Living vs Existing
Photo by  Lien Nguyen

Photo by Lien Nguyen

When you start off as an artist or creative, you ebb and flow through your work. For a large part of 2017, I flowed. But all of that came to a conscious halt towards the end of the year when issues surrounding insecurity and comparison surfaced. I made the decision to take a break from forcing daily creation in order to prioritise my mental health.

For a while, I self-sabotaged my life to feed my art. And while it did allow me to create work that helped me grow as a writer, a part of me started to depend on it. “Do it for the story” was a motto I lived by.

Now, as a writer, I think this saying is important in allowing oneself to experience life in a rich and exciting way. And when you really take it on, you do find yourself in some interesting situations. But there were definitely times where I may have taken it too far.

Don’t get me wrong, those moments are some of the most fun and crazy memories I have! And I have no regrets. I don’t think it’s smart for anyone to live their days with regret. But after a concentrated time of “Fuck its,” there came a point where it all needed to settle. And when I say it all needed to settle, that included writing.

I went on a writing break for a couple months. I should probably clarify that I didn’t completely stop writing, I just stopped forcing myself to create a piece of writing every day, which is what I was doing for the majority of last year. Sometimes, I may have put more pressure on myself than was necessary. I have that natural tendency to be hard on myself.

While this break was necessary, it did take a large part away from me and it changed my life significantly. Every day was practically the same: wake up, go to my job, come home, go to sleep and repeat.

As I prolonged this break, the thought of creating became less attractive to me. It made me lose motivation in ever wanting to write again.

But this was never the life I wanted; this was never the person I aspired to be. Sometimes, a part of me wished I could feel a sense of fulfillment in going to a normal job that gave me enough money and time to come home, forget about work, and just chill.

I tried. I really tried to enjoy that life. I mean, I did in the beginning. It was nice to not have to constantly think about what I could or should be working on in my free time. It was nice to have free time and do nothing with it; to not put pressure on myself to do some sort of work.

But as this break continued, it only made me feel more empty. Because no matter how much I meditate, or read the books or do my morning routine - if I’m not living every day with purpose and meaning - and going to sleep knowing that I’ve done something for myself, something that feeds my soul - then all I’m doing is existing.

And what’s the point of life if you’re not living it for yourself? What's the point of life if you're only existing?

Winging it.