I’m looking to simplify life; for, at thirty-one, I find life complex beyond need.
In my quest to simplify life, what I am really after are my goals.
I’ve found that as I’ve gotten older my priorities have changed. While writing has always been a thread of my life, from childhood to present, I didn’t always know I wanted to be a writer; sure, I was a consumate reader from an early age, having spent many school lunch hours in the library or on the steps, where I read everything that captured my fancy (Mostly stories involving sailing or the sea.), and yes, I was fortunate to have had teachers who encouraged me to write, which led me to join the Navy at 17 as a journalist, but I didn’t really know I was a writer until around age twenty-eight (Four years into this blog), when my stories began to germinate and develop within me. Up until that point, I had only wanted to be a writer – but at that point, I knew, I was a writer – and I was meant to be a writer.
The next few years I would navigate a big breakup, take a year off (Which I spent in large solitude, my afternoons volunteering at the library, my evenings on the shore before sunset, my nights reading.), and finally, I would fall back into love, into life.
And then, seven months ago, at age thirty one, I moved to the mountains, where I planned to write and support myself doing freelance web work.
My desk made its way into my study with the feet removed, and one-hundred square feet of bookcase was constructed, my books neatly arranged on the shelves.
Only, I did not write.
My days were spent working on web projects for small, unreliable clients, and, having had Sarah quit her job when we moved here, I struggled to support us, despite the decreased expenses of life in a small mountain town.
As anyone who has struggled financially knows, it is neither pleasant nor tolerable; although, it is endurable – meaning, it can be survived. Only, I am not much for simply enduring life, merely surviving.
That said, I wanted more; I wanted to eat my cake and have it too; I didn’t want to feel small, invisible, obscure: I wanted to regain the financial success I had at twenty-four.
So I built a new business, a user-experience consultancy.
It failed. Months down the drain.
I tried again; thinking my hypothesis flawed, I revamped my business to focus on niche markets I felt I knew; however, my additional months efforts were in vain, and I failed again.
Not a very fun feeling. But endurable.
What could I do?
I carried on, stoically, resiliently, wanting to love all that was fated for me – not wanting to struggle against life. Not wanting to suffer. Not wanting to let another seven months pass without making progress as a serious fiction writer – a novelist – or at least a novella-ist.
At this point, we kind of catch up to now.
I have a good relationship. I am loved. I am healthy. I’ve got a great fucking haircut. But yeah, none of that is really everything. Everything is the books.
I’ve admittedly never possessed the patience for delayed gratification; however, wanting to make a life as a serious novelist, one has to commit to a long road.
Also, having failed at building myself a business with which I could support the ideas I had about the life I wanted for myself (Entrepreneur / writer with a house in the Palisades.), I have been forced to re-imagine the path for myself as a writer. Now, I’ve rebuilt my personal consulting site, and I am willing to take the long way round – meaning, I’m willing to take the journey to get there.
What this all means is that I have my work cut out for me, and until I am a proper working writer, I will be working and writing – however long that may take.
It’s not necessarily the dream I had of having another successful business, which would allow me to write in relative comfort, but it’s the dream I have of being a writer that I am committing to – comforts and securities be damned.
That’s not to say I won’t have security: I’ll sure as hell have a lot more than I’ve had in the course of attempting to build two unsuccessful businesses. lol.
In making this shift, I am giving up great for good.
To eventually be great.
That is what I want.
I want to focus on simple goals: x consulting hours a week, x pages a day, x workouts a week.
I recognize the aforementioned goals may seem rather drab – as if I am attempting to quantify happiness in boxes that I’ll check off. But it’s all very simple to me.
I want to write. I want the security to write. I want to be healthy. I want to have a social life where I am valued by people I admire.
I just want to do good, feel good. Be good. And I don’t mind living a simple, quiet, and disciplined life in order to get there.
I just wish this hadn’t all taken me so long to figure out. But it did. And I’m here.