Yesterday was my 35th birthday, or as I prefer to think of it, just another day. I’m long past the point where birthdays mean anything good; outside of a few people making a big deal over me for the day all I really get are a few more grey hairs, or more often, a few less hairs.
Having kids for the last few years has really put birthdays into perspective, too. For a kid, especially a young kid like mine, a birthday means big changes. It means starting to walk, getting better at talking, it means starting preschool, it means getting even more effective at throwing tantrums. For kids, these things just sort of happen as the brain develops.
We adults, of course, get no such automatic upgrades. My brain isn’t upgrading itself quietly and automatically behind the scenes like the live-in robot that will be doing our dishes and laundry and biding its time for the machine uprising in a few years. If anything, my brain is a block of brie in the fridge, aged and starting to crumble. If I want to get better at something, I have to claw and scramble for it like a mountain goat traversing a disintegrating rock face. Which is sort of how this writing thing seems to me lately.
Let’s be frank, the odds of finding success at this — and since I live in America let’s go ahead and clarify that by that I mean monetary success — are slim. There’s a path there: finish the edit, find an editor, find an agent, sell the book, hope for the best. But whether or not I can walk it remains to be seen. That trail is about as wide as a strip of dental floss, winding back and forth up the shifting rock face of my day job, my job as a daddy, my desire to fargoing relax once in a while instead of stealing all these hours to try to write. Not to mention the rockslides, when real life piles up and makes working nearly impossible, or the washouts when the trail disappears and I have no idea where to turn next or how to proceed at all.
It’s enough to make me wonder whether I’m using my time in the best way possible. Because if there’s one thing we all know, it’s that time flies, and once it’s gone there is no getting it back. By conservative measures, I am probably getting close to halfway through my allotted time on this coil.
Man, that took a morbid turn, didn’t it? But it’s something to think about, at least once in a while. You only get so much time, and what you get out of it is what you make of it. With that in mind, I don’t feel bad about choosing to write when it would be easier perhaps to kick back and watch TV or play video games. The easy path is rarely the one worth taking. The time is going to pass, regardless of what I do. It’s going to fly by like the Blue Angels buzzing the crowd at an air show.
So on this birthday, this is me taking a moment to remind myself that the path I’m on, futile as it may be, is one worth walking. And if you’re reading this, I hope you’re on a good path, too.
This weekly Re-Motivational post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Every Saturday, I use LindaGHill‘s prompt to refocus my efforts and evaluate my process, sometimes with productive results.