Where’s My “Personal Legend”?

I’m currently reading this book called “Like the Flowing River” by Paulo Coelho. I found it it in a box of things my parents had stored away in the office.  It was an old gift to my dad from a friend of his that had been gathering dust for years.

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At first, when I started reading the first two chapters, I wasn’t immediately hooked. I forced myself to keep reading only because I trusted our family friend’s taste. I’m glad I kept reading. Each chapter of the book is comprised of a short story that contains an overall message which tends to be inspiring or motivating in some way.

One chapter in particular about the “importance” of a college degree stuck out to me. Coelho writes that often people attend university because,

“…someone, at a time when universities were important, said that, in order to rise in the world, you had to have a degree. And thus the world was deprived of some excellent gardeners, bakers, antique dealers, sculptors, and writers.”

He then alludes to a famous Robert Frost quotation:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

Coelho makes an interesting point that “we each of us have our own personal legend to fulfill.” In fact, this notion seems to be one of the primary themes in his writing. He purposefully inspires the reader to ask herself “What is the meaning of my life?”

Though I respect this belief, I find it irritating constantly hearing this from people who already have it all “figured out”. There are fortunate people in this world who know early on what their “personal legend” is. They barely struggle to find it at all. Those of us who are still searching have a hard time knowing where to begin.

It would be lovely to follow Coelho’s advice and to simply stop everything in order to fully devote myself to my passion. What happens when you don’t know what your calling is yet? Where are the books that guide the indecisive, the Renaissance men and women, to their specific path? I have yet to find and read those. I refuse to accept we’re simply lost. There’s a path for us too but it’s difficult to find.

I honestly don’t know what my life’s work will be. I find utter satisfaction and passion in various things. For instance, lately I’ve devoted a great deal of my time to artistic expression. I’ve been falling in love with art again. Upon showing my friends and family the artwork I’ve created, many of them said something along the lines of “Why didn’t you go to art school?”

Sometimes I feel like I am wasting my time at university, just going through the typical life path motions. I believe that being busy isn’t necessarily a good thing if it means I’m just avoiding figuring out what it is I truly want in life.

I wish I had less questions and more answers.

18 and Lost

I feel suffocated. When did it become so difficult to feel even an ounce of inspiration? Flashback to nine years ago, 2005, and that is when my creative streak peeked. I’m only eighteen years old and I already feel like I have nothing left to give. I keep hearing that it’s “normal” for me to feel as though I can never be as creative, imaginative or spontaneous as my ten-year-old self but I refuse to believe that age is the only factor in this equation. Like always, I question if it has something to do with my generation as a whole.
Though I participate in social networking, youtubing, tumblring, etc, as much as the next eighteen-year-old of 2013, I also tend to be the harshest critic of my particular generation’s flaws. We are constantly connected to some life-sucking device that manages to feed our every desire. Facebook makes you feel social and wanted through “likes” while Instagram allows you to document your entire life, day by day, through pictures. When we’re not texting, liking, following, reblogging, posting, tagging, chatting, etc, what are we actually doing? I don’t mean to sound cynical, especially because I, too, find the impulse to stay connected almost addictive. I’m merely trying to voice that I am scared. I fear that I’m losing myself as well as my potential. I wonder sometime if my life would be any different as an eighteen-year-old in the late 60’s or early 70’s before cellphones and the global internet takeover. Maybe instead of telling myself I’m going to use my computer to write and, instead, go on youtube or tumblr for an hour, I would actually get a notebook and start writing.
It haunts me to think about everything I would get accomplished without the lure to connect constantly on the brain. I miss being ten-years-old, with “nothing to do” when the possibilities in my bedroom were endless: from drawing to creating a movie with my dolls or even pretending to be in music videos in front of my mirror. Now, after years of googling, every time I want to create something my brain conjures up hundreds of images of people who already did it, which forces me to think, “Oh, well. Someone’s already done that so what’s the point?” That, right there, is the internet’s most damaging flaw. My generation is terrified to create because everything has been done and is paraded in front of our very eyes every time we log on to the internet. It would be an understatement to call this discouraging. Back in the day, someone would have an idea for a book and write it instead of realizing first that their idea had already been done. If people thought that way all the time, nothing would ever be created. I used to think I was so unique when I was child, that I could create something rare. Recently, this feeling has begun to diminish. I don’t know what’s creative anymore. It feels like everything has been accomplished and I’ve lost sight of where to start. Nevertheless, my goal for this year is to stop feeling this way.
I’m forcing myself to consider that I never lost the ten-year-old girl who constantly made something out of nothing when I turned eighteen, I just lost sight of her through years of unnecessary and, frankly, unrewarding media distractions. Enough is enough. Unfortunately, in the world I live in today, it would be unwise of me to completely detach myself from all social-networking. I have grown to recognize that there are aspects of it that are advantageous as well. I merely want to step back and remind myself frequently never to allow the internet to control me. I want to be the one to, instead, break the code and find out how to use the internet for my own creative benefits. If I can achieve this, I think I will regain the passion for creativity I had when I was a kid again instead of falling into the internet’s often tempting trap. Like Pablo Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up”.