There are some moments that are hard to describe, or even pin down, but they seem to define your life in that particular moment. One of those moments of clarity happened Saturday. I found myself sitting at a table in a coffee shop with a group of other creatives, discussing a project, and I realized that this was one of the moments I had dreamed about more than twenty years ago, when I first started chasing contrails.
May of this year marked 2 years that I’ve been writing for a living. This year, I’ve been fortunate enough to be a guest at almost every sci-fi con or show I’ve attended, a marked difference from previous years. While I’m still not doing DragonCon as a guest yet, I am hopeful that will come one day soon.
But no matter where I am on this journey, there are moments when I find myself looking around myself in wide eyed wonder at what I’m doing, as if I’m just realizing what’s happening. These moments of self-awareness are valuable to me, because they keep me grounded and, most importantly, they are reminders of just how lucky I am. Plus, they allow me, two years into writing full time, to enjoy this journey almost as much as I did the first day I walked out of my old day job and started this journey.
Saturday morning, I sat down with the folks to talk about doing the audio books of The Demon’s Apprentice for me. And while we were discussing the nuts and bolts of the project, I looked around me and realized how cool this moment actually was. I was making plans for an audio book, using words like revenue stream correctly, and making a living as a writer. Holy crap! I’m living my dreams!
It’s one thing to look back on a moment with nostalgia years later and realize how good things were. But it’s quite another to realize as things are happening that this particular slice of time is going to be one of those memories. It adds a sense of immediacy to what’s going on, and I find myself noting things that I might otherwise have missed. The sounds going on in the background, the view out the back windows, the children running by laughing gleefully. How very blue the sky was in that moment. All of these things are going to stand out in my memory, as well as the people I was talking to.
More importantly, I find myself grateful for the smallest things. As I looked around the room, I noticed younger folks with their laptops and sketch books. One girl was working in pencil, with her laptop open to a tutorial. Seeing them was incredibly inspiring, especially since they had tools I didn’t have access to in 1993. It made me want to tell each and every one of them, “Go all in! Never give up!” Because persistence pays off. Passion pays off, if you’re persistent. And integrity will keep you in the game when nothing else seems to be going your way.
But when the wheels finally turn, and the dice come up sevens for you, don’t forget to be aware of each moment. There is a line about happiness in Fallout 4, spoken by Kellogg, one of the first antagonists you face. “The thing about happiness is, you never know you’ve got it until it’s gone.” But that doesn’t have to be the case. Because if you teach yourself to be aware of your circumstances, to be grateful for the good things going on, you’ll know when you’re happy. You’ll know when you’re living through times that you’ll look back on and remember as “the good old days.” And you can enjoy them all the more for that awareness.