As I reflect back on my young life, I see that I have no accomplishments. If I were to write an autobiography, there would be little to note. In fact, why the hell would I even write an autobiography? I have a couple of pieces of writing in college publications, and I have a relatively obscure webcomic. No fame, no glory.
I can’t help but think of what young people have done. At age 20, Alexander was already king. Newton was inventing calculus in his twenties. Goodness, I don’t want to be accused of being arrogant, but I am ambitious, and I want to emulate the best. (Of course, I don’t want to be a warmonger like Alexander.) I just want to use these people as examples of how far I have to go, and it appears as if I’m not making any significant progress to doing significant things.
Then, I read this about Thomas Paine: “Paine’s campaign on behalf of the excise service collapsed, and in 1774 he was again dismissed from the excise service and compelled to declare himself bankrupt. The future scarcely looked promising; at the age of thirty-seven he had failed at everything he had ever tried” (Revolutionary Characters by Gordon S. Wood). Okay, so I’ve still got a little more than 15 years — I’m almost 22 — to mess around before I can make my mark on the world, and then die in obscurity and be maligned as a dirty atheist for a century. Just kidding.
If I even want to be in a position to do anything, though, I’ll have to practice writing and speaking. I have to be ridiculously prolific when it comes to writing. I don’t have to do it all at once, but I want to at least put myself on the right track. I can’t wait for inspiration. I have to produce and produce, and in that time I will hone my craft. In 2 years, I want to look back and be proud of that body of work, even if it’s not all published.