Now, this might be a massive generalization, or it might be accurate, I don’t really know, but talking to people, reading about people, I get the feeling that at some point in all of our lives, we feel stuck, or sense that we have a lack of purpose.
The common scenario I’ve noticed is we do what we see, what we were programmed to do. Grow-up, find a partner, get a job, have kids or don’t, and just settle in until you retire and then die. And at the beginning, all of this can be exciting. You’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, what your friends are doing and you get to talk to them about it, comparing lives and congratulating each other on your successes and supporting each other through failures. And this is fine… at the beginning.
Then the job you were so jazzed to get starts losing its shine. Maybe getting out of bed to go to work becomes a battle everyday. Maybe you look in the mirror and think, how the hell did I get here? But what can you do? You have people depending on you, depending on your income and you love them, and your problem shouldn’t be their problem so you get up, and you go to work and the next day, you do it again ad infinitum. But that’s not it. Well, it doesn’t have to be.
For me, I didn’t start writing until well into my late thirties. Before that, in order to quit smoking, I started racing in 5K runs, then a half-marathon, then triathlons, and when the quitting smoking finally took, I was like, now what? (Over the past two summers I finished a marathon and an ultra-marathon- I will not be doing either again). It is obvious now I was looking for something extra. Something to occupy my brain and body. I needed stimulation outside of my work. And you know what? This is a great time to live in. If I had been born just a decade earlier, some of the options available now would have passed me by.
I started writing and submitting stories online to magazines and book compilations and bam! Published (after many rejections, of course).
Years ago, you’d have to type out a manuscript, mail it off, and wait for weeks on end for the acceptance or rejection letter to arrive in the mail. It’s called snail mail for a reason. And it was considered bad etiquette to send out your story to multiple places. You had to send to one, wait, and then if rejected, send to another and wait. Ugh. How disheartening!
But for me, at the time I tried to give writing a go, all I had to do was write it, attach it to an email and click send. And the answers came within days, weeks, but not months. Perfect.
And this is not just applicable to writing. There are so many people out there who are returning to what they are passionate about and trying to turn that passion into a reality. You can create your own online store, design T-shirts, 3D print products to sell, create a YouTube channel where people watch YOU play a video game or critique a movie, a book, or you could start a micro-brewery, I mean, the options are limitless! For the first time, in a long time, the options truly are what you can imagine.
And it’s the trying that’s important isn’t it? Even if I had never been published, I know I’d be writing, and like now, trying to get better everyday. I went from passively wishing to actively pursuing my passion for horror and it’s paying off.
What obstacles are in your way? I know it’s cheesy, but I found the only real obstacle to any of my goals had been me. Just me. And I’m still learning to get out of my own way.
I don’t know a lot, but I do know that you shouldn’t hold back. You get one shot at this incredible thing called life. I’m sometimes blown away at the idea of it. I mean billions of years, billions of obstacles, billions of evolutionary changes that created you, in this moment, in this time. Enjoy it as best as you are able. Chase your passion (cheese, I know, but no less true).
John Hunt is the best-selling author of Doll House, The Tracker, and Off The Grid. His newest book, Murder Run, is also available on Amazon.
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