Writer, Director, Dog Kisser, Vagabonder. www.thedudeguy.com www.imdb.me/mattjackson
Work Work Work Work Work.
Did you watch that show “Dirty Jobs?” Early on in the reality TV game, Mike Rowe hosted a showcase of just that- dirty jobs. I watched it occasionally, but not with interest in the work itself. What fascinated me was that Rowe created his OWN job while telling us about OTHER people’s jobs. I think it was my first introduction into the idea that a person could have a really cool job that he made for himself.
But for years I didn’t believe that that person could be me.
Mike Rowe also said something interesting- that Americans have a dysfunctional relationship with work. And I agree. I know I did for most of my adult life, and I still deal with the corruptive tendencies. I would fill up my day with nonsense like emails and busy work to make myself feel productive so that I could avoid the bigger task at hand.
Commonly called “procrastination” in much of the English speaking world, I would avoid doing what I LOVED to do in favor of doing things that would give me the option of responding with “Busy!” to any texts asking, “How are you?”
When I found myself actually making a little money being a writer, well then I was really in a pickle ’cause I had to be productive, creative, and make money all at the same time. Suddenly, it became a chore instead of a passion and I procrastinated the h-e-doublehockeysticks out of it all ’til the deadline was upon me. Then I’d bang out everything in a hurry similar to what Calvin and Hobbes referred to as “last minute panic,” much like doing high school homework.
Years ago I thought making a to-do list before bed so as to not stress about what had to happen the next day would be a good idea. And it was. I still do it, but in a much more refined way. Those early lists quickly became 10, 12, 15 items long. I would get one or two things done but then end up carrying over a half to two-thirds of the list into the next day. This would go on for about three days at which point I would give up and start from scratch. Stress and work and worry about my lack of productivity led me to stop doing EVERYTHING and throw on old episodes of New Girl to “relax.” Don’t judge me. That show got good after season one.
Some of that has carried over into my current life, but sobriety brought into view something very interesting- focus. I slowed down. I paid attention to my heart and my core desires. A friend asked me this week what my “one thing” is. I told her it’s what I’m doing: directing, writing, and acting (in that order.) I quit the day job that had existed as an excuse for my lack of career focus and dialed in. My lists are no longer than eight items long. Eight is an important number to me and I’ll explain that one of these days. But in those eight items there are three MAIN items, and ONE big one that I want to finish more than all the others. I’ll talk about lists tomorrow. Yes, I’m sure you’re all on the edges of your seats…
All that to say that I’m inventing my own job. As it stands, it’s not a job that no one in the world has ever done before, but it’s unique in the sense that I’m constructing the ability to produce my own projects on my own terms in a way that’s not common. I freelance write for a number of publications as my “side gig,” and it’s a joy at this point to interview and write about people and subjects that I know little about but know a lot about when it’s all over. My “side gig” is 100% in line with my “one thing,” and this is the first time I’ve made that happen. Full disclosure: I’ll make as much this month as a writer as I would have in my time-consuming day job. That’s a darned good feeling coming from a person who, just months ago, thought he was doomed to being a balding, 40-something bartender with a dream in his pocket and a glimmer of faded hope in his eye.
Eventually the old adage that “the best job you can get is the one you make for yourself” started to sink in. Bobby P took it one step further when I heard him talk about the concept of “creating abundance doing what you love.” That became a mantra in my early days of sobriety, and the abundance I’m beginning to find is multifaceted and diverse. The more I do what I love, the more I find LOVE all around me in a multitude of ways. It’s a fascinating thing.
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