For the past five days, I’ve been at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, at this little writing retreat thing my alma mater does every year in New Smyrna Beach. Five days is a long time to be away from your routine, to have a lot of experiences and insights, boiled down into one list:
- when you’re free from thinking about getting to work on time or what to wear or make for dinner, you can have a lot of strange thoughts enter your mind. Sometimes not always pleasant thoughts, but that’s OK, maybe it’s OK to think about why they’re not pleasant and why you’re bothered by them, but knowing overall that you’re more than that; we’re more than what’s in our head.
- I went jogging the first day and looked around at the sky and trees and was upset that I wasn’t as inspired and curious in my day-to-day life. Why not? Why not let life be more wonder and creativity and less stress and movement?
- Turning 30 next year is all right. A lot of cool people are 30. It’ll be a new decade full of new experiences, and it’ll be even better than my 20s, because I’m more sure in myself now and less afraid of things. I even went to the bar by myself one of the nights, and read a book and listened to the live music, and it was perfectly nice. Even two years ago I wouldn’t have done that.
- (Plus, maybe you were a little afraid of 30 because most everyone you hang out with is on average 5 years younger than you, maybe you need your age group more, your particular brand of problems. Maybe you’re done working a job where you punch in on a clock. Maybe you should be thinking of the career you want to be in before the next decade starts. It’s time.)
- And I sort of missed Orlando, too. Missed my apartment and going grocery shopping and playing cards with my friends and talking at the coffee shop. Enjoy that more.
- While I do still want my MFA in nonfiction, I realized it’s not time yet. I need more experience first, more work in the genre and writing samples. Don’t collect degrees just to have them. Put your whole heart into your next project. You’ll know when it’s time.
- Plus, I still love fiction (I mean, I wrote 10,000 words in five days). It’s still in me, even when I think it’s not. I can write critical analysis and book reviews and personal essay and STILL write fiction. I still do love creating stories. I just need to carve out more time for it, create a space for it in my life.
- I listened to a lot of NWA and Childish Gambino and Jay Z and I loved every second of it. I read a lot of articles and books and went bike riding and watched youtube videos and took photos. Do all these things, they’re great, they’re your becoming. Be fascinated by it all.