This is, or should be, a life of choices. So I’m going to choose to fight against my apathy.
I am essentially a very ambitious person. I’m a creative dreamer. I moved to Nashville in 1993 to go after my dreams of doing music just like some of my heroes. It’s been an amazing journey. I find myself wearing the different hats of singer/songwriter, author/journalist, and even acting in a few movies and a tv show! But being the freelance, or self-unemployed, kind of person I am, I have so many options of ways to spend my time. Heck, I’ve got a stack of really amazing creative projects I could be working on right now.
But I’ve been down this road before. I’ve mustered up my energy and written pages and pages of books…that have gone unread by thousands and thousands of people. I’ve written and recorded songs that have been heard only by my family and a handful of friends. When I think of all I’ve created and worked toward, without achieving what feels like any tangible results, or getting any place I thought I’d be, it’s often impossible not to throw my hands up and say, “What’s the use of even trying?” It’s a subtle, but completely paralyzing, one-two punch of apathy.
Apathy is a lack of interest, concern, or emotion. It’s a flat-lined, comatose-like state of living that feels like nothing. Literally nothing. It’s the muse-less artist. You know, the washed up old guy who drinks too much, and gawks a bit too long at the younger, good-looking hipsters. I pray I don’t turn into that kind of person.
But if I were completely honest, I’ve made good friends with apathy. Oh, yes. It’s an odd place of comfort. If I don’t try to achieve anything, then I can’t be hurt by being ignored or rejected. There’s a comfort in nothingness, almost a sense of my being able to control my own destiny. When I can’t choose success, I can at least choose apathy.. At least then I am in control, I am choosing.
Thankfully, I can only stay there so long, before I get stir crazy. The gift of maturity is learning how to engage my psyche in positive, healthy ways, rather than settling for what’s easy or unhealthy. If I’m hungry, sometimes the shiny allure of the Golden Arches can actually be appealing. Unless I remember the gut ache I got after my last visit. Or how much better I’d feel if I’d eat something healthier. I’ve tried shame and addiction, and they never really worked very well for me. Apathy is easier, but no more satisfying.
I’ve found the best ways to fight my apathy are: Walking in honesty with my friends–relying on their encouragement and strength when I have none, exercising regularly and eating right, trying to do the most simple next-right-thing, and most importantly, allowing myself the same kind of grace and patience I would extend to someone else in my shoes. It’s a quiet, one step at a time, kind of battle against apathy. One I will continue to choose to fight.
Because ultimately, I really like me, and the things I create. I think I bring value to other people’s lives. I believe my creative efforts will ultimately help wake up other people who have fallen asleep to their own lives. That’s why I believe it’s so important for me to fight against my own apathy.