Back in the Midwest, a friend had asked me, "Why do you read these books on personal development?" Except his phrasing was a lot more derisive than that. I shrugged, annoyed.
Now that it's been a couple of years (and I've married catvalente
, moved to Maine, toured with a writer and a musician across the US, been laid off, had a crisis of faith, and studied a hell of a lot), I can put it into words:Because I want too much.
I look at the game of life, at all the areas, monsters, minibosses and loot found on planet Earth, and then glance down at my own character sheet
, and I know that that
aint gonna cut it.
I don't hate myself. I'm not unhappy. I'm just greedy for these things and experiences.
For the kinds of subgames I want to play, the vehicle of my life (my skills, habits and circumstances) is currently something between a plastic Fisher-Price tricycle and (on best days) a Trabant
. I need it to be at least a Honda Civic.
Here's what I really want in my life:
* To create a web-based MUD (think Kingdom of Loathing
), and a geolocation-based mud (like Foursquare, but with monsters).
* At least three other standalone blog projects.
* To code at least three portals/web-based software packages (including an open-source software to run genre/media Conventions (like Readercon)).
* To teach a programming class to kids
* To publish a book (of translations. of Russian fairy tales)
* To sail on at least 7 more major rivers (Hudson, Mississippi, Allegheny, Ohio, Danube, Volga and the Erie Canal), four more Great Lakes (Superior, Michigan, Huron, and Lake Champlain). And sail the Great Loop around the eastern US.
* To visit several more continents, a couple dozen more countries (I won't go into the full list) and several islands. But not as a tourist. I want to come live there, some weeks or months at a time, as a living thing. To live there, and work remotely, and let the places get into my blood.
* To DM a long-running RPG campaign. And to play in one, probably a traditional D&D campaign, the whole works, from level 1 through 20+.
* To draw a whole bunch more maps
, learn several key skills (how to draw properly, to scuba dive, dance Argentinian tango, and play African drums, more yoga classes, and some Tai Chi), and read a couple hundred more books.
* To own a house on Peaks Island, and a catamaran (like a 34 foot Gemini catamaran). Now, these two things are 'nice to have' -- if I get to everything else on the list but no house or catamaran, I'll still be thrilled.
And see, for those things to happen, here's what I think I need:
* To learn to focus more clearly, and have more energy during teh day. (That's why I started running in the morning, and lifting weights).
* To make blog posts about 2-3 times a week (right now, I'm lucky to do 1 a month)
* To read a whole lot more print books and magazines, at least an hour a day (I'm ok on audiobooks, at the moment, but not there in terms of print books)
* Get to a point where I'm producing at least 10-15 pomodoros
(chunks of focused work) a day. (I'm not even gonna say what the number is, right now).
* Find or create a job that will let me work remotely (from a boat or another country) for weeks at a time.
(Of course, being married to a skilled, imaginative and wicked-hardworking writer, whom I adore, also doesn't hurt, in terms of accomplishing one's dreams).
So, I have a pretty good idea of what I want and how to get it (both parts took a whole lot more months and years to figure out than I expected it to). Now we'll see how it plays out. (At least now I have answer to that initial condescending question of many years ago).