Thursday, February 12, 2015

Success, Dreams, and Making Things

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I have this quote posted to my wall in my studio, reminding me to just keep pushing whenever I get scared.  And I get scared a lot right now.  My life is a giant question mark, more so than it's ever been before.  I'm pursuing my current dream of a varied and mixed life, full of both science and art and family and my community.  I can go in so many different directions, fail in so many different ways, succeed in so many different ways - it's pretty freaky some days.



When I get scared, I try to remember that it's okay to fail.  It's okay to succeed.  That no matter what, I just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other, keep taking steps, no matter how slow.  Progress will happen if I keep taking the little steps.



As I work to shape my life into something that will make me happy, I'm sometimes haunted by the dreams of past-me and the dreams of my culture and what it tells me I should want. The quote above leads me to a fantastic video by Hank Green, one of my favorite creators. He gave a speech at VidCon last year that included the ideas "you have no obligation to your former self" and  "dreams should fuel you, not define you."


I want to be open to possibility and new directions.  I want to see a strange chance and take it, even if it brings my life in a wildly new direction.  It's scary, though, because behind it all are the thoughts about how people will think I'm abandoning my dreams, or heading off in a direction that will ultimately let me down.

You know what?  If that happens, I'll turn around and try something new.  I like research, and perhaps my life will continue on in research, but maybe not.  Maybe I'll end up doing costume design for theater or working with some nonprofit or being a fantastic administration assistant.  If I don't like it, I'll try something else.


I want to shake off this idea that I need to do one thing in order to "be successful."  Here is another great video, where Hank talks about how "success" does not exist - there is no one thing that will make us perpetually happy.  "That satisfaction, that joy - it comes from solving problems and making things... and most fantastically of all, we make ourselves."





I know I want to make things.  That has been a driving passion my entire life.  When I look back on essays I wrote in high school and college, they are about how I love both art and math, and how I want to create things.

Right now, I'm working hard at making myself.  It's scary a lot, but could also be amazing. So, this year, I hope I keep making mistakes.  New and glorious and varied mistakes.  ~Kell

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