Wednesday, May 29, 2024

The right life

I was listening to a podcast the other day. An older female writer being interviewed, and she answered a question about why so many creative people give up on their dreams just before things get big. She said part of it is fear, because by that point we don't believe that good things will happen, but the other is that they reached a certain age and realized that they don't have a house or a 401k and they have no idea what their future is going to look like. And that's terrifying in a whole different way. 

That really resonated, and perhaps it's why I'm so gung-ho now. I did 30 years at a job - while writing for myself in my free time - and I had a house. I have the 401k. When we moved from Philadelphia to the burbs six years ago, we sold our West Philly houses and bought the new one for cash. It's much smaller than what we had before, but that's fine. Neither of us are extravagant. We don't need big houses, expensive cars, or nice clothes to wear for non-existent office jobs. 

So this later-in-life writing career suits me to a T. I may not have as many years as someone who starts in their twenties, but I've gotten the hard work and the bulk of the worry out of the way. We won't be homeless or hungry or wonder what the future will bring, other than the standard existential dread that afflicts us all from time to time. And I've lived a lot and learned a lot and written a lot in those intervening years. 

All in all, despite it having felt weird to be a debut author in my mid-50s, it's absolutely the right life for me now.

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