Last week, I gravely informed you that I had to change course, and that I was very, very serious about it. This week, I’m here to say that making the changes has, so far, shown to be effective. Rather, perhaps I’ve simply successfully made the changes. Anyone who’s ever found any modicum of success will tell you that it didn’t come by simply flipping a switch one day, and then everything to follow was perfect all along.
No, the work never truly stops. It’s like, I’ve found, maintaining one’s physique: you can reach your goal weight, but if you don’t continue to maintain at least most of the habits that got you there, you’ll regress. Another way to say it is “no matter how clean you make the house, if you keep living in it, it’ll get dirty again.”
Part of growing up for me was realizing that life can’t just be the fun things. The tedium, the grind is necessary to the fun being…well, fun. Now, the challenge is remembering that the grind is worth it. Life may be work, sure, but if we remember to see the work as fulfilling, keep our eyes on what it is the work gives us, we’ll have a much easier time doing it.
Granted, it’s easier to keep your nose to the grindstone when you believe in what you’re doing. I’m reminded of the job Charlie Bucket’s father works, screwing the lids onto toothpaste tubes. There’s two ways to see that position. You could bemoan the tragic banality of the repetitive, unskilled labor—a position replaced by a literal unthinking machine. Or, you could focus on the job’s necessity as part of a greater whole: without tops, the toothpaste will not stay in the tubes, and people need toothpaste. Plus, somebody’s got to top them (robots aside), so it might as well be me. Also, this job feeds my ailing parents (and parents-in-law) and my wife and kid, so even though it is rather tedious, the work is worth doing.
In fact, we see this mentality in action as Mr. Bucket brings home defective lids, which bring Charlie great joy, as no two are ever the same. I, of course, am not Mr. Bucket; bartending actually requires a bit of skill and the restaurant actually relies on me a fair amount, all of which are reasons for me to revel in my life, in direct opposition to all the internal whining I was doing about my life barely two weeks ago.
Make no mistake: I still want to leave the restaurant business. I didn’t go to five years of college to bartend. But what I’ve needed to realize is that the next step in my journey isn’t relying exclusively on social media for my income, as it won’t be viable until it already is. I’ve realigned my sights on copyediting remotely, and now that I have some real industry experience to show off, it should only be a matter of building up a client base before I’m able to leave the restaurant behind.
Briefly, I do intend to continue to stream, though I’m not breaking my back to ensure it happens perfectly consistently and is of the HIGHEST POSSIBLE QUALITY. It’s a fun thing I like doing, so I’m going to continue doing it as I can. My fiction, however, I’m still firmly attached to, but it’s like a bike I haven’t been pedaling. That being said, I’ve continued to coast, as I never actually stop thinking about it. I’m still hoping to begin recording of my audiobook by the end of the month, but we’ll see where that lands. Finally, I’m hosting a podcast! My mother is a clinical psychologist with a giant, loving heart who has noticed trends in the questions people ask in her office. Therefore, she wants to discuss those questions, as well as pop psych trends and other useful self- and others-helping practices. We’re distributing our pilot episode directly to our test audience starting this weekend, so if you’re interested, get in touch, and we can email it to you!