State of the Human Address XXVI

I should really be sleeping.

Hey, that sounds kind of familiar.

Seriously, though, it is ridiculous how much work I'm looking at this week, all of it paying, but not much of it all that creative. I have already complained too much about needing to do things that will ultimately put a little more green in my pocket, so I'm going to try and avoid that, and talk about matters at hand. Well, one matter.

My twenties appear to be circling the drain.

Yesterday was my birthday, the big 2-6. And though I don't feel all that differently, there's a big part of me that desperately wants to sit here and echo a lot of the thoughts that Amy Klein touched on in her post earlier this year entitled "A Woman of a Certain Age." Every few minutes I've had to spare lately, I've been pulling it up and just reading through it. The larger points in it are very gender-oriented, as they should be, as they sort of have to be [given current attitudes and events], and admittedly, your time is probably better spent reading it [as its points are much less selfish, and much more important] instead what I'm about to ramble on about. Because there is snag in it for me. And something in it that doesn't have as much to do with our society's fucked up ideas about age and gender, something that has to do with pursuing a certain kind of goal deep into your twenties, and, barring success, onward, and into your... thirties.

I am worried about being too old. I keep thinking about older people I know, individuals pursuing dreams as lofty or loftier than my own, and how as that age goes up, the more willing I am to scoff at their goals. How ridiculous that seems to me. As if instead of rejecting the idea that growing up is necessary, I decided that, if a certain amount of success was reached by a certain age, it was okay to carry on. It wasn't sad, or pathetic, I wasn't deluding myself. There was still time to dream big. Still room to find out if the way everyone does it was just one choice among many.

I don't know why I think getting older might sacrifice that. I don't know what it is that I expect to impede me as the years progress, other than similar thinking like mine from people who will judge me as uncreative, uninteresting, or unfuckable. I keep trying to stay optimistic, think of "Slouching Towards Bethlehem" and how there are "old hippies too." Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. It's hard to see those I know who are better than me struggle, and even fail. Difficult to watch peers find more success, and wonder if my time has past. Discouraging to hear someone as talented as Amy Klein, who in a very short time has become one of my favorite writers, doubt her own shelf life, when the world would be mad to ever let her be forgotten.

But there's hope. I don't know what it is, or what it looks like -- ironically, descriptions that might describe my own feelings on my personal aspirations. There is hope that those who flounder will find their footing, there is hope in any one of us succeeding, and there is hope that the doubts of the best among us are just that -- doubts, not predictions.

In some respects, today has been kind of brilliant. Remarkable, as I've taken to describing things, perhaps a little too often [I always find a favorite word, for at least a little while]. John and Sarah, two of my better friends, and two of the more skilled writers I know, have complimented my abilities, complimented my attention to my craft. They've also both gotten me books, incredibly encouraging gifts to a writer, or at least this writer, as I have used the works of so many others to sharpen and polish my own skills. I doubt, seriously, that were I to give up writing all together, the books would stop, and yet there is a still a part of me that, upon getting a new one, looks at it as a possibility to improve. To see something I haven't recognized, to get better at something I've done badly, or have never done before.

Outside of my storytelling work, there has been other praise. A website I worked on not too long ago recently got an award. Another project, the owner of the site, sent me good news regarding how well my copy had served his site. These accomplishments are to be shared another time, and another place. They just stand to make me feel a little better.

And there's more work on the way. More reviews to write. More freelance work on the horizon. A head full of comic book and creative ideas. Justin and Ander still toiling away at Calamity Cash and VHS Generation, respectively. A new idea I just need time to put together. Some old ideas that are begging to finally be finished. Not to mention a few more responsibilities here at home.

This is hard for me. I am not good at figuring out my own feelings, and it doesn't seem like something I'm getting any better at over time. But I think I have to admit, by how much I'm scrambling, how much I'm neglecting this blog, how behind I am on my daily reading, how many other, personal things I have failed to get done... that my grandmother's recent hospital visit shook me up more than I realized, enough that things aren't going to fall back into place quite like I expected them to. I'm not entirely sure what fixing that is going to entail.

What I do know is that I want to stop neglecting this space. I want to get back to posting two or three time a week, maybe even more. I want to get back to basics with the place, where I actually talk about writing, but when I'm not writing, I'm not afraid to come here and say as much. I think I've gotten self-conscious, the longer this space has been here. I don't think I can afford to do that anymore. And I have to trust that if someone's going to come here, to read "New Hooverville" or to read essays I'm working on for "Casey Jones's Blues" that they'll also be able to tolerate me opining about the minutiae, whether that entails getting or not getting the work done. Or, at the very least, they'll be able to overlook that stuff for what does interest them. I need to stop running this place like it's some half-assed resume. I shouldn't be worried that I don't have enough to write about, or that I've prattled on for too long on any one subject. I shouldn't be worried about the consequences, or looking a certain kind of way. There are places for those kinds of things. I don't think this is one of them. And I don't think that's the kind of professionalism I'm striving for here.

I'm 26 now. I do not know exactly what that means. If I'm honest with myself, I don't want it to mean anything, but I have a fair idea from the lump in my throat that is probably not the case. Because I'm a freaked that I'm closer to thirty than twenty now. And I think I'm choosing to regress a bit because of it - move back, to that time, that process that was working for me before, that made me feel like I had a little better handle on the world.

I don't want to lose any progress I've made. But I'd like to get back to that place where I wasn't constantly doubting myself for the progress I hadn't. And I've already got enough obstacles without making more. I can't find any reassurance in going forward with this, if I already think it's too late.

...then again, sometimes it's easier to play a game that you don't really think you can win...

No. That's a whole different thing. For some other story, or some other day.

I'm going to post a couple of updates on paying work [re:, Vandalia Productions] before Saturday. Nothing earthshaking. All of it good news. But I need the next couple of days to play catch up, first.Couple of postcards to put up, once I find my scanner, too.

Happy Birthday to me.

2 comments :: State of the Human Address XXVI

  1. Circling the drain? You're 26. The bath tub's half full yet. I'm 29 and my birthday's in September. I'm the one who's bound for mortality!

  2. The tub may be full, but the water's already cold.

    I don't know. I just thought I should run with the metaphor.