OP-ED: So You Want To…

By Shelly Reuben
Shelly Reuben
Shelly Reuben

Do you want to write a book or choreograph a ballet?  Can you envision your name in lights on a marquee over a theater on Broadway?  Can you hear violins floating up the scale of an etude that you want to compose?  Maybe you would like to build an elegant bridge or design a mile-high skyscraper?  Do you want to produce a play?  Open a restaurant?   Start an obedience school for recalcitrant pups?

 Whatever it is, it is a dream, and it’s your dream.  It is something that you passionately want, and wanting it is part of what defines you. 

 That is a good thing.  It is what Life (with a capital “L”) is all about.

 Having a roof overhead, an amply filled tummy, safety, friends, and family is nice.  Very nice.  But if there is something inside you that longs for sparkle, glimmer, and shine, then the four food groups are not enough.  If you count yourself among those fortunate few who have a need to make something, do something…create something, then pay attention.  I have some advice for you:

 Do not listen to the “no-people.”   
Do not listen those who will tell you what you cannot achieve.  

They are the naysayers, and there are millions of them.  They lurk in the shadows like starving lions, and they are savagely ready to pounce upon your dreams.
The insidious thing about them is that the many disguises they assume magnify the harm that they can do.  And they come in all shapes, sizes, and forms.  They come packaged as parents, murmuring amicably that they only want “what is best for your happiness, dear.”  They camouflage themselves as teachers, counselors, therapists, colleagues, or friends. 

 The only thing they hold in common is they have never achieved their own goals.  Because of that, they will do everything in their power to make sure that you never achieve yours, either.

 If you succeed where they failed, your success is an affront to them. 

 And so, they will tell you that you are not good enough.  They will tell you that you are too good.  They will stress the odds against your being discovered, published, hired, admired, noticed, acknowledged, recognized, rewarded, or praised.  They will tell you how many people fail at what you want to achieve.

 They will encourage you to give up before you have even entered the race. 

 They are the naysayers.  They are the dream-killers.  Their souls suck out sunlight.  They hate joy.

 Do not try to please them, because they ca not be pleased.  Do not emulate them, because they are blank pages on which no future has ever been written.  Write them out of your lives. 

 Find a hero:  An architect.  An acrobat.  A poet.  A cowboy.  A writer.  A teacher.  An engineer.  An astronaut.  A ballet dancer.  A journalist.  A judge. 

 Find someone you admire.  Someone who does what you would like to do and lives the life that you would like to live.

 Remember that not too many days, months, or years ago, that person was staring out at a seemingly unattainable future, and dreaming the very same dreams that you are dreaming now.

 If they could do it then, you can do it now.

Do it. 
And someday, you will be someone else’s hero, too.

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Copyright © 2012, Shelly Reuben.  Originally published in The Evening Sun, Norwich, NY -  HYPERLINK "http://www.evesun.com/" \o "http://www.evesun.com/" evesun.com 
Shelly Reuben has been nominated for Edgar, Prometheus, and Falcon awards.  For more about her books, visit  HYPERLINK "http://www.shellyreuben.com" \o "http://www.shellyreuben.com/" www.shellyreuben.com.  Link to David M. Kinchen's reviews of her novels "The Skirt Man" and "Tabula Rasa":  HYPERLINK "http://www.huntingtonnews.net/columns/060605-kinchen-review.html" \o "http://www.huntingtonnews.net/columns/060605-kinchen-review.html" http://www.huntingtonnews.net/columns/060605-kinchen-review.html

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