Blog #8: Finding Joy
Hello all, I hope you all had a good holiday season. I hope you avoided Omicron and if you didn’t, I hope you’re recovering. While I’ve still worked over the Xmas period, I have mentally and physically taken the last couple weeks ‘off’.
The Christmas period is an interesting one for me. I wouldn’t say I’m Scrooge, but I’m not Merry AF either. I think, it goes back to working in restaurants and bars over Xmas and just, like, forcing the joy away knowing you need to work. Then I moved 6,000 miles away from my parents to a place where Xmas morning is sunny and 17-21 degrees Celsius, so it was hard to feel comforted and in the mood.
This year, I was coming off a very intense couple months of work, and before that what was easily my toughest year since 2016 when my Dad passed, and you can read why in previous blogs. As I reflected upon the year I felt that, despite the darkness of most of it, I finally felt like I was able to forgive a lot of things and to let a lot of things go, and there was a lot of change. Career, marital status, living arrangements, life arrangements…you name it. 2021 was the year of uncertainty.
I’m not a big fan of NY Resolutions, never have been, and in fact my wife does a much healthier version called NY Intentions, and I really only have one NY Intention for 2022: FIND MORE JOY.
A lot of the time I try and be what I call an emotionally neutral person. Never getting too high or too low, never celebrating after a win because I’m always looking at the next step, never being too crushed after a defeat because every loss is a lesson…etc. That mindset is a defense mechanism. It is, and I know it too, because I do feel the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I may appear neutral, but I feel everything much more deeply than I let on, and as adult life has happened the negative has taken a much greater center stage than the positive. For whatever reason, I have just had a hell of a run of it, and its hard for me to view the positives.
This has come out over this Xmas period in a big way. If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts you know I went to an event in New York last month for writers and, well, I wish I’d waited to do my post on it, because given time to reflect I think I was very disappointed in many aspects of the experience. I learned a lot, and met some very cool people, but there were a lot of other things about it that, as the experience percolated my mind, I was just very unhappy about, and that unhappiness bled into my writing over the Xmas period, hence the forced break.
There is a part of me that wishes I could be a ‘normal’ person; that I could just find a path and be happy with my tiny corner of existence. This small ache of tension in my chest just wishes I could settle. But I can’t. It just isn’t who I am. My whole life the world has tried to fit me into boxes to fit the mold and the New York event was no exception.
When people, or organizations, or society, whoever, tries to make me conform, I just seem to rebel. It’s just my nature: it is who I am. It is my core flaw. I don’t want to do things the same way others do. I want to take the best parts of things that work, and add my own spin to them, my own ways that I think make something better, or evolve something. I wonder, is it arrogance, ego, to think I know better? I don’t really know.
I’m at the beginning of this journey. I don’t have a large enough sample size to say what is definite and what isn’t. All I know is what I look for personally in media, and I like different. I hate being able to see the three or four well known story writing models at play every. Single. Fucking. Time. I hate seeing a tiny book that’s over before it starts, where you see the twists coming a mile away because that’s what model X told you to do. It’s BORING, and it is a little soul crushing to see the publishing industry beginning to go down the path of Hollywood. I get it, OK? C.R.E.A.M. Cash rules everything around us. What is going to make money? Etcetera. So, you stick to a formula, rigidly, because its what’s worked in the past. At least…until you look at the greats, the ones who are around for 30 years or more. They take the formula, and put their own marker on it.
So what’s my point?
Writing begins again this week. I have multiple submissions to do. I have edits and re-writes to try and trim word counts. I have two new ideas I got over Xmas I want to explore, as well as pick back up on old ones, and continue refining Afflicted. I also have all this new information, and this negativity swimming around in my head. I am questioning myself, my gut, my methods, my very core skill in writing. I’ve been told I suck because I don’t really fit in the box, that I’ll never get published. Doubt surrounds me like an angry vortex spewing criticism at every moment.
So what do I do? I remember who I am. I remember I already know I don’t fit into boxes, and I try anyway, because all the greats I admire never fit into boxes themselves. I remember how much joy writing brings me, and how amazing it is to have the ability to create worlds, and people, and tell their stories.
AND it isn’t just writing that this applies to, its life. I need to try and find joy where I can. Especially when you look at the world the news portrays…it sucks right now. Omicron is running rampant. I see supposedly civilized countries exploiting their workers and bungling their nations on a daily basis. I’m thousands of miles from most of the people I love. I don’t know where I’ll be living in a few months. But it’s the quiet moments I need to appreciate, and take that joy of actually being able to live and do things when I can.
I know, deep down, that unless I’m actively engaged in something, I will loathe doing it. Another flaw. Finding joy in something allows the hate to subside. It is my intention in 2022 to both find joy in the things I do, and remember what brought me joy in things where I may be feeling a little jaded, and that ultimately, I got to have faith that the joyful aspects that fulfil me will show in my work, attitude and lifestyle.
If you’re struggling right now, feeling like you’re caught in the meat grinder of adult life, feeling the negative pressures of the world around you weighing on you…I feel you. There are millions of us just like you. I’m right there with you. I know that if I don’t take the time to find the joy in the things I do, I’m just going to continue being miserable and…honestly…life’s too short to be unhappy all the time 😊 even when it feels like the universe is against you. Eat a nice meal, play your favorite video game, take a walk, try a new TV show, keep talking with your friends. We got this!
That’s all I really have to say today. TTFN!