So I’m 35 today. I have to say that so far, 35 doesn’t feel all that different from 34, but then again, it really doesn’t feel all that much different from 27.
Thirty-five seems like a good time to do some stock-taking, being that whole midpoint-of-the-decade thing. For me, unsurprisingly, this comes down to evaluating my career and creative pursuits — I mean, I’m extraordinarily happy; I’m pretty healthy (the diabetes is under control); I have a fantastic family and wonderful friends, both local and spread throughout the country; I have a job that I like well enough for now and has potential to make me even happier. There’s truly no point in my life previous to this that I would trade for right now.
So yeah, the future directions of the career and the writing are really the big things dominating my mid-decade thoughts. I’m not sure exactly where either is going, but I think I’ve finally made some peace with the fact that it’s doubtful I’ll be supporting myself with writing anytime soon — and honestly, I’m not sure I even want to. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all saying that I don’t want to write anymore — in fact, I think I want to do it more than ever — but I’m releasing myself from the constricting notion that I had to A Writer. I’m okay with thinking of writing the same way I do drawing and photography and playing guitar and piano: it’s something I really enjoy doing and something I want to get better at, but it doesn’t have to be This Big Thing. Writing’s still sitting a few steps higher than those other pursuits (it certainly does have much more income and prestige potential than any of the others), but I’m just trying to take the pressure off — longtime readers and friends probably know I’ve always tended to put unreasonable expectations on myself with regards to the writing thing.
None of that is to say I’m not taking the writing seriously, or that I don’t want to publish. It’s just an acknowledgement that for the time being, it has to take second place to The Work What Pays and will do so for several more years. And that’s 100% OK.
I’ve realized that I’m pretty lucky: I have a current job and career that I like, one I’d like to pursue more seriously. I enjoy doing what I do and it pays pretty well (with the potential to pay really well if I get better and better at it). It takes care of my family and allows Terry to stay home with the kids. And it allows me to work on my writing and get a bi-weekly paycheck without feeling like my soul is being char-grilled. I’ve known (or know of) too many people for whom it’s an either-or situation.
Furthermore (and this might be the topic of future posts) — there’s potential there for me to combine the writing and the current career. More on that later, perhaps.
Anyway, that’s some of what’s going on in my head. I’m sorry I haven’t been posting more often lately — things have just been a little bit nutty, both at work and at home. (I’ve actually been — gasp — working while I’m at work. Well, not so much today, but hey, it’s my birthday.) Do you people know that I actually feel guilt when I go too long without posting? I do, I swear.