Are you a living legend or just a thing of the past?
This is a picture of me by my friend Nick Hart. Living up to the standard I've created has been exhausting.
I've always been running five feet behind my image, my accomplishments. I started reading before I turned a month old. I started writing and singing, dancing, acting, playing music, etc. etc. before most kids could walk. I came out of the womb like a bullet from a shotgun and never looked back. It's never gotten fast enough for me.
Someone like that is bound for success right?
22 years later I've got an entire book full of accomplishments ranging from shooting a low of 79 in the district golf tournament my junior year and taking my team to states, to publishing an album on iTunes and having my songs chart overseas. From giving the graduation address my senior year of high school to starring in 6 Ohio University School of Theater Productions. From creating my own blog and a following online stemming from my music and my writing, to graduating college with a new job on the horizon.
Anyone would be proud of that, right?
People around me are. My parents are. My friends. My teachers.
I am not. I'm always thirsting for more. I've always felt a restless feeling for something I can't identify.
There's never enough time in the day. My brain is firing 24 hours, non stop. Always thinking, always wishing for another way out, a bigger accomplishment, a brighter future.
When people run into me they assume the best. They ask me about my future, my goals, my sterling reputation.They don't know me now. They only see what's on paper, what my parents share on facebook, what I've recorded or written down. As of late I've started to feel like a vestige of myself.
The definition of something vestigial is as follows: forming a very small remnant of something that was once much larger or more noticeable.
My past is large. It's noticeable. It precedes me when I see people I haven't in a while. Now, though I am making an effort to improve every day, I still feel a bit cheated by my hype. I feel bested by the past I created. It's like topping your greatest accomplishment every day, except your accomplishment is living.
The word legend is obviously used loosely, it's more like an urban legend. Sometimes I don't believe my success actually exists, because I don't feel it. That must be a doubt thing.
When your hype and the things you've done are running in front of you, you have no choice but to run faster, jump higher.
But what if you're tired? What if you don't know if they're inviting you to the party, or your legend. What if you've been forced to live up to an impossible standard...set by yourself.
We all have legends that follow us, but to step into the light and let the legend go so we can live in the present is hard to do. I know I should be prouder of my accomplishments and be happy I'm continuing on my path, but god damn it, that's hard.
I think if we can build off the past and draw on that experience we can create an even bigger future. But first, in order to best our legends we have to accept them and be proud of ourselves.