Apart from the safety of despair, and running…

I have been going insane. My temper has been short and explosive. I get upset over trifles. I do not sleep. When I do sleep, I sleep restlessly, waking frequently. I pace in the darkened house before returning to bed. My stress is building, has been building for over a week.

I know what is wrong; I am happy.

This is not a joke.

For decades I have been duty-bound, circumstance-bound. Self-bound. There have been reasons not to do the things I wanted to do. I had a dream, but the dream was not “a shelf of my books” or “my name in the book store”. The dream was “time to write, and the safety and freedom to use it.” About a week — two weeks? — ago I realized that I had my dream, and (since it was open-ended) it need never be exhausted. I could have my dream forever and yet have the joy of pursuing it, and it could become loftier all through that time. I had dreamt well, and even the pursuit of my dream was my dream. I should be happy, and I am.

It’s eating me alive.

There is a safety to failure. No one talks of it, but I believe that everyone knows it. We live our lives within restriction, and the glory of What We Want is usually outside the gate. If we don’t open the gate and chase after it, we stay inside. Things remain. Unchanged.


We don’t have to adjust to expanded horizons, new landscape, opportunities that approach us, smiling, something enticing and possibly dangerous held in their hands. Life can just go on, forever, work-a-day, dull, known, contained.

Failure for lack of trying is a shelter that has comfort to it, however restrictive it might be. Inside of failure, you need never stretch, strive, and fall short. Nothing is lost. Outside, outside of the restricting walls, the only sheltering borders are the far horizon and the infinite sky. It’s cold, and there may be things to frighten you out there.

But God, it’s exhilerating to run. I hope I never stop.

I hope I can get used to this.

10 thoughts on “Apart from the safety of despair, and running…”

  1. Also, if you fail because of restrictions, you did not fail for other reasons; you are incompetent or unworthy, or your dream just sucks. There is also a certain safety or comfort to be found there.

  2. Very well put, my friend!

    Would you mind if I borrowed this, and let the occasional client read it? I would certainly keep its author’s identity confidential, if you would like — or not, if you would prefer!

    1. You are welcome to it, but I will ALWAYS want a byline on anything I write. “R. Scott Shanks, Jr.”, pretty please, and thank you for the compliments.

    1. Well, no. But I’ve had espresso before, and it didn’t have this effect. Certain conclusions are to be drawn.

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