Putting that energy into... something

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, May 26, 2020, 10:30 PM | comments: 0

Despite a great deal of optimism that's, well, rooted in something I can't explain, I think we're going to be in this world of suboptimal global health for probably the rest of the year. I hope I'm wrong, but hope is not a strategy, and there isn't a lot of evidence to believe otherwise. Accepting this means that I also have to accept that so much of what I enjoy in my spare time is rooted in the Orlando tourist economy, which essentially stopped. I appreciate more than ever the convenience that we enjoy, that there's always live entertainment and food and drink just minutes away, all year.

If I look back to my pre-Central Florida life, I spent a lot more time creating things. I'm not entirely sure why I don't do that with the same frequency that I used to. I was creative as a child in all kinds of goofy ways. I remember coloring strips of paper with orange stripes and taping them into loops to make orange barrels (because I grew up in Ohio, duh), and building out entire road construction sites for my Hot Wheels cars to navigate. I built amusement rides and pinball machines out of Erector sets and cardboard boxes. In high school, I drew up Dungeons & Dragons scenarios in high school, and wrote software on my Apple II to store character profiles. In college I made some really bad TV and radio, and wrote even worse opinion columns. After college I made better TV and transitioned to making software.

I think the change started to happen as I started making the long transition from maker to manager in my professional life, while having a child. I don't know if there's causation there, but I know that those two things do require more of me mentally. The counterintuitive thing going on now is that peeling off the fun things, my source of release that was certainly not a mental drain, has caused me to want to engage my creative side again. That should be fun to unpack with my therapist.

Often I find myself being envious of artists, the people who make movies, music and live theater. They're completely brutal ways to make a living, if you can at all, but they sure do seem to derive a great deal of happiness from what they do. I have no fantasies about doing any of those for a living, but it doesn't mean I can't do them for fun. I admire that so many of them have devoted so much time to creating things and sharing them online the last two months.

Here's where my head is:

  • Keep doing the radio show. Sure, no one really listens to it other than a handful of friends, and it requires no particular skills, but it's fun.
  • Keep writing software. I'm at 72 straight weeks I think of making public commits. I still enjoy working on this project after all of these years. I wish I were more interested in selling the commercial version, but especially in this economy, that's an exercise in frustration.
  • I want to make some video. I'm not even sure what that means. YouTube doesn't likely need more sillynonsense, but I literally own the domain name.
  • I like making food and drink. Interestingly, I don't like eating or drinking excessively, which I suppose is good.
  • The urge to decorate or conduct some kind of home improvement isn't strictly creative, but working remotely anyway makes me want to upgrade my office.
  • I want to write for the screen again. That notebook of ideas really has to have something to make a story.

I'm sure I'll read this in ten years and think, wow, there's some midlife chaos. Unless of course, I actually do the stuff.


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