Fresh starts come in many forms — I’m still searching for mine.
I’ve been searching for a fresh start ever since leaving a full-time sportswriting job in 2015.
I entered an MFA program, wrote a book, and graduated.
I applied to hundreds of jobs, mostly remote.
I started and quit too many freelance writing and editing positions to count.
I moved from Irvine to Newport Beach to Marina del Rey to Studio City (and previously lived in Colorado for 23 years).
I practiced reflection and refreshing the mind on endless vacations and cruises, and visited a handful of countries along the way.
When I’m really burned out, I take off an entire weekend of work.
Oh, and I created a lifetime’s worth of schedules and scenarios to try to make my writing situation more manageable.
I’m constantly trying to escape content writing for a creative writing career. That’s my main goal in life right now. It’s not finding love, buying a house, or having kids.
During my journey of looking for a fresh start, I created paths by tearing down walls and reducing clutter in the form of deleting messages, emails, phone calls, social media networks, and mindsets. And then let them pile up again. Rinse. Repeat.
I just got back from my brother’s wedding, a trip to Hawaii. I saw my family, met new people, and welcomed new family members into my life. I even got to be in the same place as my mom, dad, and brother at the same time, which is something I don’t take for granted. My parents are divorced and we live in different states (my mom and brother live in the same state).
I should be happy. I should feel refreshed. I should be ready to get back to work, after spending an entire week not working and counting my blessings and privileges, such as watching my brother get married to the girl of his dreams in Hawaii.
But I’m more miserable than ever. I’ve only written three articles for work this week when I should be writing five-plus per day to meet my expectations and pay bills.
This trip to Hawaii was supposed to be my fresh start. After all, it’s the longest I’ve taken off from writing/work, whether it be creative or freelance, since college. While I’ve mentioned the vacations, I always write during them, but such is 2019’s working world.
I should be happy with my life and the opportunities that lie ahead, from a possible successful pitch to a full-time job to becoming a better writer, but I’m not. I’m depressed. I know now isn’t the time to feel sorry for myself or stagnate. I need to work and write a lot. Bills are coming and the money tree no longer has leaves — the only person who can help me now is myself.
There are so many distractions, though, from the dearest people in my life having health issues to another death in the family to a world of money problems as a result of being on this planet for 28 years and broke for every single one of them.
I wish I could push the reset button, but, then again, I have. Many times. The problem isn’t a fresh start … it’s me. I’ve always been the problem. I’m looking for someone or something to save me. I have to save myself. I finally realize that.
I also realize, although I’ve known all along, that the only fresh start I need is to start and continue. To not only put in the work but finish what I start. To — let’s tie up this cliché — see things through. I’ve always known this and vaguely lived by it.
I want one big play (a viral essay or book deal) to save me. But even if that happens, the reward and relief will be temporary. I don’t need a big play, although it would help. I need a good season, a winning season. A better life.
Deep down, I think I’m looking for rock bottom. I’m waiting for struggles with money and alcohol to wreck me. I’m the type of person who needs to see a drastic outcome to incorporate a drastic solution. If the ship doesn’t sink, I’ll continue to sail.
Maybe I don’t need a new beginning.
Maybe I don’t need a rip-roaring scene from the top of a mountain.
Maybe I don’t need to move, go on a vacation and escape the mundane, or make a career change.
Fresh starts come in many forms, and I’m still looking for mine. Not every article or story has a happy ending, but I can only hope mine eventually will.