I tend to constantly compare my current self to my past self. I guess it’s just an easy way to check on my life’s ‘progress’. I may not be a best-selling author or a professional footballer, but at least I can now talk to people I’ve never met without being completely awkward.

The only problem is, at the moment I fear that I’m less than what I used to be. Somehow I’ve become less self confident, more cynical. Life’s becoming more of a chore than something I enjoy. Each day is just a repetition of old habits and familiar actions. More and more the words ‘I just can’t be bothered’ are becoming a catchphrase.

I lost something. Some sense of adventure, or deeply held desire. A drive to be better.

I need to find it again. So I’m going to try to shake off the cobwebs and do some new stuff. Tomorrow I’m going to a circus society session, to make friends and learn to do something cool. I’ll join the gym and actually go. Yoga is always something I’ve wanted to try, and I get free entry to classes with a gym membership.

I think the worry is that if I’m thinking these thoughts, surely those closest to me are thinking the same. When they look at me, are they disappointed? Do they miss what I was, or resent what I’ve become because of that?

I doubt it, they are my friends after all. Still, it’s a thought that terrifies me. It’s a thought that will spur me on.

yahighway

tetw:

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On Keeping a Notebook by Joan Didion - A great essay about making notes that gets to the very core of the writing process

Write Like a Motherfucker by Cheryl Strayed - Raw, emotional advice on the role of humility and surrender in the often tortured world of the writer

Thoughts on Writing by Elizabeth Gilbert  - On disicpline, hard work, rejection and why it’s never too late to start

Write Till You Drop by Annie Dillard - “Do you think I could be a writer?” “I don’t know… . Do you like sentences?”

Why I Write by George Orwell - On egoism, a love of beauty, the quest for truth and the desire to change the world — Orwell’s ‘four great motive for writing’.

Despite Tough Guys, Life Is Not the Only School for Real Novelists by Kurt Vonnegut - A beautifully argued defence of the role of teaching in developing writers.

That Crafty Feeling by Zadie Smith - A lecture by a great essayist and novelist on the craft of writing.

A Place You All Know Well by Michael Chabon - On the central role of exporation in writing.

The Nature of Fun by David Foster Wallace (excerpt) - DFW on what drives writers to write

Uncanny the Singing That Comes from Certain Husks by Joy Williams - “Who cares if the writer is not whole? Of course the writer is not whole, or even particularly well…”

dayzea
Did you know, you can quit your job, you can leave university? You aren’t legally required to have a degree, it’s a social pressure and expectation, not the law, and no one is holding a gun to your head. You can sell your house, you can give up your apartment, you can even sell your vehicle, and your things that are mostly unnecessary. You can see the world on a minimum wage salary, despite the persisting myth, you do not need a high paying job. You can leave your friends (if they’re true friends they’ll forgive you, and you’ll still be friends) and make new ones on the road. You can leave your family. You can depart from your hometown, your country, your culture, and everything you know. You can sacrifice. You can give up your $5.00 a cup morning coffee, you can give up air conditioning, frequent consumption of new products. You can give up eating out at restaurants and prepare affordable meals at home, and eat the leftovers too, instead of throwing them away. You can give up cable TV, Internet even. This list is endless. You can sacrifice climbing up in the hierarchy of careers. You can buck tradition and others’ expectations of you. You can triumph over your fears, by conquering your mind. You can take risks. And most of all, you can travel. You just don’t want it enough. You want a degree or a well-paying job or to stay in your comfort zone more. This is fine, if it’s what your heart desires most, but please don’t envy me and tell me you can’t travel. You’re not in a famine, in a desert, in a third world country, with five malnourished children to feed. You probably live in a first world country. You have a roof over your head, and food on your plate. You probably own luxuries like a cellphone and a computer. You can afford the $3.00 a night guest houses of India, the $0.10 fresh baked breakfasts of Morocco, because if you can afford to live in a first world country, you can certainly afford to travel in third world countries, you can probably even afford to travel in a first world country. So please say to me, “I want to travel, but other things are more important to me and I’m putting them first”, not, “I’m dying to travel, but I can’t”, because I have yet to have someone say they can’t, who truly can’t. You can, however, only live once, and for me, the enrichment of the soul that comes from seeing the world is worth more than a degree that could bring me in a bigger paycheck, or material wealth, or pleasing society. Of course, you must choose for yourself, follow your heart’s truest desires, but know that you can travel, you’re only making excuses for why you can’t. And if it makes any difference, I have never met anyone who has quit their job, left school, given up their life at home, to see the world, and regretted it. None. Only people who have grown old and regretted never traveling, who have regretted focusing too much on money and superficial success, who have realized too late that there is so much more to living than this.
(via dayzea)