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...over-educated and under-experienced, or so they say...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Aint Nothing Wrong With The Sell Out

Maybe I should just sell out completely, even though some think I already have.

I sold out to "corporate America."

Do you remember those guys? The ones all dressed in black, somewhere between the ages of 19 and 25, that were convinced you gave up your dreams if you got a "real job" and actually paid your bills. Do you remember them? I do and I often wonder where they are now. Are they like me? (probably, considering I was one of them) Sell outs... sitting in a cubicle somewhere wondering why they have no desire to create, the way they did back in the day when they were all dressed in black playing the role of the anti-social because that was cool and that was "art." Something tells me they're sitting in a cubicle similar to mine, writing advertisements for honeymoon adventures and drinking themselves to death because they hate every minute of it. Life mocks them the same way it does me and I have to admit, I'm laughing about it (at least right now I am).

I read a blurb today about a guy that retired, after 30 years at my company, and in the past two years of his retirement he started writing books. He's actually published now, with another novel on the way. Sure, he may not be making a mint through it, but dude is finally doing what he probably always wanted to do. He's writing.

And sure, he's writing stories about how his main character and his wife are solving mysteries about fraudulent mortgage brokers while they simultaneously explore the wonders of America in their RV, but still... at least the dude is writing. I would love to mock him. I would love to make fun of it -- this couple in their 60s single handedly bringing an end to America's financial demise in their RV. I would love to say something like, "...an RV is a very discreet, stealthy mode of transportation for tracking down evil. Batman had one," but I can't. Why? Why can't I make fun of that guy? Because, to be absolutely honest, I admire the man. He spent a lifetime "selling out" so he could pay his bills and then retired to his laptop to write whatever the hell he felt like writing because it makes him happy.

The Golden Years are upon the man, and I can only hope, at this point, if I'm unfortunate enough to not break through the mundane, that the golden years will be so kind to me when I finally pay for my child to get through college and still have enough money to retire and live the remainder of my days writing whatever the hell I feel like just because I can. Granted, given my cynical nature and sarcastic bite toward life, I doubt I'll write about my RV travels and dream about taking down the evil mortgage brokers that left so many people homeless in the early two thousands, but still... I'll write something.

I imagine, perhaps incorrectly but I still do, that this man wanted to write his whole life. I imagine that this man had to do what he had to do to survive. I imagine that this man took care of his family, the people that meant the most to him. I imagine that this man had moments where the cubicle felt like death. I imagine that he sat up nights thinking that this was a waste, that he was going to lie on his death bed and say, "...but I never did what I really wanted, I never did what I felt drawn to do." And I imagine, when I look at the smile on his face in the photograph included in the article that he now sits with a sense of satisfaction saying, "I'm exactly where I dreamed I would be. Took a while... but I'm here." And to me... that's no sell out. That's a man that had to do what he had to do to survive, to take care of what matters, his family, and when opportunity knocked, he answered. Lord... I can only pray that I have the same endurance as this man. I can only say to myself, "If he can do it, so can I."

Sure... is it art by the young man in black's standard? Probably not. But to me, at this point in my life, art is about feeding my soul and if it happens to feed yours too then I got lucky. Art is all that is beautiful in an ugly world. Art is all about thinking outside the proverbial box, and as far as this man is concerned, writing a mystery novel about a retired couple in an RV with a pertinent political slant to it is most definitely outside the box. More power to the man, and more power to me and people like me. It was a message that I guess I needed to hear today. Do what you must, but never forget your dreams, even if you're sixty something and ready to retire.

The spirit that made you wear nothing but black in your younger years never really dies, it just alters into a bit more color and you actually have money in your pocket. ...nothing wrong with that.

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