This week has been a bit exhausting for me thanks to:
- New puppy
- Board issues
- Editing and coaching
- I didn’t make enough money this week.
Mostly it’s the new puppy. And it’s a good kind of exhausted, but gosh. I mean, I am tired.
But it made me think of about how surviving isn’t the same as thriving. And as exhausting as our adorable, poky, little puppy is? She makes life worth living even when I don’t hit my weekly financial goals.
Why is that?
In my culture, people are all about advancement, making more money, getting more famous, having more “reach,” having more followers. As a writer, that was never my goal.
My goal was always to create.
My goal is still to create, but in trying to survive and feed and house my family, I’ve lost a little bit of that sometimes. And I have to remind myself about it again and again.
I grew up pretty poor in a really rich community (though my much older siblings didn’t) and I think that there’s this sort of drive when you grow up that way that once you start making money? It makes you become worried about it, fixated on it, and you almost believe that making an income? It makes you good enough. Finally worthy of love, maybe. Finally just worthy.
And that’s silly. I don’t judge other people’s worth on how much money they make. Why should I do that to myself?
Life isn’t about recognition.
Success shouldn’t be about trying to emulate someone else. It shouldn’t be about the cars or clothes or followers we acquire.
It’s about creating. And creating art or books or textiles or music or community? That’s a spiritual act.
We are what we create.
And that includes ourselves.
And that includes how and who and what we love.
And that includes how and who and what we do.
But it’s not about how much money we make a week.
As you pursue your path to publication or your MBA or your 100,000 Instagram followers, don’t forget that other part. The part that’s you.
Community is not about obligation or institutions. It’s about support. It’s about lifting each other up as we evolve and create and become. Sure, I didn’t hit my financial goal this week, but you know what?
I’m still here. Creating. Loving. Snuggling with a puppy. Helping other authors.
I’m not going to sacrifice my empathy, my creativity, my charity because I’m too afraid of being bankrupt or ridiculed, because some random troll on Twitter might say something rude.
And I hope you won’t either.
Remember, the moments you spend snuggling, the moments you spend helping, the moments you spend singing and laughing and just being, holding the heart or hand of someone else? Those moments are more powerful than your paycheck because those are the moments of your heart.
Here’s the painting I went back to working on this week. I will make no money from it, get no recognition from it, nothing like that.
And you know what? That’s okay.
Let me know how you’ve been brave, too, okay?
This post and some extra more personal content (and helpful hints) are over at my Substack. I hope you’ll go over there and subscribe. This week I’ll be talking about humor and how to be funnier.