Well it’s been a blogless month or so since last I poked my head in here. External circumstances have not changed at all – I am still what they call “in between jobs”, still for the most part rudderless, and still trying to somehow backhand my soul into waking up from it’s long cowardly nap.

Internally however, all is not lost – I continue to ruminate, introspect, analyze, and ponder with the best of them. I’m sure I have more internal dialogues and debates before 9am than most people do all day – it’s what I do (quite literally, it is what I do, nearly all that I do). The topic for these past few months, from before my unfortunate “letting go” but nicely appropriate to it, has been work. Not work specifically in the sense of “What job should I do?”, though that’s a part, but more in the sense of “What do I do with my life?”.

The bottom line is, everyone needs money. Money gets you food, clothes, and a place to live – also, video games, DVDs, and books, if you’re lucky. You can’t live without money. Well actually that may not be true, I don’t know…maybe you don’t need money, maybe you live off a trust fund or barter for everything you need or have a rich lover. But I need money. Too much money (I wish I could say I’ve never lived beyond my means, or racked up enormous depression-fueled debt, but I can’t – I know better now, but it’s too late, damage done).

So – I need money. The next obvious question is, how do I get it? My employment history is a bit eclectic. My first job ever was at an ice house, followed in those early years by stints at a book store, a convenience store, and even a board game factory (short-lived as it was). My first ‘real’ job field, lasting more than a few months or a year, began as a summer thing.

A friend of mine was working at a state facility for the mentally retarded. Yes, we still called it ‘retarded’ in those days, though I know the current term is ‘developmentally delayed’ (the sound you hear is George Carlin popping an aneurism). The job was chaotic but interesting, and after the three month gig was up I stayed on – for about 11 years (at that facility, and later a couple different residential programs they opened). Following that I moved down to Georgia and, again thanks to a friend, got a techie job with a medical billing company, that one lasting just over 5 years before recently ending.

Let’s not mistake length of employment with passion, however – though it’s true I’ve worked only two different jobs in the last 16 years, neither of them was anything I felt particularly called to. I more or less just drifted into both of them and stayed because of inertia.

Some months ago I came to a powerful realization – no matter what it is you like to do, there is someone, somewhere out there, who will pay you to do it. Love to be around animals? Work at a pet store, or become a veterinarian. Love to scuba dive? Become an instructor, or join the Navy Seals. Love to get spanked with a ping pong paddle while singing “Hail to the Chief”? You may have to look a little harder, but I’d be surprised if there wasn’t at least one person out there who’d put you on the payroll.

I’m aware that this is not exactly a new idea, by the way – most truths aren’t. I didn’t so much think this up on my own as finally see the wisdom and truth in the universal idea in a personal way. But it’s still powerful when something internal like this ‘clicks’, and you feel like you have just a slightly deeper understanding of the reality around you (at least, it should be!).

Anyway, this particular concept really got me fired up. So many people are so miserable at so many jobs, and I felt like I had discovered the secret to a happy life: find what your passionate about, find someone to pay you for that passion, and bingo, you win. If you can earn your way through life by doing whatever it is that makes you happy, then in a lot of ways you’re not even really ‘working’. You’re just living your life, doing what you want to do, and as an added bonus every couple weeks someone gives you money.

Fantastic in theory, but…what is it that I’m passionate about? What do I really love to do?

The obvious answer is writing. I’ve loved stories, both experiencing and creating, since before I can remember, it’s hardwired into my reptilian brain. My own Spider Man comic books when I was wee, roleplaying games when I was older, a stream of ‘my eyes only’ journals throughout, the hundreds if not thousands of online conversations I’ve been party to, and all the other tiny day-to-day creations that have sprung forth to the page or computer screen over these 38 years of mine – I’ve loved writing them all. Clearly then, writing seems to be what makes me happy (at least as much as I get ‘happy’ this past decade or so).

So that’s the path I’ve chosen, and am going to work at making reality. I want to immerse myself in a literary life, reading, and writing, and reading about writing, and what the hell, may as well occasionally write about reading too, just to keep the symmetry.

I am, of course, terrified. I may find that I can effortlessly churn out excellent magazine article after novel after poem after short story, filling my days with overflowing reams of quality, publishable work. Or, I may find that passion does not always equal talent, and things that seem wonderful and funny and interesting to me are really just the mad scribblings of a deluded mediocre hack.

Guess we’ll find out.

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