It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m sitting here at my desk trying to motivate myself to work on a story that just doesn’t want to come together. It’s a holiday story so if I want to publish it this year I need to stick with it.

But it’s also a gorgeous fall day. Almost warm enough to be summer, but the leaves have turned and there are some brilliant red-leafed trees just outside. If I got sit out there with a book I’ll be able to see them in the distance as pup sits quietly nearby, her face to the breeze. It’ll probably be one of the last chances I have to sit outside like that for the next few months.

It’s easy to think that the story should be the priority. It’s what has the potential to make me money, after all. And sitting outside enjoying the day seems self-indulgent when there are bills to pay and only so many hours to each day.

But the thing is…

What’s the point of working all the time? What does that get you? Financial security? Maybe. As long as the markets don’t crash and tax law remains stable or continues to favor those with assets. Status? Fine, okay, but what is status, really. Who cares if other people think you’re important if your life is a misery? Or not even a misery–that’s easy to recognize and walk away from–but bland. Like unflavored gelatin. What’s the point to acquire more and more and more if it doesn’t increase the quality of your life?

I mean, there has to be a balance. You can’t just spend your life having amazing experiences and savoring the moment with no regard to how to pay for that. (Not unless you have a really good trust fund.) But it seems to me that far too often we achieve what we need but then we keep on going, sacrificing it all to get what other people tell us we should want. Or to prove to others that we’re good enough or worthy enough, whatever that means.

I think what we should really do at that point is step back and enjoy life a little bit more.

(Then again, because I did take that step back and walked away from the more-money path, I’ll probably be living off Go Fund Me campaigns a few years from now, so don’t listen to me. The way our world is these days it’s very zero sum. You either have too much or too little. You can’t stop easily at the midpoint or you risk slipping backwards.)

Anyway. Those are my thoughts on a gorgeous fall afternoon. If you’d like to help head off my descent into poverty and you’re a writerly type, I am part of this year’s NaNoWriMo StoryBundle. You should check it out. It’s a pretty good selection of books if I do say so myself.

About M. H. Lee

M.H. Lee is a speculative fiction writer currently residing in Colorado whose stories are sometimes dark, sometimes funny, sometimes darkly funny, but hopefully always thought-provoking and entertaining.
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