Write it off to being sick, to having laryngitis – I’ve not uttered a word in 5 days, it’s annoying – or to an oncoming mid-life crisis, but lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what I want to be when I grow up.
I’ve spent hours thinking about it. Minutes. Days. It seems to be all I’m thinking about lately. I have a good job, but that’s about it.
When I was a kid I had a very definite idea of what being a grown up would be like. I would have my own home. A family. A cat. I’d be a journalist first, then a writer. I’d be more successful then the guy who wrote the Mr Men books I adored. As I got older, nothing much really changed, except the “idol”. From Roger Hargreaves, to Sidney Sheldon, Wilbur Smith, Jackie Collins. Didn’t really matter who. Just so long as I would be able to achieve the success they had achieved.
As I got older, certain realisations hit me. One, I’d probably not have a family unless science took a major step forward. I’d still have a cat though. You can’t separate a writer from his cat. I dropped out of school, so being a journalist wasn’t going to happen. But I could still be a writer. I used to spend school holidays writing short stories. Weekends, I’d do the same.
Years ago now in an attempt at humour I told my Grandmother I was going to found a porn empire. There was no one better to rile up then my Grandmother. She was quiet and shy if you didn’t know her. But she was made of steel and had the personality of typical Irish Grandmother – at least my version anyway.
She just looked at me and completely straight faced she said “Sex sells Michael. Go for it. I’ll deny it if you ever tell anyone I said it, but where there is desire there is money.” I seriously contemplated that for about 2 minutes until the idea that my Grandmother even knew what I was talking about made me cringe.
Now I’m 39. I’m home sick from work. I can’t speak, I’ve got the flu and I’m bored out of my mind. I’ve been watching TV a lot over the past 5 days. It’s all I’ve had the energy to do. I spent the weekend watching the Harry Potter movies and realised if I was younger, J.K Rowling would have been the bar with which I set my childhood version of adult success. I love those books. I love the movies. There’s something remarkably freeing about fantasy and magic and good triumphing over evil.
Whenever I was a kid and said I wanted to be a writer, I was always told to forget about it until I was older. That you needed to live before you could write. No one would take a young author seriously. So I did. I put it on the back burner and got on with life.
Somehow I’ve ended up in a life that doesn’t quite fit me properly. It’s like wearing a sweater that’s a little too tight in some places, and much too lose in others. I find myself wondering now “when is the proper time to acknowledge I’m a grown up.”
I’ve recently begun downloading eBooks from Amazon for my Kindle app on my iPad. I’ve read some great stories. I’ve read some not so great stories. I’ve read some stories that are absolutely crap. As I read the stories, I keep thinking “I could do that. Maybe that’s what I should be doing. Self-publishing on Kindle.”
My Grandmother’s voice has returned to me lately, saying “Where there is desire there is money Michael.” As the world gets darker and stress becomes more and more overwhelming, people seem to crave light entertainment. An opportunity to laugh, to lose themselves in a world that is far removed from their own experiences.
I’ve been reading Private Detective novels for the most part. I did read a couple of queer erotica shorts, one of which I thought was brilliant, the other I thought sounded like an 18 year old girl’s idea of what happened in a gay bed. Neither are genre’s I would normally read. I read fantasy. Terry Pratchett is a personal favourite. Comedy, fantasy, a taste of the random and yet with a cutting eye on today’s issues. I like his books. They are fulfilling on a variety of levels. I have an idea for a comedic fantasy story. Maybe one day I’ll even write it.
But I guess the point to this post is “What do I want to be when I grow up.” At 39 I’m probably grown up already. I need to find a way to be what I want to be, but firstly I need to find a way to determine exactly what that is. Do I want to be a writer? After all the years of having that as my “grown up” plan it reminds me of my parents and how when they retired they were going to go to the UK. For a variety of reasons, that never happened. I’m determined not to be sitting around in my 60’s and saying the same thing about myself.
How do you put writing at the forefront of your path? How do you find the time?
Today’s post is really nothing but some random thoughts that have been annoying me. I write here in the hope that I can gain some perspective. That maybe, I can figure out how to make a go of what I want in a life I’ve never felt I really fit.
Sometimes I wonder when a person truly does “grow up”. Inside my head I feel 18. My body looks and feels 39, but my brain still thinks it’s a teenager.
I have no idea where I’m going or what I’m doing. I had thought the Artist’s Way would at least show me a path. To a degree it did. Perhaps I’m just commitment phobic, which would explain a lot of different things. Or perhaps I’m just making excuses so I don’t run the risk of actually doing anything.
Either way, I need to figure it out. I’ll let you know what happens if I ever make a decision.