Be Thankful (a Belated Thanksgiving Thought)

As a perpetual dreamer and idealist, I tend to get into a mind set about what life could have been, might have been, or could be. Not that I'm being unrealistic and can't tell the difference between a daydream and reality. But a vivid imagination is part of a writer-artist's core.

As a child, I used to daydream a lot. For a while, I think between the age of 8 and 10, I truly believed I could become a wizard. I even had my handmade wands (made from chopsticks) to prove it. Of course, that was years before it became okay to believe you're a wizard, thanks to J.K. Rowling.

As an adult, I don't daydream that much anymore because real life and responsibilities have made me a more cynical, cautious, and pragmatic realist. Even when I'm writing my fiction, deep down I know it's not real, they're just lies to tell the truth about the real world, and my real goal is to get published, get read, and make a lot of money. :)

Lately, though, I did start to wonder: What if my life did turn out differently? I guess in many ways we all wish for things we didn't or couldn't have. The grass next door is greener -- the whole shebang. I wouldn't say I regret my life -- yesterday a friend asked me, "Are you happy, Ray?" And my answer, honestly, is that I'm neither happy nor unhappy; I'm content. My life is neither exciting nor boring, but content. I neither demand attention nor resent it. I'm rather at peace with where I am. There are certainly things I still want, which I can get but not without some kind of major sacrifices. Now, I'm no stranger to sacrifices: I left home at a young age and didn't see my family for years, for example. But where I am now, I feel less inclined to make any sacrifices. The reason?

There just doesn't seem to be something I really, truly, passionately want, that would prompt me to drop everything else to get it. Life, to me, has become a steady stream of peace and contentment. There's absolutely nothing wrong with peace and contentment, but it's ironically a "challenge" for me to adapt to. I've always been a person of goals, of desires and wants, of motivation and drive. These days, I wouldn't even pick up the phone and call because I just don't care that much. Whatever will be will be. It is as if I took a chill pill (or a major antidepressant or something). I'm not the same aggressive, impatient, agitated goal-getter I was 10 years ago.

I don't know if it's a good or bad thing. Just different. Perhaps I've reached a point in my life where "success" or "failure," in the conventional sense, don't matter that much anymore. Is this enlightenment, that the Buddha spoke of? Or self-delusion? An inner peace? Or just stagnation? Am I becoming complacent? Have I lost my passion? Or is this a sign of maturity and acceptance?  That I'm thankful for what I have?

On the other hand, I began to understand more about my own duality: the wants and not-wants, the yes and the no, the here and the there, the this and the that.  In the past, I think I was impatient, scared, and discontent with the notion that I might just be only one thing, or that who I am can be easily put inside of a box with a giant label on it. I think I'm at a point where I realize, "it's okay to be different things to different people, to myself."  If that's the true me, then I'm okay with it. I want to be true to it.

In a way, I feel like I'm on the verge of another discovery, another phase of my life where my urgency of seeking and learning will reignite, and off I will go again. I'm not sure what yet. But I've always known that I have, and always will be, a seeker and learner. I know that I'll be 95 years old and I will still be learning and appreciating new things. Maybe this really is a quiet before the storm and a new phase will start before I know it.

Let me sip my tea, and ponder some more.


Carpe Diem said…
Holy shit, Ray! Your post just made me find the motivation the character I'm writing about needed.

So, if stories are ANYTHING like the real life (and that is one of the things I completely believe in), yes, you're right, you'll soon find the fire to reignite your quest, so to speak. Just don't doubt the endless potential there's within all of us (see?, you're not the only one that gets philosophical sometimes!).

Good luck, and thanks! ;)
Ray Wong said…
One motivation down. Millions to go. :)
Cate said…
Amen brother. Amen.
Anonymous said…
There is a part of me that completely understands where you are coming from here. It's a place I haven't quite reached yet myself. I'm still looking for that 'fire', that one thing (or more than one thing, possibly) that will just ignite. There have been many times when I thought myself close to it, but no matter how hard I stretched, it stayed just out of reach. *BUT* I know it's still there, and that keeps me sane (most of the time).

There's nothing wrong with being content. And it could be the fact you are pondering it now may mean you are getting ready to seek something else, something more. Who knows? Whatever it may be, though, keep that eloquent wit about you. It makes me laugh.

Nancy Hightower said…
Contentment is a good place to be, especially as a writer, methinks. Too many people confuse passion with agitation.

By the way, what kind of tea are you drinking?
JJ Cooper said…
Kinda freaky how we can be on the opposite sides of the world and share similar thoughts. Although, you do articulate your thoughts better than me, mate. LOL.

A smart man once told me that if you aren't learning, you're dying. It took me a long time to understand what that really meant - and it only came to me with maturity.

It's all about beliefs, Ray. If you truly believe in something, your actions and results will follow your thoughts. Stay determined to your goals and your dreams will follow.

BTW - I'm coming to NYC early July 09 for Thrillerfest. First time in America and would love to catch up if you could find the time.

Ray Wong said…
Thanks for your thoughts, Melissa, Nancy and JJ.

Melissa: I will continue to make you laugh.

Nancy: just your normal green tea.

JJ: Would be so cool to meet you! Keep in touch.

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