At ‘One Page Salon’

16 Nov

 

This is a piece I read in front of an audience at last week’s “One Page Salon” at the North Door in Austin. Thanks so much to Owen Egerton for the invite.

 

It’s going to be all right.

I can tell from your face that you’re not so sure if that’s true, so this is supposed to be reassuring. It’s all right. You’re going to be OK.

Unless something happens. Or things don’t work out. That’s definitely possible. Things go wrong for people all the time. They make a wrong turn, some barely-there decision, and suddenly they’re neck deep in manure. Not real manure, figurative manure. Do you know much manure you’re need for it to be up to your neck in literal manure? Even if you’re short? That sounds expensive. And trust me, you don’t have money to be spending on that right now.

Hey, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean you can’t afford shit. I just meant you probably shouldn’t be spending money right now on THAT MUCH SHIT.

We’re getting way off track here.

So. Things seem a little weird. I get that. Maybe recapping will help.

You got divorced. Pretty quickly. After being married a really long time. That has to be jarring. The not-being married part. And you bought a house. Buying a house is a huge, ridonk headache, but you did it and now you live in that house and it even has pretty plants and a beautiful patio. Well done.

But then you stopped co-hosting a podcast you loved, one you’d been doing for five years and that stung a little. And, related: you stopped doing the podcast because you took a buyout and left a job you’d been at for 21 years. 21 years! That’s half your life! Wow! And now you’re freelancing, which is a very nice way of saying you’re an unemployed writer. Self-employed. Self-employed sounds better than unemployed or underemployed.

That’s lot of stuff that happened. And see, I think the problem — not that there’s a problem, things will be fine! — is that most people deal with stuff like that over a period of a few years, but you went and did all that in like three months. Some people have a mid-life crisis, you had … like… a midlife Cuban Missile Crisis.

But it’s going to be OK. Unless it’s not, but let’s not think about that.

You’re worried about money, but that’s never been your problem. You hustle, you work hard, you’ll make do. You’re worried that you don’t know what to do next. But remember all those days you sat in an office wishing you weren’t sitting there and feeling like you were wasting your time? At least you can waste your time on your own couch now. That’s an improvement, right?

You’re worried that you have stopped doing the thing that defined you, that everybody knew you for, the thing that gave you worth.

But what if it’s going to be all right?

And it’s just time for some new definitions?