Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Tuesday, December 07, 2021

I recently met a local attorney who likes to write short stories and poetry in his spare time. I, too, like to write creatively, and I was interested in how he has balanced his career and his writing. I was hoping for some encouragement because I plan on finding a job that will allow me time to write on the side. Instead, however, he sighed and looked at me with tired eyes. He said he has received hundreds of rejections, and he ended by saying that the world owes me nothing. Just because I have a passion or a dream does not mean either will inevitably come true.

We shook hands at that point, and I thanked him for his time, though I wasn’t entirely grateful. I saw myself in that man, 20 years from now, weary and battered, with a family, a job and a mortgage. I had been telling myself I was chasing after a tangible dream, but in reality, I was chasing after the wind, something I’d never be able to catch. His advice hurt, like fingers digging in an open wound. It took me a while to admit that perhaps it hurt so much because it was true.

The more I have reflected on our conversation, the more I think he was right. We think that because we have strong passions, we ought to be able to act on them. It’s not just that our dreams will come true, but that they should come true. It feels like the world owes us the ability for our dreams to become a reality.

But where does that leave people like the attorney I met? By all accounts, he is living a fine life. He has a family, a home, a stable job and a way to incorporate creativity into his everyday rhythm, even if he has had to face rejection. He has found a way to take a passion seriously and to also provide for his loved ones.

We are taught our passions shouldn't guide us in deciding our careers, to find a place where our dreams and reality come together. However, I think my brief exchange with the attorney taught me that for every one or two people who are living out their passions every day, there are 20 who have to fit their hobbies in maybe once every other day. For every person who can say “I’m a writer” when asked at a party, there are 50 more whose passion for writing lies underneath blankets of other responsibilities and realities. “Writer” would not be his first identifier or even his second, I bet.

The hard-earned wisdom of my attorney friend seems to be this: Life is less generous to us than we think. Life is less of a personal assistant and more of a parent, stern and unrelenting. I have felt entitled to be able to do what I want in life as if it’s a guarantee simply because I have a passion.

Instead of letting this reality crush us, should we allow it to set us free? Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like college students feel saddled with the burden of finding a job that perfectly fits us. However, disillusionment is common among us, and how could it not, with such extreme expectations of what our life should be?

“The truth shall set us free.” I have found that these words ring true in many areas of life. The truth is, most of us will have to settle, and that is okay. There are realities that will find us in our lives that we may not have pictured in our daydreams, and maybe that is a good thing.

Scott Stinson is a UF English senior. His column appears on Wednesdays.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox
Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2021 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.