So I tried a startup thing, with a few friends, that didn’t work out. I’m not upset about it; I’m just reporting. Meanwhile my wife started up a business involving cooking and selling grain-free products at local flea markets. That’s working out pretty well–in fact, it seems likely to cover our expenses for the next few months. It won’t last forever, as these things are seasonal, but it’s doing pretty well for now. And we’ll do other things as we go along.
I’m helping out with the production of a cookbook, by the way. And some of the initial recipes were mine. And right now I’m shoving stuff in and out of the oven, plus sprinkling yummy bits on top, while she takes our daughter to a gymnastics class. I might start doing the flea market thing, too, if we add a third day. So it’s not as if I’m uninvolved in her business. It’s just that it’s primarily hers, just as the writing is primarily mine. But she’s involved in that too. Guess who my First Reader happens to be? I’d have trouble without her.
Meanwhile I’m thinking of driving a car part-time for Uber, or more likely Lyft, just to bring in some more cash. It seems likely to be relaxing. Profitable, somewhat, and congenial by nature. I like talking to people. It’s so interesting to be out from under the pressure to make every moment count–toward a goal. So much nicer to be able to smile at a stranger, and mean it, because I don’t have anything better to do and don’t even want to.
And on top of all that? We’re giving serious consideration to becoming foster parents, again. We loved it, last time. Hard when the kids leave, but on the other hand…that’s sort of the goal, right? So we might move into a much larger home than we’ve ever considered before. Might even get a dog. You never know. But we’re pretty happy about the possibility.
This is all so much more peaceful than our old lives had become. I was obsessed, and nearly always irritable, with my software development projects. She was obsessed, and nearly always easily provoked to tears, with her Federal government positions. From the outside, we probably seemed pretty happy. We kind of were, actually. But this is better.
We used to make far more money than we do now. Each of us made much more than the two of us are pulling in now. But we’re getting by. I don’t know, really, what will happen next. But it’ll be something.
Somewhere along the way we’ve both lost all interest in using income as a yardstick of success. Maybe it’s because our daughter doesn’t care? Last I heard, she wanted to grow up to work in a restaurant. And write books. I’ll be proud as hell if that transpires. Or if she does anything else that makes her happy.
Why did it take so long–so many decades–for me to understand that time is more important than money? That time spent with family is especially precious? That enjoying it doesn’t actually require a lot of planning or scheduling?
You know what I don’t actually love about writing fiction? I have to be by myself. I have to shut people out. But it’s not all bad! At the same time I’m inviting people in, of course. I make up my worlds and invite folks to explore them. I try to offer an insight or two along the way, or maybe just a good shiver, or at least an eye-roll. Something. I want to offer something to people that they might not find elsewhere.
The nonfiction is similar. There are a few subjects I’ve studied in depth. I want to share. I want to help people understand little bits of the world around them.
Is this notion distinguishable, from the outside, from any other form of arrogance? Perhaps not. Thing is: I’ve learned a lot from other people’s books. I’m trying to pass that along. It is what it is.
I’m not sure where I’m going with this post, except to tell you guys I’m happier now than I’ve ever been before. It doesn’t seem to take much to remind me of that. A clear blue sky, maybe, or a good storm when it’s been a while since the last. A smile from my daughter. A joke muttered to me by my wife. A nice drive in my car. Almost anything can turn out to make my day.
It’s nice to be in a head-space that lets me notice all this. That doesn’t dismiss all that in favor of some goal or other. I’m not opposed to goals. I just know how they can take over my mind, if left to run unchecked.
Probably less-driven folks are rolling their eyes, because they’ve known this all along. My brother did. I wish I could tell him how right he was. And the still-driven folks are rolling their eyes too, if they’ve taken the time to read this, because they’re busy. Lots to do.
I still can’t sit around all day chewing on a leaf of grass. I still have to move around. I don’t yet have the patience to spend the day fishing, and not caring whether I catch anything.
But maybe I’m getting there.
We’ll see. But the timer’s going off. I need to go fool around with food.
Have fun out there!