Now I can see the potential of my life’s remaining span being counted in decades, rather than weeks, days or hours – as from the perspective of the deluded, suicidal mind-states I’ve got lost in from time to time – I’m increasingly aware of how quickly the first 44 years has glided by and just how swiftly the rest of my life will pass. (There’s a tendency for the taller males in my extended family to die in the 40s and 50s from heart disease, and I haven’t really taken very good care of my body, so I may well be in my twilight years!)
Writing is a tough business to crack in terms of making enough money to eke a living, let alone live a life of good comfort, with relative security and flexibility to withstand the odd personal or professional tremor.
I am sitting in my post-homeless flat, with my lovely pride of five cats, and I still don’t have carpet on the floor after three years. It is fair to say I’ve been crackers for a good portion of that time, but my writing output has been woeful – mostly consisting of various takes on my own sad story, deleted and dumped in the trash within days of publishing.
There are many better writers than me. That’s not to say they can write as good as me, because I’m good what I’m good at, but I guess I’m a niche/acquired taste thing and holding out blind hope that that will suddenly engage a lucrative readership is proper folly.
It’s time for me to stop introducing myself as a struggling writer and begin to focus on becoming a counsellor, in the real world, on phones and in rooms, and disconnecting myself somewhat from the virtual life I’ve lived since the turn of the century by reconnecting with the physical world.
I don’t feel defeated by breathing this out loud. I have no children, so have no need to leave a great legacy for them. My cats love me just the way I am and they’re as important to me as any human. Does the fact that they’re unlikely to release any great works of literature that will have them remembered in centuries hence devalue their preciousness in the here and now?
I’m yet to identify the path to becoming a counsellor, in terms of what I should study and how I can get qualified, but I have a clean criminal record and a good heart; as long as I put the work in and focus on educating myself, I reckon that’s well within the realm of real possibility – adding hypnotherapy, mindfulness and all the fancy stuff that helps people heal better, as I progress. I could really see myself doing that.
This does not, however, mean I’ll give up writing. That would be silly. I just mean I won’t pin my hopes in it somehow miraculously saving me from a lonely, miserable ‘retirement’ with amputated feet and nobody to push me to Bingo each Tuesday night.
It is a revelation of sorts: doubtless the hideous writer’s block I’ve experienced since 2012 is in no small way due to the pressure I was putting on myself to turn what was once a joy into a serious, you’re-our-only-hope thing of survival, because I truly thought it was my only possible redemption. I’m not very good at much else. I’ve washed pots and pans for most of my working life and I don’t have any qualifications to my name.
I’ll likely end up writing far more after making this decision, by liberating myself from that need to succeed, and I may well have writing as part of a multi-faceted skillset in my professional life, ahead. I could even become an overnight success when I hit my 60s? That would be splendid. But I’d rather hit my 60th birthday with 15 solid years training and experience as a counsellor and know there are one or two people I’ve been able to assist in some positive manner along the way.
I don’t need to change the world. There are plenty of people doing that already, and better than I could.
I really like the idea of working hard for a comfortable life of some stability. A little more space, perhaps, and to not have to worry about the bills. I don’t drink and all my drugs are legally prescribed. I abhor horse racing and don’t gamble. I wouldn’t need great riches to achieve great comfort.
I need to be thinking in terms of satisfaction over success. I would, of course, not sniff my nose at satisfaction bringing about success, but it’s a relative thing, now, compared to at earlier periods in my life. Success would be talking someone down from jumping or getting a carpet and having it fitted properly.
I feel good about this. It’s like a weight has lifted.
All the knotted wires I’ve developed in my brainbox over the years feel like they’re unravelling, so rather than seeing this as abandoning my greatest ambition, I’m seizing the moment and choosing something new and different, which we’re allowed to do, as human beings.
I was panicking because my $99 WordPress annual subscription fee is due within the next week or so and, without paying, I’ll revert to the free version, meaning I can no longer attach my domain name – i.e. no Lesism.com. I’ve actually had sleepless nights in part filled by this dread of ‘losing my digital identity’, but really, it doesn’t matter. I can’t afford it, so why stress about it?
Lesism started out as a play on words, because I was feeling so chill after my awakening, and I’d locked @LesFloyd on Twitter by rage-quitting back in the day when you couldn’t get your account back after you rage-quit.
I have no great influence on Twitter that requires I brand myself and protect my copyright.
I have done some good words, at times, but I’m mostly there for the larks, now, or to pass the time of day. If, in the past, I helped guide a few people towards positive change in their lives, then it was a period in life I can look on as a great success. I am a super man, but I am not a superman. There’s no requirement from the world that I save it, one soul at a time, with a subscription-based premiere option enabling access to video and audio content. Loads of people are doing that already. There are hippies everywhere, nowadays.
So, new territory, in a new era: Les the Aspiring Counsellor rises from the confused rubble of Les the Writer. It wasn’t much fun being a struggling writer, to tell the truth. It’s such a damn cliché, like how the handle of a rake really does whip up in slow motion and twang you between the eyes, just like on the cartoons.
Lesism is dead.