It’s one in the morning, and I’m walking and working while most of the world is asleep. To be fair, I have project I need to get done, but it got me thinking about Arnold Schwarzenegger and something he said that always made me laugh.
There’s 24 hours in a day. If you sleep six, you’ve got 18 hours left.
“I know there’s some of you out there say, ‘I sleep eight hours or nine hours.’ Well, then just sleep faster.”
A month ago I shelled out some big bucks and bought myself a proper desk: a LifeSpan TR-1200 DT5 Walking Desk.
I work from home and one day — maybe a year or so ago — while bumbling around the house, I had a sudden realization. It was Thursday. The last time I had stepped outside was on Sunday. I was terrifyingly close to becoming the crazy, disheveled hermit next door that emerged once a year to mumble obscenities at the children as they ran off in terror.
Worse, I was totally sedentary.
The past month I’ve been tinkering on and off with an old short story I wrote. It’s sort of children’s story, but it’s a little dark. It’s a bit too long for most magazines doing young adult stuff, and it’s not long enough to make a novella. And it’s not really like anything else I’ve written, so it can’t exactly go in a collection.
Honestly, I’m not sure who it would even appeal to, so I don’t really know what to do with the thing.
The other day a colleague called me out of the blue wanting some career guidance.
“You’ve got the kind of job I’d love to have,” he said. “I’m wondering if you could give me some advice on how you got started.”
Downsizing some things is easy. With others, it’s painful.
This year I’ve made many promises to myself, and one of them is this: I’m going to live on the beach, at least for some portion of my life, and likely soon. I’ll spend my mornings watching the sun rise over the Atlantic, my afternoons writing and editing, and as the sun sets, my evening drink in hand and the sound of the waves on the beach lulling me to sleep.
I dream of hopping on my motorcycle with nothing more than my laptop, a bag full of clothes, and a few things that I cannot part with to begin a new life chapter — maybe just a short side story, maybe more.
But that poses an important question. What can I not part with?
A proper midlife crisis requires drastic change. That’s what I intend to do this year.
Life has a way of just — happening. It moves on, carrying you along. After awhile, a rut begins to form. Too long in one place, doing one thing, living one way, and the rut cuts deeper, gets more comfortable, makes it harder to change course.
I didn’t want to write this post because, well, my own writing is far from perfect. But I’ve learned a lot by being an editor this year, a lot of things that have helped me see where my writing sucks and what my strengths are.
Mostly though, I’ve seen things that make me scratch my head and say, really? You want to be a writer?
See, I told you I was hesitant to write this. I realize my writing that sentence makes me sound like a pompous ass. Behold, Jeff, the high-and-mighty, all-knowing wordsmith — and the feeble miscreants who exist around him.
One of the best lessons on writing came from my dad and Hunter S. Thompson.
“Don’t be boring,” my dad said, tossing me his latest copy of Cycle World. “The world is full of boring writers.”
I opened to the article he wanted me to read, “Song of the Sausage Creature,” probably the greatest motorcycle review of all-time.
It took me 25 years to learn the wrong financial habits and one day to unlearn them. One of my goals this year is to get out of debt, or as much out of debt, as possible.
Bust out the spreadsheet, ready the numbers, here’s where I sit on day 1 of 2014: I owe $60,515.82.
Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m one lucky sonofabitch.
I wrote Dreaming in the Dark December 18, 2012. It was one of my first blogs ever written, and it got Freshly Pressed before I even knew what Freshly Pressed meant.
Flash forward almost one year exactly — December 20, 2013 — and I get Freshly Pressed again for a short piece of fiction, Beginnings.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice …
I was going to write a boring old thank you blog, but it’s the end of the year, and we should have some fun, not bore ourselves to tears. So for all those who stuck with me through the year, let’s play a little game I call …
I have to be up in five hours, and I can’t sleep. The girl in the apartment upstairs is laughing. And rearranging furniture.
It reminds me three elephants having a cocktail party. But the girl’s cute, and I like to vacuum at 2 a.m., so I won’t complain.
I wish I could sleep. I’ve been playing games with myself lately, trying to make myself dream proper dreams. You know, dreams that seem full of meaning and profundity and make you feel like an adult with real Freudian problems, dreams that I could talk to Dr. Melfi about.
I don’t do video-only posts often, but there’s an exception to every rule. I’ve never seen something that so perfectly encapsulated this blog.
Watch. Get motivated. Repeat.
I’ve got a lot to get done this year, and there ain’t no time for screwing around. Pick up the pizza boxes, spray a little air freshener, and toss on some fresh undies. No joke, fellas. Tis some serious shit about to go down.
I’m 28. In 16 months I turn 30. Being an aimless, unaccomplished loser is expected in your 20s. It’s cute. It’s charming. Live it up. Make mistakes. Do stupid shit while you can still blame it on “misspent youth.”
But what’s the point of all that soul searching? To finally have your life together once you hit 30, right? So let’s play a little game, a pre-test if you will. Don’t worry. There’s no wrong answers. It’s just a guide.
It was quiet, not soundless, but worse — the sound of a half dozen people trying to be quiet — the kind of quiet that demands you scream, a primal scream that can only explode after a deep breath, deep as you can get, so deep that you can feel it go down into your toenails and spring back off the tip of your toes before you launch yourself upwards from bent knees and just belt, belt at the top of your lungs as your chair topples over and your coffee spills and you go and go until every ounce of air is gone and you’re empty inside, empty like the squeezed out juice pouch you put in a kid’s lunchbox each morning, nothing left but squished fingers.
I cleared my throat politely, nothing more.
There are two questions that every human must ask themselves in their lifetime. Where did we come from, and are we alone in the universe?
In many ways, we’re closer to answering those questions than ever. Recently, it was reported that there is as many as 40 billion Earth-like planets — just in our Milky Way galaxy.
USA Today led its story with these words: “We are not alone.”
Everyone’s jealous, and it’s because I’m freaking awesome. I’m not even 30, and I’ve hit my life goal: full-time writer. There’s nowhere to go from here but down.
Over the past four months I’ve written 171 articles. Some of them we’re actually pretty good. Because of this fact, I have achieved what the cool kids call “baller status.”
I see it everywhere I go. Grown men burst into tears. Children squeal. Women flock.
Let’s start off this post with what not to do:
- Do not stop exercising and sit on your ass for two years.
- Do not then eat McDonald’s and chocolate chip brownies every night until you balloon up a size where you literally look like, well, an inflated balloon.
- Do not then decide, fuck you world, I’m gonna bring the sexy back, and you’re going to crush it at the gym on day one.
Howdy, everyone. Life is awesome. I’ll never have a better job. I get paid to write now. I’m still waiting for someone to call bullshit — “Wait, you’re telling me we pay this guy to sit on his ass and write whatever the hell he wants.”
So I’ve been lacking here, I know. And now, get this. I’ve been invited to write over at Medium. I still plan to do most of my personal writing over here, but I figured I might as well check out what all this fuss is about over Medium. Seems like a pretty cool site!
When I started blogging I made only one rule, swearing up-and-down that I would never do this one thing. Today, I’m about to break that rule and write a wah!-my-life-is-busy-and-I’m-sorry-I-haven’t-been-blogging-very-often post. And if I’m going to go ahead and break that one rule, I figure, fuck it, let’s aim high and just try to make this the worst blog post ever.
Seven months ago, sitting alone in my apartment, my back in pain and my life not going anywhere, I thought, “If I have a heart attack, I don’t think I”ll call an ambulance.” That would be it. I would simply check out. I was 27-years old, but what did I have to live for? Worse, I seemed incapable of changing my life.
That was the start of this blog. I thought I’d give it one more try, one year to really get my shit together and to try to make a change: Change for a Year. That was seven months ago. The power of dreams is a funny thing.