The new job
I am starting a new job next week and I’m really excited.
Let me explain.
Over the past seven years, I’ve experienced a series of epiphanies that have helped me understand the power of a balanced life. It turns out that a lot of the things that make life balanced I should have figured out a long time ago, but ego and confusion and misunderstandings all got in the way.
Almost everything that I’ve learned, I needed help seeing. The most powerful guide has been my wife Tami, who through the pressure of unwavering love insisted that I ask for things that would be good for me from life.
The biggest learning? That we should do things that enhance our well-being, even when we lack the motivation. The biggest surprise? That I couldn’t quickly answer what I needed to do to enhance my well-being.
That led me to find some things out. I learned that my role as a father was powerful and stabilizing; that my role as a husband and partner was soothing and exciting. I learned that my body yearned for activity and that my mind quieted as a result. I learned that I could increase my focus with diet and discipline, and that I could elevate it with medication.
And, more than anything, I learned that I had been crippled by a fear of writing, and that when I looked that fear in the eyes, I could push past it and begin to do the one thing that made me feel more right with the universe than anything else.
My identity expanded. I was a writer. I was a man connected to a loving family. I was a man who loved to build companies.
My version of a balanced life was one that could integrate those three men into one. The realization that life could be that rich was sometimes startling and always exciting.
Balance is a hard thing to keep, though. You have to be constantly vigilant.
Over the past five months, the pressures and demands of work have mounted and pushed their way into all hours of the day. It has required vigilance to stay connected to the new principals that I have learned and not surrender to the old habit of immersing myself in work and disconnecting from everything else.
On the whole, I’ve done a decent job.
Except in one facet of my world. My work as a writer.
I’ve fallen behind my schedule on my novel. I haven’t edited and published the book I wrote last
year. I’ve interacted with my writing community less. I’ve written a couple of stories, made notes on a screenplay adaptation, sketched out another book, but it has all been haphazard, irregular.
This week, I wondered at this pattern. It was an old pattern, reminiscent of how I went off track before I caved in to writer’s block.
The thing is, it can’t be an old pattern, because I know something now that I didn’t know then. Being a writer enhances my well-being. It is something that I have to do to feel whole.
What then would keep me from writing?
I realized that this was the one part of my life that I haven’t wholly integrated into my understanding of what I am obligated to do. As a result, I am too reliant on motivation, which by its definition ebbs and flows.
I accept the obligations of my job. I accept the obligations of my family.
I’m not accepting my obligations as a writer, and by avoiding that, I am keeping myself from feeling as clear-sighted, purposeful and whole as I should be able to feel.
When confronted with a challenge, we all need a metaphor, something concrete and simple that lets us act with understanding and purpose.
“You have to accept a second job as a writer,” I said to myself.
There’s no shame in working two jobs.
So, on Monday, I start my job as a writer.
I’ll let you know how it goes.