The Great Switch

Two things I desire with a ferocity that nearly overwhelms me:

  1. To create
  2. 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.

4 responses to “The Great Switch

  1. Oh, my. This post sums up much of what I’ve been wrestling with these past few months since my own graduation.

    Also, a lecture on underwater archaeology sounds awesome!

    Cheers to a sometimes boring, sometimes interesting, always changing life!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel like you summed me up in one sentence. “I’m terrified of living a boring life.” It’s so true, I say as I sit in my office cubicle. 🙂 I think that fear is actually the driving force behind a lot of the apparent aimlessness in our generation.

    Also, I’m tempted to steal your friend Janessa.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never met you, but I understand this tension. I love to create, but I don’t love sticking to it in the boring, non-inspired times. I heard a conversation recently about how one of the factors of being a “gifted” person is task commitment. So that was inspiring! And now here I am… reading through your blog post once again (I’ve already read it TWICE before this because I like it) instead of writing the play that I am supposed to be writing. Clearly I have a few things to learn about the concept of “task commitment”. What you said about being terrified of living a boring life… YES. Life seems too impossibly short to do all the traveling and creating and living that I want to do. I am learning though… to enjoy the processes. To be okay with the mundane or the exciting. Okay. I’m off to write the play (even though my head and heart and hands feel funny every time I try).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Island Lake | The Girl in the Red Rubber Boots

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