The new year has brought us a lot of good changes. We’re both eating better, working out, and we seem to be getting more done these days. The long haul of law school and taking the bar and wedding planning and moving out here really took it’s toll on us for a while there and I don’t think either of us realized it until we started waking up every morning without something to panic about.
Next month will make six months of living here in Utah and we’re just now starting to really settle in to the idea that we live here. Kyle loves his job, which makes life a lot easier for me, and living with my family has been really nice (if a bit unconventional). Being relaxed and content like this means that we’ve also been spending more quality time together and also getting back into things that we liked to do on our own, before we started dating. It’s really, really nice.
Of course, the job hunt looms over me, but in the last month or two I started to do some odd bits of writing and freelance work just to make ends meet. I love to do that kind of stuff, but usually I feel like writing and photography and spending time online is self-indulgent and I could be putting my time to better use. Of course, I now have a lot more time on my hands these days, so I finally gave in and started “wasting” a couple of hours a day just being creative. When opportunities came to do a little bit of creative work, I took them, but didn’t really take them seriously. I mean, nobody really does this writing and social media stuff for a living.
Well, weird stuff started happening. For one, I started bringing in income again, which was a pretty nice feeling. Two, I started rushing through chores and errands because I wanted to maximize the time I let myself sit down and write. I made bargains with myself, like “Ok, if you do an hour of treadmill, you can do two hours on the computer” and “if you get dinner on the stove by five, you have a half hour to do social media while it’s simmering”. And every time someone offered to pay me, I just sort of laughed because why would someone pay me to do this thing I have to actively stop myself from doing most of the time?
But I’m an attorney and a mediator. I have two degrees and a mountain of student loan debt that I took on in order to get them. I’m not a writer. I’m not an author. I’m not an expert on anything. Those jobs are reserved for amazingly talented and creative people who live in lofts full of exposed brick and natural lighting. They go to conferences and people wait in line for hours to shake their hands. It’s like they’re on a different planet.
So I kept writing and being grateful that anyone was willing to give me anything, until Kyle finally asked me why I was still spending so much time looking for jobs and posting resumes. He figured that since writing was making me so happy, I should just put all of my energy into it. I pointed out that I’m pretty much nobody and everyone that says out loud “I want to be a writer” is suffering from delusions of grandeur. And then Kyle asked me, “What would you do if this was your business? If writing was your job and someone was willing to pay you to sit in this room every day and write?”
I thought about it and said, “Well, I would treat it like I used to treat my last job. I’d make notes and have a detailed calendar and I’d break up my day into different parts so that I knew when to be creative and when to answer phone calls and email. I’d get presentation paper and brainstorm all of my ideas in different colors and then I would hang those papers up on the wall to help me focus on my goals and objectives. And I would get up every morning to make sure that I wasn’t late to work and I would work until four or five, even if I felt like stopping, because there would always be just a little bit more that I could do.”
His response? Yesterday, Kyle went out and got spent $70 on a calendar, post-it presentation paper, and a big pack of Mr. Sketch scented markers because he knows how much I love them. I protested the cost and the ridiculousness of me putting any more time into all of this, but he looked me in the eye and said, “This is what you’re supposed to do. That’s why it makes you so happy. So make it your job and we’ll make it work somehow. And if you want to do something else later, it will be your choice and not something you had to do because it was practical and correct. We’ll cross that road when we get there.”