Person, Places, or Things?

My friend wanted to be a famous artist. But she said, “I can do it in Paris. I feel that will inspire me.”

She had unopened paintbrushes in her apartment. Waiting to be packed. 

Twenty years later, she’s a computer programmer at an accounting firm in California.

Another friend of mine is divorced and thinks she will never meet another guy again. She wants to meet a guy.

She is 50 and incredibly healthy and good-looking. Every time I see her she insists, “I will never meet anyone! I’m too old.”

She is very convincing.

One friend of mine thinks $30 million is his “number.”

“How did you get that number?” I asked.

“I just know. And I’ll get there. Soon.”

He works 80 hours a week. He barely sees his wife and kids.

He’s 56 years old. “When I’m at that number, I’m going to work on my golf.”

I don’t know how to properly live my life. Sometimes I do it OK and sometimes I mess up.

For 15 years of my life (and sometimes now), I was focused on having a person, a place or things. “Then I will be happy!”

Those were the worst 15 years of my life.

One time I gave up. “I give up!”

I was day trading. I had a bad day. Lost money. Also, I got rejected by two publishers that day for my next book.

And nobody was returning my calls about a business idea I had.

Screw this, I thought.

I took a walk. I kept walking. I wouldn’t stop. I was outside of New York because lack of job exiled me 70 miles north.

I stopped by this place I had never been before by the Hudson River. It was like a mini-beach.

I waded into the river. I didn’t care anymore. I was sick of myself.

People were looking at me because I had all my clothes on. The river was warm. I remember a boat just sitting there. People in it.

The sun was a fiery dagger plunging into the mountains across the river. I watched it kill the mountain.

It was hot so when I walked home my clothes dried.

I started writing. Instead of writing about stocks, I wrote about times I had failed.

It felt good. It tickled my heart. I wrote more.

I wrote a story about a woman I once liked. I wrote about losing my home and how I cried.

I wrote about the time Yasser Arafat invested in my company (he lost his investment). I laughed at what I wrote.

I wrote every day, 1,000 words a day. Sometimes 2,000 words.

I took more walks. I often returned to that spot by the river but I never felt like swimming it again. It seemed too muddy to me.

Now I live in the city. I’m busier. I don’t have as much time to write.

When I went into the water that one time with my clothes on, I tried to float. But I couldn’t.

So I went underwater. When I rose up, the sky erased me. The last bright orange lying over the mountains was burning into my brain.

I walked home. Bad day in the market. Nobody in my life. No number in the bank. Exiled from opportunity in the city. Slightly wet. I collapsed asleep with my clothes on.



[I wish I could live more like the quote in the image. It finds me, then escapes me, then finds me.]

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