You know how you know you are not completely grown up yet? When you have little moments throughout the day, sneaking in out of nowhere, of daydreaming about some totally unrealistic future endeavor. As a ten year old, I thought I would be a famous author by now. As a teenager, I thought I would be married by now. As a college student, I thought I would be miserably adult and living in a confusing swamp of bills and unemployment.
Turns out, none of my selves were correct, and I'm actually doing quite fine. I have an alright job but it's not a career, I'm living at home, I'm single but too busy to care, and I'm not lost in a sea of anything. But every now and then, either while packing my peanut butter and jelly, or saying goodnight to my stuffies, I have a small glimmer of childish anticipation for something grand.
"Maybe one day, if I practice hard enough, I can be a famous dancer! It's not too late to take classes. I should probably start with ballet..."
Right. Get on that, would you?
"This will be such a funny video, me reading Maroon 5 lyrics dramatically. I hope it doesn't break Youtube."
Sure, Lindsay, sure.
On the one hand, it's rather adorable of me to think I'm going to muster up the ambition to do anything beyond laundry this week. If it doesn't pertain to work, survival, or severe vegetation, I'm probably not going to do it. My laziness is so bad that last week I only painted one fingernail. And left it that way. For FOUR DAYS.
On the other hand, it's quite sad. Because I know I will never be a famous dancer or Youtuber, not that those are things that I would ever seriously consider. The intrinsic value of fame is that it is rare. It may not be always deserved, but it will always be rare. Just based on its definition, not everyone can be famous. It just feels that way now because more "normal" people are getting famous due to the internet and reality TV. I'm sure those people have filled in the gaps of the 300 people that are no longer famous for discovering minerals or inventing cars or doing historical things with their stern faces.
What is the emotional appeal of fame? Attention equals love? Well, I get plenty of that from my dog, I'm Oprah to him. Living on after death, preserving myself through my name? Well I don't think I ever will die, so that can't be it. Popularity? Maybe.
It's all a big pissing contest, really. If you've got the most or the best of something, you have value. No one wants to be in the 97% of people that are just cogs, no matter how noble or gratifying it is to just live your own life. Glamour pulls them in, seduces them to the other side of the fence, promises Corn Flakes with caviar, and then leaves them shivering in the gutter - no doubt clutching their brows dramatically and cursing the name of whatever 7th grade teacher said "that kid has moxie."
So I guess one of my goals now will be to ignore the siren song of unrealistic ambition and just aim for that 3rd percentile of normalcy. It's not a low bar by any means, just a well populated one. And it's not even an easy goal compared to fame and fortune, merely a more likely outcome. If my choices are 1) bum on the street, 2) work, live, die, or 3) briefly alert all of humanity that I exist, then fizzle into space like everyone else - the second choice is actually most appealing.
Why am I writing this? Oh yeah, because I don't actually want to be a ballerina. Sorry, 8-year-old self, but that's just not the path I'm on. It's nice to sit and think about it for a few minutes while I wait for the toaster oven, but only in the same way that I think about how nice it would be to have gills.
That's a common fantasy for everyone, right? The gill thing? Right along your neck just flapping uselessly, until you hit water and then it's like BAM, you're totally breathing?
Sigh ya nara