When I was seven years old, I decided that I would one day become the richest man in history. I’d move to the US, change my name to Chris Packlem, and buy all the big corporations. Oh, and I’d have an assistant named John.
I didn’t question this plan. I never wondered if maybe, just maybe, greatness wasn’t for me. Life had yet to defeat me. Or maybe it did… maybe it was doing so.
You see, each year, around my birthday(Christmas Day) I’d get really sick and we often had to rush to the hospital. One time I had really high fever and almost swallowed my tongue. Antibiotics and all that followed.
Sickly boy, I was.
I didn’t like going out, because you get dirty and there’s bugs and bees and dogs and other kids(some of which can be quite mean), so I would imagine stories. I’d tell myself that my parents’ apartment was the city of Seattle(which I pronounced seetle)… the washing machine was a power plant, the bed was a plantation…and so on…
Much later I decided that I would become a writer, sell a billion books, become the youngest writer to receive the Nobel prize, and change the world.
I didn’t get sick so easily, and people didn’t scare me anymore. The world was mine for the taking, right?
But, you see, people take this fire out of you, even when they don’t mean to. They almost never mean to, actually. They just want you to be realistic, to take it easy, to go slow, to have a back up plan, to go the usual route…
You know, go to college, get a job, save money, buy a car…
I did none of those things.
I am a storyteller. This is what I do, this is what I have been doing for twenty years now. This is what I am going to do until they throw dirt on top of me, whether you or anyone else likes it and no matter what you or anyone else does.
But life has a habit of defeating you.
Not in spectacular ways. Oh, no. The stuff of legends and summer blockbusters, that’s reserved to legends…and summer blockbusters.
You know, a heartbreak here, a heartbreak there, a bit of stress, a bit of money problems. A friend badmouthing you. Your parents telling you that you should give up writing…
One parent deciding he’s better off not talking to you anymore.
Some health issues. Not enough teeth in your mouth to eat. Not much money to eat anyway…
Life has a habit of defeating you. Day after day after day. A bit of pain adding up to all the other pain you’ve stored up in your heart, making it the heaviest organ in your body.
I used to dream of conquering the world, remember?
Youngest writer to ever win the Nobel Prize. Only got to beat Rudyard Kipling for that one. No big deal.
And then the world told me to be realistic.
And I spend too much time being sick.
Too much time being afraid.
Way, way too much time worrying about the future.
Or being bitter about the past.
And…you know what’s the most painful part? It’s not that I forgot that I have always dreamed of becoming great, but that I don’t remember how it felt when I was certain of becoming great…
It’s easy being a realist…
All you’ve got to do is clip the wings you were born with, and decide to crawl through life, when you were born to fly. That is all.
You know, my father once told me that those who have a lot of ideas are called idiots.
I told him: “Nah, they’re idealists.”
Right now, I need your help. $1810 are needed for my next medical procedure. The last one. One that is absolutely necessary, scheduled for March.
If you’d like to help me out, with any amount you see fit, you can do so here.