30 by 30: Part 2

30 Things I’m Glad I Know Before I Turn 30: Part 2

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6. My body.

I know what I like. I know what I hate. I know what will happen if I put certain things in it. I know my chemical imbalances. I know when I feel good. I’m very aware of my physicality. I am a meat bag.

7. How to tell people how I feel.

Confrontation. Telling it like it is. Being blunt. Padding where appropriate and showing emotion as necessary.

8. How to forgive – both myself and others.

Letting go of grudges doesn’t just go outward. It also means saying to myself, “Yeah, you fucked up. Don’t do it next time, yeah? Yeah. Off you go.”

9. My hobbies.

I used to be absolutely paralyzed when people asked me about my hobbies. Especially after I stopped LARPing. I used to deal with a terrible anxiety about doing stuff other than what I thought I “should” be doing at a given point. By letting go of that, I now have a laundry list of interests: taxidermy, painting, felting, sculpting, traveling, photography, on and on and on.

10. How to have a day job.

If I had a dollar for every day during my twenties that I was angry about the office jobs I’ve had as a post-graduate, I could probably take a Caribbean cruise. Over the years, though, I’ve learned a lot of great lessons about how to handle not doing what you think you should be doing 24-7. I’m sharing some of these secrets in my newsletter, by the way.

30 by 30: Part 1

As I mentioned last week, I’m going to be turning 30 this Sunday, October 19. I am finding this milestone seems like a big deal to the person to whom it is happening (me) but to everyone else…meh. I also know, however, that I have a following of younger folks (who I love), so I’m making this list I will be sharing a little of each day between now and Sunday.

30 Things I’m Glad I Know Before I Turn 30

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1. How to get a job.

Resume, interview, dress well, do your homework. Rinse, repeat.

2. How to have a car.

There are a few things to this one: I have bought 2 cars, had to take care of it and gotten accustomed to driving it. In all occasions. In all sorts of environments. Including Manhattan.

3. How to travel.

I can officially say I’ve gone places by plane, train and automobile. I’ve been to a non-English-speaking country. I’ve crossed America by roadtrip. I’ve been from New York City to Seattle. I’ve been everywhere, man.

4. How to get along by myself.

I love being alone. It’s fantastic. I can keep myself occupied, take myself on dates, the whole shebang.

5. How to do my own makeup.

Here’s a lady one. When I was a teenager, I hated makeup, and my mother and sisters could not get their heads around it. I could not understand why I had to put on globs of garbage to make myself look…not like myself. It wasn’t until my twenties that I realized that cosmetics are about you first. You feeling sexy or empowered or just interesting. Screw everyone else.

Monday 8/11/14: What Am I Doing?

mondaydoing08112014 copyWatching: Orange is the New Black — I’ve seen it all the way through Season 2 but now I’m watching it with the husband. What a great series. Fantastic characters, good story, it’s all awesome. Except Larry. But then, well, I think everyone feels that way. Even Jason Biggs.

Loving: Funko Pop Figures — “Your obsession with these things is getting out of hand,” I’ve been told. “Don’t you have too money of those?” I’ve also heard. No. No, no, no. I need more. Please and thank you. Next on my list is Groot. Also, if someone could hook me up with the bloody Hannibal from SDCC14, that would be great.

Reading: “Seconds” by Bryan Lee O’Malley — Y’all already know how I feel about Scott Pilgrim. Now, there’s a new, full length, COLOR (?!) comic out. So far, so good. And it’s another huge comic, on par with “Blankets.” I’m hearting it a lot.

Hearing: “Mandatory Fun” by Weird Al — I bought this album about a week ago and I cannot stop listening to it. It also has the first of his polka remixes that hasn’t made me want to be ill. I love it. Also, thank you, Weird Al, for creating a parody of that horrible song (which shall remain nameless) so now when I’m afraid it’s getting stuck in my head I just start singing YOUR words instead. And laugh.

Doing: Crochet — I am teaching myself crochet so I can do amigurumi and make adorable little somethings as gifts when I don’t feel like felting. I seem to have the chain stitch down, and that took longer than I thought. Next: single crochet! So much more excited than I should be!

It’s Monday. What are you doing?

Hobbies and Careers

Recently, I’ve been going through one of my soul-searching writer phases. It’s something that happens every now and then when I find myself going, “Am I really a writer? What does that mean? Do I really love to do this? Wouldn’t I do it more if I really loved it?” You know, the normal questions artists have every now and then.

I keep coming across a phrase that I’d really like to just…wipe away. Plug into a Cerebro machine and remove it from everyone’s list of negative-nancy-isms.

“If you can’t make a living off it, it’s a hobby. Not a career.”

I feel like I just bit into an ice cube. I think this is one of the belittling, deprecating things to say. Obviously, we’re not talking taxes here, so just…don’t say it.

Let’s break it down, shall we?

American Heritage defines a career as “a chosen pursuit; a profession or occupation.” A hobby, meanwhile, is “an activity or interest pursued outside one’s regular occupation and engaged in primarily for pleasure.” Okay, so now we have this common word. Let’s go even further. An occupation is “an activity that serves as one’s regular source of livelihood; a vocation.”

Notice I made that second word bold, because I want it to stand out.

So let’s translate this and you’ll see how this phrase feels to writers, artists and other people whose success and happiness you like to judge:

“If you’re not making money from this, it is not your calling. It is a past time. It’s something you do for fun.”

Honey. This isn’t fun. Fun is going for a drive. Fun is watching Netflix in my underpants. Fun is reading kids books and petting puppies. Fun is the beach or the airport or a platypus.

If you aren’t a writer or an artist, you will never understand how it feels to move through the day and try to ignore the burning urge to create. It’s like having to pee, but, see, you have time to stop and pop a squat. You can tell your day job, “I need to run to the restroom real quick.” I can’t tell my boss, “I really need to get this story out of my head.”

You will never get how much guilt there is when you don’t sit down and write something. It feels like going without food, like your soul is dehydrating.

Lucky you, that you have a day job where at the end of the day, you’re getting a paycheck. You aren’t showing your work to someone and having them a) ignore you, b) tell you it’s “not for them” or c) tell you outright that it’s garbage. Every time we write something and put it out into the world, it’s like we’re putting out our hand for one of those horrible bar games where someone tries to jam a knife between your fingers as fast as possible. It’s not a question of will you get hurt but when and how badly.

And don’t get me started on the blank page and the writer’s block and the stress and depression and the manic episodes and the insomnia and the Google searches for ways to die and…

It’s not fun.

Is it rewarding? Yes. Would I give it up? No.

Can I give it up?

No.

Conclusion: I don’t care what your measure of success may be, but don’t try to tell me that what I wake up every day thinking about doing, failing to do, doing over and over and over and then starting it all over again is not my life’s work.

Because I am greater than the sum of all your paychecks, and my power has nothing to do with you.