Two things I desire with a ferocity that nearly overwhelms me:
- To create
- To live an interesting life
I know “interesting” means different things to different people, but to me it means new places, new ideas, new interactions. Traveling, reading, exploring, learning.
College was a constant parade of interesting ideas. There was always a robotics club to join, or a new classmate to tell you all about her childhood in civil-rights-era Mississippi, or a free lecture on underwater archaeology. But I never had time to create anything of significance.
This period of my life is the great switch. When I have to put up with a less interesting life in order to have time (and money) to create.
I had tea with my friend Janessa the other day, desperate to glean some of her wisdom. She manages, somehow, to both create and live an interesting life, traveling the world in her tiny home on wheels. We ended up commiserating on our struggles with self-motivation, and I did a lot of verbally sorting through my feelings, trying to figure out what I really want out of life, which she patiently listened to.
“I’m terrified of living a boring life,” I told her. And she laughed, because it was a little funny.
But also, true. Because to create something, not just to write but to create a finished product, requires a healthy dose of mundanity. It takes boring days of staying at home and working on the thing. It means not just starting the new stories and dropping them when they’re no longer fun, but working on them. Finishing. Editing. Working hard.
I once read a fascinating article about how it doesn’t matter so much what you want in life, it matters what you’re willing to give up to get what you want.
For a long time, I was willing to give up nearly everything in order to get my college degree. One of the things I gave up was writing another book. I just didn’t have the time. I was, in essence, giving up my desire to create in order to further my desire to live an interesting life.
Now, I think I have to be okay with living a life that’s less interesting, in order to have time to buckle down and create things.