Tell me why the caged heart beats

[Last of the Heart Series]
“If we don’t offer ourselves to the unknown, our senses dull. Our world becomes small, and we lose our sense of wonder. Our eyes don’t lift to the horizon; we don’t hear the sounds around us. The edge is off our experience, and we pass our days in a routine that is both comfortable and limiting. We wake up one day and find that we have lost our dreams in order to protect our days.” via Anna Cinense.

Sometimes I feel like I’m slowly losing my sense of wonder. In the last…(counts in head) year and a bit, I feel like my enthusiasm and curiosity beginning to dull, and I’m letting my circumstances determine who I become or how I react. In December, I was offered the job I am currently working at. It took me a long time and many conversations with many friends before I decided to take the temporary position. The deciding factor? Money.

At the time, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to let go of a part time job that I really loved, but knew if I did both, it would mean working 7 days a week, weeks at a time – again (I did this during two four month co-op terms, and burnt out by the end of each of term). While thinking about what I should do, I shared with a friend my dilemma, and the friend told me that I’ll have to sacrifice something – I couldn’t have it all. Out of all the friends I sought advice and input from, this friend was the only one who put it so clearly. Sacrifice. I couldn’t have it both ways.

I don’t necessarily regret taking on this position, as it has enabled me to pursue other goals, but I do know that it’s not the kind of work I want to be doing for the rest of my life. What worries me is how I’ve seriously considered (many times) about sacrificing, or giving up on my dreams just to sustain a certain quality of life. I’ve thought about delaying school and working so I can live a the life so many people my age are living and succumb to the definition of what my mother considers a responsible adult, and work towards being on par with my peers, as I know the whole “follow-your-dreams” thing won’t be glamourous. And in a sense, stop seeking the unknown.

Just the other day, I had a discussion with a friend about how her life has changed in the last little while. Two years ago, she sacrificed a job that she also loved (how we met, actually), took out a loan and pursued hair dressing school. She loved it, but shortly after working in the industry, she came to the conclusion that despite her passions, finances and stability became a factor in whether or not she would keep with it. While she hasn’t given up on hair dressing completely, she just knows that, as of right now, in order to meet the basic needs, she’ll have to give it up for the time being. We talked about how easy following your dreams can look, but there are indeed a lot of uncertainties and sacrifices that come with it.

So, what I’m pondering about is whether balance is possible and whether or not our passions and dreams offer us freedom or if it’s just another form of imprisonment. Must we pursue our passion with the kind of extremity that we have to sacrifice other parts of our lives that also really matter? And if we don’t, does that mean we believe in our dreams less? Will it mean that we didn’t fight hard enough? Do I just watch too many movies and have read too many “How to Succeed in Business” type books? Or am I just being a brat who is suffering from an obnoxious sense of entitlement to have both?

In no way do I feel like I will forfeit my main life goals, I’m just admitting that I find the decisions I have to and choose to make are becoming increasingly more difficult, and that I fear that one day I won’t want to offer myself to the unknown because I’m too afraid to fail.

But, with a dose of perspective, I’m lucky to still be in the position where fulfilling my dreams is possible. While I know stability and certainty is comforting, it won’t make my heart skip a beat nor will it inspire me to create more. I feel slightly embarrassed that I consider this an issue, as my circumstances are far from dire and could be (God forbid) a lot worse. While my sense of wonder wanes from time to time, I really hope I can still continue to offer myself to the unknown.

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