Contentment

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A summary of an unacheived dream.

Submitted: October 09, 2019

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Submitted: October 09, 2019

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A lot of people’s first memories are from their first day at school. I don’t know if it was my first memory, but I do remember it (I am very profound). My recollection seems to be this; day one was pure, smooth and exquisite, and day two was nothing like it, day two was awkward, scary and frightening. That has sort of been the pattern of my life, one day it’s all sunshine and the next day, it’s a monsoon. Okay, no, it’s not that dramatic, but I think you can understand what I am saying, if you can’t, maybe you soon will understand, if you don’t, sure, feel free to stick around and criticise me.

I suppose the direct connection, or rather disconnection, between me at age four and me at age (almost) twenty-four is that when you’re young, you still possess the inane ability to assume that everything will be alright and that the adults will take care of any problems, it’s when you become an adult, you know that you have to take care of any problems, whatever they may be.

What I do remember from being a child is that I had so many dreams, most children do, but then I grew up and it didn’t work out. When I was fourteen and fifteen, my dream was to be a musician, I wanted to play the guitar and I wanted to write songs. There were about six-hundred and ninety-eight reasons as to why that didn’t happen, but the biggest reasons were a complete and utter lack of talent and a complete and utter lack of discipline. I couldn’t learn because I wanted the reward without any of the hard-work that such a task would involve.

I wasn’t prepared to follow a regiment to learn, I was too impatient and well, lazy and for that, I have to accept that it now never happen. This decade, the two thousand and tens or the tens or whatever the hell we’re calling this decade, well, it’s going to be a period of my life where I look back and I regret the fact that I couldn’t fulfil the only thing I’ve ever truly wanted, but how bad did I want it when I barely even tried?

It was around this time last year where I couldn’t feel music, that sounds like a rather arbitrary sentence, what I mean is that for the past decade it has been the only thing that made my life bearable, it gave me energy, it gave me a passion to learn, it was my friend when I was alone, it was my light in the darkness, it was my oxygen and suddenly, it didn’t make me feel... anything.... it was noise in the background, another thing that joined me in the depths of despair.

Around the time of my twenty-third birthday last year (that’s on November third by the way) I attempted to rectify that, because I had developed a plan for a book, a book about music, something to do with the one aspect of life that I loved and so I planned and prepared to write a book and that, well that worked, I haven’t the first clue about writing, I don’t have any idea about creative writing and there are even times in my life where I haven’t spelled my name correctly (O’Carroll doesn’t sound like it has the letter R twice) but it kept me going, I had found something to repurpose my one true love into something productive.

I prepared to write the ultimate (at least in my eyes) musical story and it took me the first 6 months of 2019, it was demanding and arduous but I had created the first draft, my feelings when listening to music had returned, the boom was back lads, of course, the problem with the boom coming back is that inevitably the bust follows.

I showed this book, or this draft or this attempt, actually no, I showed this collection of words to someone who would be honest with me, and they reviewed it and after they were finished, they offered me constructive criticism, they didn’t say anything that was critical or insulting to me, they didn’t tell me it was terrible, in fact, they said something along the lines of “it was good but it could be better” so what did I do? Well, I stopped writing this book. I haven’t touched the book since, I lost all motivation for writing the book; in fact it made me lose all motivation for writing in general, this is the first piece of writing I’ve done since. I put blood, sweat and tears into this book (I am a cliché, I am sorry) and one person, ONE person told me that it wasn’t good enough and I gave up. That... well that is absolutely typical of me, to just give up because I would rather not even try instead of facing failure head on, that is a human trait, a lot of people do that, there’s nothing unique about that, I’m just illustrating a point, that failure is scary and I am not really sure why, but it is terrifying to fail, even when I had told myself that I wasn’t scared, I cracked due to self-perceived failure.

Allow me to digress for a second, the reason for my abject fear of failure is intrinsically linked to my identity and I have always struggled with the concept of identity, as we all have I’m sure. Who am I? What is my purpose? What do I want to do? What am I good at? Will Manchester United recover from this tumultuous period of sustained inadequacy and embarrassment?

Well, those five questions can be answered with the same subject.

Who am I?

I am someone who loves listening to all different kinds of music, I genuinely believe that some of the most intelligent and beautiful statements, sentences, sounds quotes, and lessons have been made and expressed in songs and in music, I am interested in what people have to say and this has been the only way I have ever learned anything tangible about life, it was my hope and my dream that I would learn to do that myself one day, but no, I was too ill-disciplined and lazy to ever learn to play any musical instrument (yes even the triangle).

What is my purpose?

To listen to music, so that I may better understand myself and my life, for my life has been based on music and not everything, but the most important lessons in my life are from the teaching of music and lyrics. This has never been a contest, I mean it used to be, but I don’t love music more than anyone else, I just love music. I’ll give you an example, five years ago, due to my many insecurities, If I had a playlist of 1’000 songs and some person I knew had 1’001 songs, I would be envious and bitter that they had more than me, I equated quantity to musical knowledge, like, that’s stupid, plain uneducated and stupid of me to think. Now, I have approximately 4’200 songs on my playlist, I recently read a tweet from someone that they had built a playlist of 12’000 songs and I would love to have a conversation with them about why they have so many. That is character development on my part. What do I want to do? Ideally, it would have been something music related, as I have established at this point, I will never be a musician, even if I am still young enough to learn, I don’t know if there’s any point now, my time has passed. I suppose I could be a music journalist, or a music historian or I could start a music shop or a record label, and they are all ideas but I don’t have the motivation to do those things, because it would all feel like a consolation prize. (I have the greatest respect for those professions, I am speaking as a bitter person in my own situation).

What am I good at?

The only thing that I possess that could be considered anything close to a talent is this, putting words together in pretentious essays because I spend too much time thinking about my past that I can’t see my future, I can express myself in words, sometimes and from time to time, I use them to talk about music, or how much I wished I could have done something in the World of music. I am also very good at memorising dates, I don’t know if that counts.

Will Manchester United recover from this tumultuous period of sustained inadequacy and embarrassment?

“Ole’s at the wheel”

In my entire musical life, which for argument’s sake we’ll say is a decade, we’ll start from there. In the past decade, I have had plenty of conversations about songs, you know the ones, like “oh, what’s the name of that song?” or something like that, but on the topic of music, an actual intricate and nuanced discussion on the broad topic of music, I have only had about five conversations which helped me to deeply understand and connect with someone, and maybe that’s my own fault, but to let someone destroy my taste in music is to let someone destroy me. Don’t get me wrong, I can be a horribly critical and judgemental person at the best of times, but I have always tried to not judge someone’s taste in music, I know what it means to me, I imagine it could mean the World to someone, but again, I haven’t always been successful.

Look, to say that music is my identity would be incorrect, it’s the biggest part of my identity and I am aware that music is a broad term, I am aware that it means a hundred different things to a hundred different people, but to me, it is everything. I don’t have a specific preference for anything, I just listen and I learn, the point here is that it is either the biggest part of my identity or it is my favourite part of my identity or both, I am not quite sure. I do know that at one point in my life it was all I did, I used to listen to music as much as I possibly could. I have developed more of an identity now that I am an adult man, so there are plenty more reasons to find me boring now.

I know there is something that everyone is passionate about. Some people like fashion, some like films, some like books, some like sport, some like games, some like television, some like dinosaurs, some people like all of these things (Personally, I am a fan of fashionable dinosaurs) and whatever makes you tick is what forms an identity and I formed one and now I feel like I lost it, at least for a while, and I went on a journey to rediscover it and then I rediscovered it in a very roundabout way and it has lead me to this, writing an essay about the whole experience.

I gave up on my dreams when I was about sixteen, that’s the truth, I couldn’t be bothered with the one aspect of my life that I enjoyed and now I regret it every single day, look, it’s far from the only problem I have ever encountered and I am not looking for sympathy, I have had a lifetime of self-pity, I have spent at least a decade feeling sorry for myself, it’s not my aim to look for sympathy, the point is to get through to someone somewhere, that you shouldn’t give up for certain until you know that what you want will certainly never happen.

There’s a chance that I would never have done anything if I had mastered several musical instruments, it’s a cruel World, sometimes talent is never recognised, even by the people who possess the talent, I know a man who has a great knowledge of advanced physics who went to work in retail, he didn’t believe in his own ability and I know that because he is a good friend of mine and yes, it gives me some strange comfort to know that I am not alone, but at the same, he is a natural genius on the topic of physics, I was never naturally talented at anything to do with music. I can barely say I am talented at anything, I couldn’t even write a book on a subject I loved and I had myself convinced for a while that I was good at writing. I am not good at writing, I suppose I am better than the average person who doesn’t care about writing but I don’t possess any ability to write in a way that resonates with anyone, maybe, I don’t know, this is not my point, forgive me, this is me rambling, still, there’s always a chance that you could have all the talent in the World and you get nowhere because we all prefer the safety and comfort of the familiar, this is life, this will always happen, no matter what generation or era we are living in, comfort zones will change sure, but they will always exist.

My apologies, my point is this. If you want something, anything, don’t give up. Actually, do, if you want to give up, then give up, stop, you could have the same regret as me, with the exception that you gave it your all and you got nowhere, well then I’m sorry and anyway, I am only a millennial bollocks with a laptop, I have no merit to warrant you to tell you to keep going at anything but you should always try your best. If I have learned anything, I have learned that if you actually try to achieve something and you fail, then at least you tried, at least you can retain your dignity, you can move on, as hard as it might be to move on, at least you’ve actually tried, there’s respect from me for that.

As for success, well let’s accommodate for the fact that I live in the middle of nowhere, let’s remember that at that time the economy had collapsed from severe fiscal mismanagement from the banks and the property development bubble burst dramatically (What a brilliant and studious government) and also there is the fact that so many people wanted the same thing as me and they were already far more talented, but even to learn and try would be better than remaining stagnant, that was the success I want now, but the success I am unlikely to have, it’s better that this remains that way, because I have moved on with my life some bit, if not quite fully moved on, but let’s not argue about semantics.

No matter who you are and no matter what you want to do, don’t do what I did, don’t declare to everyone you know that you’ll become this great musician, and then do absolutely nothing to try to achieve the goal, and then spend the next decade blaming life when really it was your own fault, well no, I suppose I did something, I begged my family for a guitar for my fourteenth birthday, I played it about five times and I gave up, what a waste.

I realise that I am being very harsh on myself, I was a teenager, this is far from the stupidest thing I did at that age (I want to take this moment to apologise to my hair which endured an awful time when my friends decided they wanted to be barbers). I live with apathy and disappointment for so many reasons, but this, this is a bit part of that disappointment. I know that I am still young, I have plenty of time to do something, maybe even something music related, but I already have a self-inflicted regret that’ll haunt me for a lifetime, and who knows, one day I might be thankful for that.

I urge anyone not to turn into me; don’t become a bitter and conflicted adult based on mistakes you made when you were younger, I’m sure people do that anyway, regardless of anything, but the effort is a wondeful thing, giving something you are passionate about the required amount of effort will make your ambitions more likely to come through, when you want to give up, on anything, you should really ruminate on whether it’s worth it or not, failure is not a valid excuse, because being correct that I would fail has not made me feel any better about myself, it has only shown me that I wouldn’t achieve what I wanted because I never tried. (Did any bit of the previous paragraph make any sense? Because now I think that I have veered off from good intentions to pseudo-motivational speaker).

That was a convoluted and trite piece of writing, I have no delusion of grandeur that this will help anyone, even me, I just felt the need to write what was on my mind, if you read this fully, I thank you for your support, even if you didn’t particularly like it, at least you read it, I don’t imagine many people will, so I am grateful.

With that said, my name is Padraig O’Carroll and I am not a fan of peaches. Thank you.


© Copyright 2019 Padraig O'Carroll 22. All rights reserved.

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