The other day, in conversation with some friends of mine, I had one of those horrific moments of self-awareness that just make me want to weep. We were fundamentally just rehashing the same topic we always talk about (relentless professional dismay), when I blurted out,
"It occurs to me that in the two months I was unemployed last year, I accomplished more towards achieving my personal goals than in the eight years prior or the ten months since."
That's a humdinger. An unfortunate thing to realize, the sort of comment that makes the next sip of diet cola even less sweet. Constantly losing the battle against a ticking clock takes a toll. Trying not to see life in terms of lost years, even lost decades, takes more and more effort. The Time Machine keeps churning regardless of how you use it.
I'm sure this is a mental quagmire that's not unique to me, and it's something that requires some tools at the ready to overcome. Having that one thought sent me spiraling down into a weekend of hoodie-wearing, sofa-occupying enforced loneliness that should never be repeated. I climbed my way out, though, simply by sifting through my Google drive. Taking a good, long look at all that I've written in the past year, all that I've edited and polished to a gleam, all the things that I truly believe will find a published shelf space somewhere. And, of course, looking through my booking calendar and realizing that comedy isn't dead for me quite yet; there's still hope in there.
Here's what's hard to validate for me: just because it hasn't already been published, or an agent hasn't picked it up, or bookers aren't pounding down my door doesn't mean the dreams are over, and doesn't mean I've failed in the pursuits. Success is a just a pattern of small wins laced together with overwhelming losses. That's how it works.
Stick with things, my friends. Believe in them. Keep doing.