‘I want this more than anything.’
‘If this doesn’t happen, I don’t know what I’ll do.’
‘If only I got that promotion/job everything would be different.’
‘I just need to find that special someone and I will be happy.’
The drama and passion of these heartfelt pleas are fuelled by the media. We watch films and read books where life is simple. The geeky girl/boy meets someone who loves them just the way that they are, they fall in love and live happily ever after. A woman loses her job, her world is falling apart, but then she writes a book, and all of her financial worries are resolved. Then, there are the talent shows where an awkward looking boy tells the camera that winning the competition would mean everything to him, and a few series later he is back as the star act, having achieved super-stardom. Real-life doesn’t make good telly and so stories of success, both imaginary and real, are dramatized and we buy into this. I have thought for some time that the romcoms we adore contribute to a dissatisfaction in relationships.
Our dream is a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. We truly believe that one that one thing we wish for happens our life will be transformed. For many writers, it is getting an agent or a publishing deal. We hold that heartfelt wish so tight, we clench it within our soul, willing it to happen. To relax that hold for one second feels as though we are giving up and reducing our chances of success. Everything depends on that wish coming true.
My writing buddy achieved what seemed to the outside world like an overnight success. I know that she worked hard to develop her writing craft over many years and when success came it was well deserved and well earned. This friend won a novel competition and a couple of years later her internationally best-selling novel was advertised on posters at airports and railway stations. Of course, she was giddy with excitement as she was swept up in a whirlwind of success, but soon life settled back into a routine. ‘I am often asked how I feel about my success, and that it must have changed my life beyond recognition,’ she told me, ‘but it hasn’t. Not really. I was happy before and I’m happy now. Apart from being able to earn a living doing something I love, nothing much has changed.’
I have another friend who was over-joyed to be signed by her ‘dream’ literary agent certain that this was it – her passport to the glittery world of becoming a published author. Fourteen months later, she is still waiting for her agent to find a publisher and one heartfelt wish has been replaced with another.
The thing that we long to happen, or fear will happen doesn’t change our life. There is a blip of happiness or despair, but in the scheme of things, it is a minor disturbance. Think back to the day you got your dream job, got married, or on the downside received a rejection letter from an agent or following an interview. You may have been happy or disappointed for a few days, or weeks but then life happened and soon you had another goal or dream. I can no longer remember my rejection letters or the jobs I didn’t get.
The constant is the life you are living now. Your family and friends, the pleasure that you get from everyday activities, your good health. By focusing on what is beyond our control, changing another person’s behaviour, making someone like you – hire you – sign you, we are neglecting to change the things that we can control. If life carries on as normal after the blip, then we need to invest in making it a good life by appreciating what we have now and making the most of each moment.
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