*blows away dust*
Oh yeah, this thing.
I don’t really know how to get this post started. I’ve written so many parts of it in my head the past couple of weeks, but stupid ol’ me kept forgetting to imagine the beginning. I guess that’s how most of my projects go in my head: think of the cool parts but don’t bother with how to get there.
BUT. This isn’t about me not following through with something and ending it. Oh no. This is about me following through after a long time of not following through!
*checks date on last post* Oh dear.
Look, my life has changed a lot over the past couple of years. When people try to give you advice and prepare you for parenthood they always talk about how little free time you’ll have, and this is very true! What they don’t tell you (or at least, no one told me) is that the time you DO have is valued very differently. When living in life’s salad days nothing matters because all you HAVE is time. All the time in the world! There’s so much time you don’t know what to do with it. All the kitchen drawers are full of time so you have to put some on top of the fridge. Not so as a parent! You get a couple of hours a day to yourself AT MAX, and even that’s on a good day.
(I’m not going to put a disclaimer in every time I talk about the struggles of parenthood, but I’ll do it just this once: I love being a dad. I love every exhausting minute of it even if I don’t realize it at the time. Thank you.)
So my wife and I have been using those couple of hours IF THAT to just relax and do things that don’t involve Daniel Tiger. We play a lot of video games together, or we watch YouTube, or sometimes we don’t do anything and just sit on our phones and enjoy not doing anything. You take what solace you can get when you have a two-year-old in your house.
What I haven’t really wanted to do lately is create anything. Before my daughter was born and I was making YouTube videos all the time, man, I was ALWAYS thinking about making videos. I was waking up early before my wife on Saturdays and enjoying quiet editing time with coffee. I spent four years pouring the majority of my free time into making YouTube videos and making myself An Internet Personality. It was fun, and I wouldn’t change it, but when my life underwent the single biggest change ever and I stopped doing all that stuff?
I felt relief.
In a weird way, my time was mine again. I didn’t have much of it, but my leisure time was for leisure again. I didn’t want to make things to share with people. I wanted to play games quietly by myself and not make videos about them. I even got so tired of having An Internet Personality I made my Twitter account private. It was nice. It was peaceful, and gave me some calm waters to sail in my life for a while.
But while I’ve always been a writer, my wife is an artist. She’s struggled the past few years with her creative side, and it’s been hard to watch her because that’s a big part of who she is that she’s been trying to hold onto. To spare a lot of the boring details we just didn’t have a good creative setup for her and it was hurting her work.
We were able to get her an iPad and an Apple Pencil recently and it’s literally been like a phoenix rising from the ashes. She loves drawing again. She’s able to do it anywhere and everywhere, at a moment’s notice, with the full suite of tools she’d have shackled to a desktop PC. She’s excited about her work. She’s created new Twitter and Instagram accounts to share her illustrations. It’s been fantastic to see.
I want to write again. I want to have that part of myself back. I like being Joe the Dad and Joe the Husband, but I want to reconnect with that part of me that’s just Joe, who likes to write and share things. I like writing. I’ve always wanted to be a writer. And now that I value my time so differently, I want to spend less time just… passing time.
I’ve always liked writing. People tell me I’m good at it. My mom used to take my school newspapers to work and share them with her co-workers, who all told her my writing was like having a conversation. That always meant a lot to me. I still kick myself for not pursuing my writing more, but hey, no time like the present, right?
A big part of my personality is I pride myself on being honest and earnest. And I don’t mean “honest” like “I call people mean names and say I’m honest,” but I just like to be… me, I guess. I’m sappy. I’m sensitive. I think and care about a lot of things.
These are the things I tried to get across in my YouTube channel, and it worked. I found people who appreciated that. When I posted my final video, my buddy Dave posted this tweet that meant the world to me and has stuck with me since then:
Thoughtful. Heartfelt. That’s what I want to put back into my writing. I’m going to write a lot about video games, of course, but there’s a lot more than that going on with me these days. I’m not going to like, write reviews or political editorials or anything. I’m just going to write as myself.
I’m back. I hope you’ll stick with me.