What now? What next?

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What do most people do to pass the time of day? I don’t have the faintest idea, and I’ve already been alive for sixty-eight years. I never have the faintest idea what I should be doing with myself. Maybe that’s why I became a writer.

Writers don’t often know what they’re going to write when they sit down to do so. Inspiration arrives or it doesn’t. The words fly onto the screen or page or they don’t. Sometimes the output is a pleasant surprise; sometimes it’s a crashing bore. But it’s something. It’s an activity that forestalls me asking myself “now what?”

I’m well aware there are people with no active inner life. They tend to watch a lot of television. If you’re studying something, like a musical instrument, you can devote hours to practice. Because I’m retired, I do more than my share of practicing the piano.There are rewards in that direction, though they may never be financial. But at least I’m not watching television.

Most people spend a lot of time at work, but that doesn’t mean they’re accomplishing anything. It just means that they’ve committed to a course of action, usually at a specific place, because somebody else told them that would be a good idea and would reward them for it. A lot of time neither result is as promised. But they keep showing up anyway, because the alternative would take more effort.

Creativity is sometimes rewarded, because of its scarcity. Since not many people risk going in that direction, there’s a relative lack of it. Unlike simply showing up at a job, it’s usually not paid for up front. In fact, most creative output is never seen by any more than the creator himself. Marketing is a completely different discipline and art from artistic or cognitive creativity.

It sometimes seems that I’m either in pain. vaguely irritated, or numb, but rarely delighted by my circumstances. In that respect, I’m probably normal. From what I read on social media, most people feel this way. And this is the thing that I can change.

I can decide to be delighted by the simple fact that I’m alive. I can choose bliss over boredom. Sure, it takes effort, but what doesn’t? Gratitude is an action more than a state of being.

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