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The UIC Ski Team: I’m a Writer

I confess, I could be doing more.

Today marks the beginning of week #4 of my new and better life. My list of to do’s that aren’t done is longer than I’d like. I’m chalking it all up to “being in recovery”. The old job took a lot out of me mentally. Now that it’s in the rearview mirror, I can see just how bad I was being to myself by staying there. So I’m trying to cut myself some slack and enjoy this time to look at myself and what I want to get done with the next 10 or 15 years of my life.

I’m finding that there are two trains of thought among my friends and family. One group is trying to help me find a job. The other group is encouraging me to take this time to try and advance a career in writing. Both have strong arguments.

Obviously, I need some sort of income that closely mimics the income I previously had. That’s the best argument for a job. However, my feeling is that while a stable income is the safe thing, I know that after the honeymoon period is over I’ll end up hating my job and myself again. That would probably happen between 6 and 12 months into going to the same place to see the same people and do the same thing.

I could be wrong, I guess. Lots of people have jobs they like. They get paid well. They get recognition for their efforts. They get training and opportunities to move into different positions within the company. They feel fulfilled.

Looking back on my life, I’ve never been that kind of person. I was the most happy for the longest stretch when I was in college. I loved what we were learning and how we were learning it and who we were learning from, but most of all I adored my fellow students.

I just took a few minutes to try and count the people from college that are still enriching my life, but I got bogged down in memories and lost track. Let’s just say there are more than 20. You all know who you are, and you all know how much I treasure your friendship. If you think I’m talking about you, you’re probably right.

I was happy when I was a musician, for the most part. I was happy when I was teaching at SAIT. I liked my time in radio, but getting back into that is a pipe-dream in 2017. The common thread is “creativity”. I need to be able to be participating in a creative pursuit to have any hope of being happy.

The thing is, I just kind of fell into IT. It’s not like I was sitting at my desk in third grade thinking “Boy…I can’t wait until I grow up so I can fix people’s email and answer the phone at 3 AM because the power went out.” Third grade me would hate 53 year old me for quitting on his dreams and falling into the trap of “being normal”. Because being normal is the same as being safe, and being safe never leads to anything enjoyable.

Fun exists on the periphery. It exists close to the edge, and sometimes over the edge. That’s where the good stories are. That’s where the great music is. And since we only go once around the ride (that I’m aware of), it seems insane to pursue anything else but fun.

If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much. – Jim Rohn

Which brings me to the second group of friends; the ones who feel that I have something to offer other than being a cog in a machine. I’m not putting down cogs. The world requires cogs, and many people are happy and highly skilled cogs. It’s just not for me. Malcolm Gladwell would probably call me an outlier.

These people are being very vocal about what I should be doing with my time at the moment. They insist I should be writing. I very much need them to continue doing that, because otherwise I’ll very likely fall back into the societal default of “being normal”, and get a 9-5 job.

As I stated in my last post, I want to create multiple streams of income. Make no mistake though, I want the primary source to be writing. I don’t think I’m a great writer, but I think I’m better than average. I think I have a natural ability that, given time and effort, could be honed. I think I could be a really good writer at some point. I think I can entertain people. I think I can make them think sometimes. I think I can make them angry and make them laugh and make them cry. I think that’s “my thing”, and I think it’s important.

But I’m 53, and if it’s ever going to happen I’d better get started ASAP. That’s why I don’t want a day job getting in the way. It’s a scary thought, setting out on my own. But scary can also be fun.

So that’s it, I guess. I’ve said it out loud. It’s written down. I’m a writer now. That’s what I do. One day, somebody will write me a cheque that confirms it in the traditionally accepted manner.

Now for some housekeeping items:

  1. The book I mentioned in the last post is already back at the library. I didn’t like it, so I quit after 4 chapters and took it back. Now I’m reading “Stay Interesting” by Jonathan Goldsmith. I’m only one chapter in, and I already know it’s going to be fantastic.I finished “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon. It was short and easy and fun and full of great ideas. I highly recommend it to anyone involved in artistic pursuits.
  2. For now, I can’t answer any questions about happened at the old job. I promise to provide details as soon as possible. That may seem to be a bit cryptic, but it’s necessary. You’ll understand later.
  3. I’ve been struggling with getting my butt in the chair and doing the actual work of being a writer. I’m easily distracted. However, this morning I believe I discovered the secret: Mozart.Wolfgang has been streaming all morning, and including this post I’m at about 3000 words today. It’s only noon. I’m pleased.
  4. No new Z&TG tale yet. Maybe a touch of writer’s block, but I’m not letting it stop me. I’m writing through it and accepting that every word is garbage right now. At some point, I’ll have a story that’s worth sharing. That’s how it goes sometimes.
  5. Alice Snoozecakes
    (click to embiggen)

    Alice is snoozing beside me. I have a hot cup of coffee. The only way this gets better is by getting paid enough money to cover the bills. This becomes “Living the Dream” when I don’t have to worry about money at all. Money literally solves every single problem I have in my life. Everything else is great.


1 Comment

  1. There were two negative comments about your writing … by you … and I think you know what I’d say if you were here or I were there … stop it! Other than those two items, great piece.

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