Where Do I Go From Here?

Last night, I was reading through a journal I updated (rather infrequently) between 1997 and 1999. I never really kept a journal of any sorts except in college where I used a tape recorder as a journal (more on that later). I could always type faster than I could write, and now with the permation of the Internet in our society I find it so much easier to use my blog as my journal. Anyway, I read through the entries and I ran into a section where I was thinking about where I wanted to go with my life. That seems to be a re-occuring theme with me - I always seem to hit periods in my life where I try to make sure I'm using my time wisely. As I read, I ran into a very telling line, dated 10/2/1997, 12:08 AM:

So what is the purpose of life? Not to go through it without one.

Huh. You know, usually I just ramble on in my blog entries. It's a kind of therapy, I guess, but it's free and I like doing it, so I keep doing it. But it's rare that I think that something I wrote is what I would consider insightful [1]. That phrase worked a number on me last night, and then it really worked its message this morning.

See, while I've been working on a music project (which is going quite well, I might add), I've missed writing a technical book...or any kind of book for that matter. I came up with an idea that I thought was marketable, and I talked to someone who I thought would be a good co-author. I was worried because I knew he's never written a book before and I've burned by a lot of other authors who never did their part, so I decided to put together a partial outline and give it to him to fill in his part. That was a week and a half ago, and I wasn't seeing any progress. To be honest, I wasn't suprised as he's going through a lot of changes in his life, and I thought it was more important for him to just acknowledge that he wouldn't have the time to dedicate to a book rather than prolong things. So I gave him a deadline for a first draft by Friday - he responded by saying he wouldn't be able to continue with the book.

I'm not mad at the guy. Really, I'm not. But I think I've realized that writing a book is just not in my future. That saddens me a bit, but rather than let that keep consuming me and taking purpose out of my life, I'm going to move on and try different things in my life. For one, I'm going to use my blog/web site as my primary (and probably only) means of writing. Sure, I have some ideas for fiction, but I've had those ideas for years...maybe it's time to start developing some of those ideas. Sidetracked is going to start recording in a couple of months, and I'm really looking forward to that. I feel like out material is really strong, and I can't wait for us to get our ideas recorded for others to hear. Being a father is a whole big change in my life that I'm enjoying. But, I don't want to go through my life feeling like I'm not accomplishing anything. I just have to realize that an accomplishment doesn't mean that a lot of people know about that accomplishment (or that I'll make a ton of money on it either, although that would be a nice thing to have as well). There's a lot of technical ideas I have on my personal to-do list, and I hope next week I can get some of them done. I've also thought about my old journals (see? I'd get back to this) and retro-publishing them here. It would be hard with the tapes - I don't think I could type fast enough with my dictations. Plus, that's literally hours and hours of my babblings, and I'm sure some of it is quite embarrasing. To top it all off, it would be pretty self-centered or arrogant in a way to spend that time on what I said. But it would be a fun project nonetheless.

So, where do I go from here? It's to learn to enjoy what I have and embrace the creative sides I have. I like writing music and the written word and I like software development. I think I had a perception that I had to be a "rock star" or a "guru" or an "expert" as a software developer, but that's such a pathetic view. It's time to do what I love to do, not spend so much time caring about what anyone's reaction will be. This is something I've been musing over for a while, and this year I've come to understand that to be successful I have to do what I like to do. That means not spending time thinking of another book to write, or where I could speak next. Just do what I love. That's the essence of purpose.

[1] What I write or do is primarily for me. Sounds selfish, I know, but what I mean is that I do things that I would be happy with. I try to write music that I would be happy with. I try to write books that I would like reading. That's what I mean.

* Posted at 08.02.2005 08:37:49 PM CST | Link *

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