the bills.  It won’t build a life for you.  It won’t save for retirement and it surely won’t make it easier on you or the people around you.  Think of them too, not just yourself.  You’re mature, an adult and you have to think like one.  You need a concrete paycheck, a job with benefits and a 401K.  How is hope going to make those happen?  I mean, look at the people who have gotten to the mountain top where you really only “hope” to get.  Do you think they just started out with hope?  Be practical here, they knew things, they learned so much, oh so much over time, time you don’t have.  They had time literally (as in hours a day) and figuratively, or big picture (you’re nearing the end of your career).  Take it from me, stick where you’re at.  You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.  Not that you’re dumb or anything but you’ve gotten where you’re at a as a result of a lot of work and smart, logical decisions and to chuck it all for the hope of having something different just doesn’t make sense.  Please, listen to me.  I know you.  You know you.  Both of us together, know better.

The beast makes a good argument.  He does know who I am, even if I don’t.  He knows where I’m standing.  He knows me inside better than I seem to at this point.  He looks me squarely in the eye and launches his final salvo into an area I know as well and as certainly as I am sitting in front of him.

You know, making these changes, even if you’re really committed to them, empowered by them, are hopeful and see the possibility; making these changes takes a lot of energy.  Are you sure you have it?  Do you really want to work that hard when you could stick where you’re comfortable?  You know every day your back, your joints, ache more and more.  Doing something like this, radical change, that’s a young person’s game.  How are you going to muster the gumption, the perseverance, to get it done?  What if nothing comes from it?  Because that’s a real possibility, if you want to talk possibilities.  What extra energy, that you really don’t have to waste, will you have expended?  What will you have missed out on in the process?  You know time is a finite resource and so is your energy.  How are you going to continue with your 40+ hour a week job and have hours enough to do this?  Be realistic now.  You know, when you were younger, you could have done it, existed on 3-4 hours of sleep, skipped meals, crammed your art, your passion, into nooks and crannies and gaps of time.  But now?  Now, you need those times to recover, to heal up from the body blows your paying job, demanding job, dishes out every day.  Where is the extra energy going to come from?  Supplements?  Some freaky diet?  Those aren’t sustainable and neither is the prospect of burning your already burnt and diminished candle at both ends and the middle.  Please listen to me.  I’m only telling you this for your own good!

The beast leaned back into his chair and folded his arms knowing he had made a clear case, fool-proof really, rock solid, airtight.  It wasn’t a new argument.  He’d made the same or similar argument time and time again in the past and he had been successful.  That’s why the look on his face was one of assurance and confidence.  After all, I was the same person he had spoken truth into before.  I drew a deep breath and leaned forward.

Okay, my turn to speak…

Rebuttal forthcoming next week.

Every week I write about life stuff, sometimes personal, sometimes general, often it’s just what I’m going through at the time.  If you would like to check out other posts, please scroll up, they’re at the top.  If you like what you’ve read and would like to subscribe you can do that up there too.  Thanks so much for reading, please feel free to comment.