Afraid of Success

Writing is a part of me. I am constantly thinking about it, reading others’ writing, and talking about it. But sometimes I’m not actually doing it. I’ve been wondering why lately I’ve found every excuse not to write. Suddenly an explanation came to me: I may be afraid of success.

Is it really possible, to be afraid of the very thing you want? Yet it explains so much. It explains the paralyzed feeling I’ve had lately. I don’t have an excuse to fail; I never have. I’ve done well at almost everything I’ve tried to accomplish. But most of the things I’ve accomplished have been what I call “givens”, things I’m supposed to be good at accomplishing: graduating college, getting a job, a house, having a good recommendation from my managers, playing the piano. It was a given that I do these things.

Now I’m at a place in my life, where I feel nothing else is expected of me. Big dreams are for young people, not mid-level, mid-career, mid-boring people like me. I’ve done okay for myself (not well mind you, but okay), and I’ve seemed to survive some bad times, so there’s nothing else to do but live.

What would happen if I had a best-seller? a movie deal? a Pulitzer? Do I dare dream that big at this point in my life? Well of course I do, but dreaming and doing are different things. And what happens when I achieve those goals? Is it in me to continue? Will that hungry feeling I have now stay with me forever? Will everyone hate me because I’ve done something big and they haven’t? I’ve dared to dream, now do I dare to do?

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