First of all, apologies for this post being a day late. Just as well you know I'm a disorganized procrastinator isn't it? It's half-term for us this week, so my priorities got shifted somewhat. Excuses, excuses....
Which leads nicely on to the question for this week: why is it often so hard to do the things we love?
Why do so many of us fill our lives with so much "stuff" that we never get to do the things we dream of?
Why do so many of us turn back just as we start to get to where we want to be?
Why do some people seem to press the self-destruct button just as life is getting good?
What stops us making that last great leap forward?
For a lot of people I guess it comes down to one thing: fear.
Maybe the closer we get to our dream, the harder it would be to see it slip through our fingers.
Or maybe what we are really scared of is what would happen if we succeed, and we do make our dream come true. What would happen then?
If we've spent our whole lives dreaming of something, what happens to our lives when that something is no longer a dream but a reality?
Where do we go next?
What if the dream turns out not to be worth all those hours of wishing and working for it?
Or what if the dream works out fine, but our life is still...well, a normal life with all its ups and downs?
What if we don't have that magic moment that makes everything "happy ever after"?
I enjoyed reading an article on The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur blog [www.toiletpaperentrepreneur.com] recently (though the blog is an old one), about how to find your hidden talent. What was the No.1 tip, according to Mike Michalowicz? "Sorry, No Excuses Allowed." No hiding your talents because you're scared it might not work out, no staying put and staying safe, then blaming your problems on someone or something else.
I know I'm guilty of this - I can think of a hundred external reasons why I never get round to sitting down and writing that tricky middle section of my novel. But the truth really is, whenever I think about it I get scared. Its hard to explain why objectively - after all typing words into a computer screen is hardly an extreme sport. But what it comes down to it this - in my mind I can imagine what will happen in an alternative universe where I become "a writer". I will be happier, more confident, prettier, better dressed. My whole household will be happier, brighter and more smoothly run. The children won't argue and domestic appliances won't break down. I like my alternative universe.
Now I'm old enough to know that the world doesn't work like that. Becoming the next JK Rowling won't change my whole life into a fairy tale where no bad things can touch me. But there's an even worse fear lurking just around the corner.
What if I am just no good at it? What if I never become a writer, not because I selflessly devote all my time to my family, but just because I don't have the ability?
Is it better to fool myself that I could be great if only the rest of the world hadn't stopped me?
Or to face the music and find out?
I'm starting to come round to the idea that facing the music has to be better. And then if I truly am awful I have two choices: carry on anyway, for my own pleasure; or move on and try a different dream on for size.
Someone once told me that the really clever birds know a scarecrow signifies not danger but the best crops. So next time the scarecrows of life start crowding in, I'm going to try laughing in their faces, and carrying on skipping through the fields.