Just this

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Sometimes I don’t want my life. I just want to trade it in, and hope for a better deal the next time around.

I know I have it so much better than so many people in the world. Logically, I know this. But I don’t like it. I am just feeling sorry for myself, I guess.

It’s been nice being off work, mostly. I’m not really sure it’s good for me, though. Maybe I SHOULD travel next time, instead of having so much time alone with my thoughts. I’ve had too much time to wallow in regrets and missed opportunities.

Like the other day I started thinking about how, when I was finishing up my English degree, I was encouraged to go to grad school by two of the people in the department who could have guaranteed my admission. I started berating myself about all the ways my life could be different.

But I also remember I didn’t want to keep going to school, and I didn’t want to get too caught up in academia. That I wanted to write popular fiction, and never mind if I haven’t yet, I still do, and grad school doesn’t lead that way.

I still wonder if I’ll ever be happy, whatever happens to me. I know I’m still relatively young and could do anything I put my mind to, but everything seems so disappointing in reality. I thought my current job would be so much fun and I’d be happy.

Magical thinking – that a person, job or thing will come along and create your happy ending.

So the path is ever thus: Seek contentment with what you have. Gratitude for the good things, acceptance of what isn’t ideal. To live this life, this moment, as best you can.

This morning I am working on a novel. A cat is on my lap. Dog sleeping nearby. I had a really good breakfast… it’s foggy and drizzly, and a great day to stay home and write. Can I be grateful for this? I think so. Forget about yesterday and tomorrow, and just live.

Just breathe.

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5 responses »

  1. I can relate very well to this. I graduated with my BA in English last year and I haven’t been able to find a job that’s not in retail. I know the economy is particularly bad in my province–but it’s been soul crushing. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors, and I hope the best for your new novel!

    • It’s so hard. 😦 I bounced around with office and nanny jobs for years, then picked up teaching yoga and fitness on the side. That turned into my full time job eventually, but even though it’s a great job and a good use of my skills, it doesn’t feel right sometimes… Just corporate life in general. I hate performance reviews, even though I get good ones. The whole process just strikes me as silly and weird. And again, I know I’m lucky, because I have a steady job with good benefits and it’s mostly a good job… I just hoped for more from my life. And it’s hard when you have creative leanings, and have to tamp down that part of yourself to get on in the real world.

      • I 100% understand. I desperately want to get my masters in English–I am happiest when I am in school and studying literature–but I just can’t bear the thought of going to school for two more years and not finding a job, so now I’m looking into education. Being a high school teacher will pay well and I’ll get to work with literature a bit, but it’s not what I’m passionate about.

  2. Sometimes I think if I could go back and do it differently, I’d stick with the crap jobs and focus on writing. At least in retail (and nanny work), you never take your work home with you, and you usually have mental energy left over at the end of the day.

    Being a novelist takes a lot more creative mental energy than we realize, and those skilled jobs, while they pay more, can sap us of that focus. There are many English teachers with unfinished novels in their desk drawers!

    Another thing I’ve realized is that it’s a looong game. Few people write a masterpiece or bestseller on their first go. It takes a few mediocre efforts to get the hang of it. And when you’re in your twenties, it may not feel like it, but time is on your side. I wish I’d used those years to get all my “bad” (or even just okay) writing out of the way, so I’d be writing really professional, confident works in my thirties and forties.

    As it is, I’m still just trying to FINISH even one novel, because the idea of another unfinished one is just too depressing! And I’m telling myself it can be a “just okay” novel, that I’m still learning, and they can only get better over the next few decades.

    I’m trying to imagine my sixty year old self giving the current me the same advice, telling me how young I am and time is on my side. 🙂

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