Of my three demons, Rationalization is the most insidious. He seems weak. He's passive-aggressive. He's never done a squat in his life. He hides behind the guise of duty and responsibility, and he sends me on a guilt trip when I don't follow through on something he perceives as important. Rationalization is persuasive. Rationalization has convinced me to stifle dreams, or cajoled me to keep suffering out of a misplaced sense of obligation.
Rationalization sent me to college as a history major so I would be on a good trajectory to get the law degree I would need to support an upper-middle-class lifestyle and a big SUV. He made me think that years from now, I'd look back on that heady period of creative impulse that preceded my adulthood fondly, and that would suffice.
Rationalization couldn't keep that impulse quiet. He said to me, "OK. You can be a journalist. Journalists get to be creative and they get to collect a somewhat regular paycheck. That's respectable." And then when I landed on a news desk, Rationalization piped up again. "It's alright. You're not writing. But at least you're getting paid to play with words."
And that was fine for a while -- for a few years, really. But the impulse never went away. It just got worse. So I stopped letting Rationalization win. I stopped compromising so much, both in my personal life and my work life. And I took the drive I have in my job and applied it to my calling.
I don't know if it will pay off. But that's not the point. The point is to stop rationalizing my life away. And now, Rationalization doesn't know what to do.