Major: Creative Writing English
Non-WMU Program Florence, Italy
9 February 2016 10:57
“You’re not going to make it. There’s no money in what you’re doing. You need a real job. How are you going to pay the bills?”
I hear it everyday.
“What’s your major?”
“Oh.” A blank stare always surfaces. Then- silence.
Most people my age have some kind of idea of what the rest of their lives will entail. I meet business majors and communication majors who have clear career paths laid out right before them. After a year of trying to understand people’s consistent reaction to my major, it’s starting to finally make sense- nobody is able to picture what I will be doing in life 10 years from now. The part that scares me the most- neither can I
This major has led me straight to a pit of impossible expectations that I will never live up to. I could write a book and prove all the doubt-filled questions wrong. Or -and this is a more likely scenario- I could wind up as a fry-cook sitting on a book that was never published.
The problem I’ve had in the last year: I fed right into these expectations of what a “writer” should be. Truthfully, I would love to classify myself as one- but I’m not. I encouraged these expectations upon myself and starting trying to live up to them- forcing words from my brain down to any page I could get my hands on.
Now- it’s clear. I don’t really know what “making it” as a writer means. I don’t know who the judge of what a “real job” is. I could have entered a financially safe career path and cruised into a nice salary job making thousands that ensured I would never worry about another bill again. But the day I declared myself a writing major, a bug deep inside my chest ate at me- not allowing this to ever happen. The rush of pride I felt when I declared this major resurfaces each time I re-declare it to my peers.
I’ve considered changing paths to relieve the stress and to allow myself a guarantee that people will be happy with my decision. But what I have learned is that one needs to be selfish in order to find any sense of true happiness.
I refuse to make others happy for me while compromising my own fulfillment of life in the process.
The high that comes from getting these words out is addicting- a feeling I refuse to ever silence. Florence has forced me to evaluate myself and makes me the happiest. I used to think the happiest day of my life would be seeing my name scribbled across a book cover. But now, I fear envisioning myself so far into the future that I miss all the happiness that rests right in front of my face.
One day at a time- I always catch myself saying this. I never translated this to my own life until coming here. Before coming to Italy, I was counting down the days. But now, I regret every second of this. Every single day, even if it may not seem like it, is an opportunity to change. Fill these days with what we love. Our passions. The thing that never fails to make you smile.
I’ve accepted the instability of being a writing major and I feel no regret or embarrassment when introducing it to other people. I refuse to allow what others think I should be doing affect the way I live this life. A nice house or fancy car will not make me the happiest man I can be. I never believed I would say this, but neither will a published book with my name across the cover. My happiness rests inside myself. And as long as I can have this pencil in my hand and feel pride in every word pouring out-,that’s when I “make it”- even if it means being a fry-cook struggling to pay the bills.
Don’t search for something is impossible to find. If you spend your whole life looking for happiness like a dog chasing its tail, you’ll wake up one day and realized you never found it. Find what you love, do it often, and do it with pride and passion.
Today, I take my own advice.