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Careers. Jobs. Money. Suits. Work days.
I don’t know about you, but I’m bloody sick of them.
Such practicalities are often the bane of every INFP’s existence. It seems all our talents are unappreciated by society, and do not translate well into dollar signs. Cha-ching. Why can’t there be a job where we just sit and come up with insights on existence? Why can’t someone be our patron, and pay for our food and shelter until we write the next great American novel?
Yeah. We’re told that we’re ungrateful. Spoilt. All take and no give. That we need to contribute to society just like everyone else. But when society doesn’t give a damn about what we have to offer, to the point where it actually shuns our delicate natures and gifts, what are we meant to do?
Of course, many of us want to become novelists, but we all know how difficult the publishing industry is to get into, and the time it takes to get good enough to sell one’s writing.
Eventually, it gets to the point where we have an existential crisis every time we look at a dollar bill, fondling it with the caution one normally reserves for scraps of Martian skin, and wonder how a FUCKING PIECE OF PAPER (or plastic, depending on where you live) can have such hold over our petty, petty lives. Can restrict our dreams just as much as anything solid or tangible.
How would you feel if gorillas suddenly started trading in bark for fruit that was free for the taking on trees? That’s how ridiculous our capitalist system is. Most of the time, people don’t provide anything of value, and are just there to clock in the hours to make the machine look like it’s running like a dream.
Huh. More like a nightmare.
You ever been on public transport, a public train? Lambs for the slaughter. Dead-eyed people. Crammed in like sardines. Souls hard and lifeless as stones. Bowed, broken people. Doesn’t it just make you sick? Last time I went on the train, I had the overwhelming urge to jump out the window. To scream. Anything but just sit there, another body, another unthinking lump of flesh.
In the end, most of us give in. After all, mortgages exist. Children exist. Empty stomachs, aching for sustenance, exist. Eventually, the stars fizzle out from our eyes, and we settle down, with the deepest of sighs in our souls, and work at a job we most likely loathe, or stifles our creativity, squirreling away bits of time on the side to pursue our passions.
It sends a very clear message to us, doesn’t it?
Your talents are unwanted. Your dreams are unrealistic. Stupid, starry-eyed dreamer.
Grow up. Get a life. Stop whining.
That’s what they always say, don’t they? Each word a knife stabbed and twisted deep in our hearts.
For a long while, I thought the only way for us to survive in this world was to compromise.
But to compromise is to sell a chunk of our soul, and you know it. Compromise does not leave you feeling satisfied. Compromise keeps you in line, obedient, another mediocre little puppy ready to yap on phones and push papers across desks with your nose.
But here’s a thought: why should we have to adapt to the system? Why not find a way to live outside of the system?
This takes COURAGE. Lots and lots of courage. It depends on how badly you want your dream to come true. You’ve got to want it bad. Perseverance and pain. But ultimately, it is the only way you will ever be happy (unless you’re an INFP who prefers the conventional route, in that case, keep up your good work!).
If you want to devote your time to your creative pursuits, be they writing or otherwise, and would rather disembowel yourself than remain in the 9-5 grind, I have a drastic solution for you.
It’s not for the wimps. It’s not for the scared scaredy-cats. And trust me, we’re all scaredy-cats. The only difference between the lion and the scaredy-cat is that the lion pads out into the desert even when it’s frightened, while the scaredy-cat cowers in its suburban home, too afraid to confront the wilderness.
You’ve got to find an alternative way of living. One that allows you to devote yourself fully to feeling alive. To your creative pursuits. To whatever that makes your heart sings.
One that will make you excited to wake up in the morning. One that ignites the core of your being with the cool, delicious touch of an angel’s kiss. You’ve got to take the plunge, throw all caution to the wind, and pursue your dream no matter what happens. No matter how hard it gets. No matter what.
This might mean cutting back ALL unnecessary expenses. Don’t feed the system you loathe.
This might mean going against your parents wishes, and not matriculating: AKA not going on to college and university like society tells you to.
This might mean getting kicked out of your parent’s home, and living in a tiny, tiny room as part of a shared accommodation.
This might mean living on the dole.
This might mean taking a part-time job that only earns you enough to survive, and spending the rest of your time reading in libraries and writing (That’s what Ray Bradbury did!).
This might mean living in the back of a van. For years.
It’s NOT going to be easy. In fact, there’s nothing scarier in the world than pursuing your dreams. Everyone feels helpless and scared, deep inside, but the conventions of society, the acceptable path in life, usually helps us to bury that fear. Well, if you want to follow your dreams, if you don’t want to be just another cog in the machine, you’ve got to go out and make your own path.
Sometimes, you’ll want to give up. I’ve considered living in a van for a long time, and once my exams are over, if my parents disown me for not going onto university, if I can’t find a room cheap enough, I’m going to buy a van, get it rigged up as best as I can, and hit the road.
Maybe you’ll go hungry.
Maybe you’ll get tired of poverty.
Maybe you’ll get robbed.
Maybe you’ll have to pee into a bottle, or defecate on newspapers, in the absence of bathroom facilities.
You’ll have to suffer humiliation, misery, shame. Of course, personal safety and survival is important, but don’t put so much emphasis on them that they keep you back. Remember: if it doesn’t kill you, if it doesn’t hamper you from writing or reading or whatever it is that you want to do, you’ll be fine.
What will kill you is staying in a job that leeches the colour from your soul.
Hey. If you’re reading this, you’re already lucky, living in a first world country and all that jazz. You won’t starve – what kind of a luxury is that? Let me tell you: a HUGE one. There are always food stamps. I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but we also have organisations in Australia like the Salvation Army for those who are struggling.
And why not take this fantastic opportunity, of being born in the right place at the right time, to try and reach for the stars? It’s just one life. It doesn’t matter if you stuff it up. It’s just life. Reality is an illusion anyway. Why not live, laugh, and dream your way to perfect happiness? Unless you’re going to literally DIE on the streets if you don’t get a proper job, be reckless, be brave, be crazy.
In the end, ask yourself this: WHO CARES? No-one cares if you die. You’ll just fade into the wash of time like everyone else. Only what you create, what you leave behind, will be remembered. No-one cares if you succeed or not. No-one cares if you had to live in a van for ten years before becoming a good enough writer to finish your novel.
Have tunnel vision. Focus on your dream. Chase it with every fibre of your being. Don’t waste a second.
And forget how long it will take and simply believe in your heart, truly, truly believe, that your dream will come true. And it will. It might take five years. Ten years. Twenty. Fifty.
Either way, you’re going to get there.
We’re DREAMERS, for godsakes! We are brave, and strong. We need to stop being so afraid. So attached to comfort and security. We need to push ourselves. Think of what art, what goodness we could bring forth into the world if each and everyone of us followed our hearts like this.
Forget about jobs. Forget about careers. You’re going to die. Existence is transient. The universe is transient. No-one cares about you. Follow your calling. Your dream. Do it for yourself. And have heaps of freaking fun. There’s no point in doing anything if it doesn’t fulfill you, doesn’t make you happy.
I wish you a lifetime of joy.