It’s 1:31am and I really, really need to pee. And this is the thing that I will remember about the 500th word vomit that I’ve written. The moment that I’ve decisively crossed the middle point. Every vomit I publish after this one will be closer to the completion of the project than its inception. I should probably go and pee first so I can pay more careful attention to my feelings.
Alright, I’m back. Let’s see. I find myself thinking that… while it’s a cool milestone and a nice number, it’s also just another vomit. And that’s a good thought. When you go Pro, as Stephen Pressfield said in The War Of Art, you don’t want to get overly attached to things. You don’t want to get attached to awards or accolades or milestones or outcomes. You just want to commit to the process, and the process is its own reward. Of course, the milestone is nice. I’m starting to feel a smile forming on my face, a sort of “victory lap” feeling. But that’s dangerous too, because this isn’t a victory. Not yet. Not ever. It’s just another step.
I also find myself thinking that there are other milestones that I’m more proud of. I’m proud of the fact that this year I was able to get a better handle on my processes at work, such that I’ve been publishing blogposts regularly on schedule for months now. It’s still not as perfect as I’d like but it’s good. And when I say “not as perfect”, I don’t mean “it’ll never be perfect”– I mean, there is a particular threshold that I want to cross that I haven’t crossed yet, and that’s an exercise for me to undertake in a different setting.
I’m proud of the fact that me and my wife have had several really good conversations over lunch and dinner this year. I feel closer to her, and it feels like we’re getting better at this whole marriage thing.
I’m proud of the fact that I now manage a little stable of freelance writers, and that I’m systematic about the way I approach them, communicate with them, give them feedback and nudge them along. It makes me feel like I’ve grown.
I’m proud of the fact that I’ve invested in a home gym for myself, and that I’ve been working out regularly (as far as the few data points that I have have shown.)
I’m proud that I’ve been eating healthier, at least about 40-60% of the time. It’s definitely made a difference. I’m a lot less tired these days than I used to be, and that’s totally a blood sugar / nutrition thing.
I’m proud that I’ve continued to keep learning. I’ve learned more about caffeine and nicotine and how the endocrine system works and I’ve been learning more about the fundamentals of psychology, and I’d like to keep learning more things and grow more and be able to do more.
I’m proud that I’ve made time for friends and family, though I’d like to make even more time for them. The past couple of years have been a lot about me figuring out how to be more productive as an individual, and there’s been a lot of failure and missteps in that process. While that has been frustrating, I also have to acknowledge that it was never going to be easy. If it were easy, after all, I’d have done it a long time ago.
And yeah, who am I kidding, I’m goddamn fucking proud of having written over 500,000 words when I said that I’m going to write 1,000,000. There ain’t no getting offa this train. I’m proud that I write much more clearly now. I’m proud that I know how to use footnotes more effectively. I’m proud that I have better titles for my writing.
I suppose I’ll dedicate the remainder of the vomit to my future self, who’ll definitely look back to read this to see what I had to say.
Thank you. You’ve carried a lot of guilt and shame for many years, and you really didn’t have to. You’ve experienced pain and loss and so. much. frustration. And while you’ve come close to giving up many times, you never did. You always came back. You fucked up over and over, but you always came back. You made all sorts of silly, stupid proclamations that you had no right to make. But you always came back. You always started over.
This thing that we’re doing together (and I know you’re going to finish what we’ve started here) has been really helpful to me. It’s given me hope and faith in us, that we can do what we set our minds to. That we can grow, that we can develop, that we can change. It gives me hope that we will be to shed the skin of the scared, insecure little boy that we were and really blossom into a man that we can both be proud of.
Keep going. I promise you, you already know everything you’ll ever need to know. If you’re feeling lost and confused, you really just need to sit and listen. Maybe you need to hit the weights, maybe you need to read a passage or watch a video or listen to some music or call a friend. Or come back to me. Whatever the case, you got this. I couldn’t have told you this with such clearheaded certainty 2-3 years ago. Back then it was just wishful thinking, hopefulness. And even then, I think we sort of knew, but we couldn’t be sure.
I’m more sure now that we ever were before. It’s still not a guarantee. Life doesn’t owe us shit. We might die in a car accident tomorrow, who knows. Life is crazy like that. But as long as you keep breathing, and you keep sleeping and waking up, you have a shot at having a fabulous life. I believe in you. I’ll see you at the finish line, and even then, my friend, it will be the start of something far more magical.
Your friend who has known you by heart,