We have a finite set of miles allotted to us. What are you doing with yours?
Do you find yourself lying in bed some mornings wondering where you took the wrong turn in life?
Maybe it was right after college when instead of taking left off the interstate of a life towards something that would make you happy but not a lot of money, you instead took a right onto the entrance-ramp of security and financial responsibility. I took that right, right out of college. I had a little help in the matter in that I had been groomed from birth for the family business. "Groomed" is putting it kindly.
But soon after entering into the business, I rejected it. It didn't feel right. I was a young man who felt uncomfortable in his own skin. It was like having been thrust into an arranged marriage and being repulsed by your new partner. I wanted to be a writer. That was the life I wanted to live. People thought I was crazy. My family thought I had lost it. They all said, "You have this great business. One day it will be all yours." Then they said, "You can write on the side."
I didn't want to write on the side. Writing on the side was for hacks and pretenders. I knew that if I didn't give it my all, I would one day become the fat, middle-aged man with high blood pressure, a house in the burbs that needs a new roof, and more debt than I could possibly pay off. If I were going to become a writer, I wanted to do it the way the greats did it. Like Hemingway and Mailer and Gellhorn. I wanted to write about everything and see the world doing it.
I rejected the family business and I rejected the suburbs and I rejected anything that even speaks of normalcy and safety and what's expected of me. Does it make me selfish? Maybe. Writing is a selfish pursuit. It requires alone time and it requires space and it requires stimulation that cannot be had by sitting on the couch in front of the television anymore than it can be had by doing it "on the side."
Today....at this very moment in time, I'm not fat, I'm not unhealthy, and I don't have insurmountable debt keeping me up at night. But I don't own a business, nor do I have a country club membership, nor do I own a house, nor am I rich. Not even close. But damn, I'm happy as hell. Happy that after taking a right hand turn off the interstate of life, I pulled a U-turn and pursued the other route. It's made me who I am right now and who I will become many miles from now.