Your dreams are you own, just as much as your success is. Just as much as your failure, for that matter. Good days and bad, they are your own. No one made you doom scroll through twitter or forced you to binge watch an entire series on Netflix or told you to put your dreams on hold. So, you don’t owe it to anyone to live your dreams, including yourself.
A better way of looking at the problem is to consider the physical toll of not doing it. For me, the impact tangible. Every day I don’t write, I can feel it. It’s not massive damage. It’s not like I am breaking my arm daily, or like I am suffering a severe trauma. That’s the worst part. It’s less than a paper cut. A scratch. Barely noticeable.
That’s how I get away with it so often. That lizard part of my brain that says: See, that wasn’t so bad? And look how much time you saved?
Only, I didn’t. Not a second of it. Because what you don’t notice in the moment is the cumulative effects. A scratch turns into a scrap turns into a cut turns into a scar. Over and over again, re-traumatizing your skin. Sometimes this leads to numbing. Other times, it leads to infection.
One day you notice that you are out of practice, so you start again. Like me and this blog. I write and I can feel the scar tissue fading, just as slowly as I put it there, but the ache eases in the background. The elation I feel with the rush of creativity is wonderful. The completeness, the sense of purpose is soulful.
You make a habit out of it again, but now a part of your brain is already wondering when you are going to falter, fail, and fall off the saddle. You flinch at hitting the ground. At feeling the pain again. Of living in the agony of a life unlived.
Sleeping under the shadow of a dream unfulfilled.
No, you don’t owe it to yourself, you owe it to the dream.
You owe it to a life with the right kind of pain, the purposeful kind of failure; the meaningful kind of success. Not to the win, you owe it to the struggle.
That’s the only way any of us know how to fight.