In replying, I wrote:
I’ve found that I’m happiest when I do things I can do most days: going for walks and hikes, juggling, enjoying a drink with my wife or friends. In fact, the happiest I am is when we have friends over for dinners. I’m happier on those evenings than I am when I see an article I wrote in print, or finish a big piece of writing.
I’m more satisfied when I see an article in a newspaper or magazine, but I’m happier when I’m with people I care about, or doing certain things I enjoy.
I also wrote:
At 21…I thought happiness would come only through writing.
I started writing seriously when I was 20. I told myself that I would be a successful writer by the time I reached 40.
I turned 40 last year, and in the months before turning 40, I felt down because I hadn’t reached the goal I set for myself when I was 20.
I’m okay where I am as a writer, now, though. While I’m not where I thought I’d be based on the perceived writing success I thought I’d have by now, I’m a better writer at 40 than I thought I would be. I’m just as focused and serious about writing as ever, and I’m happy writing no matter what happens. In my reply on Jane’s blog, I wrote:
I was so concerned thinking that having things published was the only way to be happy as a writer. Now that I appreciate the act of writing more than ever, it doesn’t matter what happens, just as long as I write.
I’m just as idealistic as I’ve always been, but I appreciate my time away from writing as much as I appreciate my time writing. When I was younger, I based too much of my happiness on writing.
“…many of my idealistic dreams of youth never happened. I’m still idealistic, but I no longer look at the list of what I thought would make me happy as the only path to happiness.
Anytime I’m feeling down, all I have to do is go for a long walk or invite some friends over for dinner.
Focusing on being happy right now makes it easier than ever to still shoot for those idealistic goals.”
Since being laid off, I’ve been very happy. My days are spent writing, spending time with people I care about, and doing things I enjoy. The one short time I supported myself writing, my time was spent writing, juggling, and being with family and friends.
I loved it!
Lately, I’ve been focused on writing more than ever. Not because it’s important for me to be regularly published and able to say, “I’m a full time writer,” but because I like the life that making it on my own brings.
So what about you? What makes you happy? When you focus on what makes you happy, do you find you write better?