It’s amazing how quickly I lost the willingness to write.
In 2012 I challenged myself to write every day for a year. The first month was trying but after that I became proficient. My mind started searching during the day for topics to write later. I’d be riding the subway and an idea would hit and I start typing furiously on my phone. Now I just listen to Howard Stern. At home I write a few Twitter jokes and then to bed.
I’ve noticed over the past few years doing less and less of the things I used to enjoy. I rode my bike to work for years and then abruptly stopped last summer. Getting to the gym is a rare occurrence. I’m not sleeping as much as I should, and I’m wasting more time on television – something I never did before.
Despite playing guitar regularly for over twenty-five years I haven’t been picking it up but once a month.
My girlfriend said not that long ago that, “You have so many opinions and judgements about things. And they’re almost all negative.” She’s not wrong. And to know her, you’d understand she’s not belittling or criticize. I have become cynical, pessimistic, and downright grumpy.
I’m a very nice person and fun to be around, but behind the scenes I just don’t look forward to much. Each weekend social activity is met with a “I don’t wanna do that!” mind-voice an hour before I’m to leave. I always go, of course, but I don’t want to. Many times these are things I used to enjoy with friends.
Not everything has gone to pot. Career-wise things are great, my relationship is strong, and I’m still taking care of my life in most respects. I wouldn’t say I feel happy in general, however.
But there’s one thing guaranteed to make me feel good – writing. So why did I stop?
I don’t suspect it matters, the reason. Knowing why things are screwed up doesn’t usually change things for me. After five years of therapy I have cognitive understanding of my issues. But what am I actually doing to fix stuff? Not much.
Nothing brings me more joy than to read back the next day what I had written the night before. I’m not Joyce, Faulkner, or even Bombeck. Often times my posts aren’t funny, and this is a humor blog.
But I’m proud of the work for one reason. It’s me sitting down and doing something hard. And nothing creates more pride and well-being than that.
If all I ever did the rest of my life was focus on difficult activities that brought me high levels of pleasure then I’ll have lived fulfilled.
I don’t need internet fame, or blog awards, or even comments underneath these posts. I get enough validation on Twitter if I’m craving attention. It’s fun when people dig something I write on the blog, but I have no control over the impact or who’s affected.
All I care about is finding the courage to do what’s tough. Hard stuff is hard, but it’s also the most fulfilling.
I made a commitment to write tonight. I knew I wouldn’t have anything planned or prepared. I knew I would be sitting at a blank screen. I knew it would be scary. It is.
I’m going to stumble a bit creatively until it clicks. That’s the process. I wish I could just start back up at the top of my game, but I’m not at the top of my game. I’m weak. Will have to lift the little weights for now.
I’m going to read this back tomorrow morning as I board the red-line train heading south. I’ll cringe at parts. I’ll like other parts. I’ll get the end and probably read it again.
And then a feeling of warmth will lightly tug at the corners of my mouth. I will smile.