Part 2 here of our little crash course on D4D 1.0. It follows Part 1. D4D 2.0 is when I spring into action this winter. I’ll stick around afterwards to sign autographs.

images7. Presbyterian guilt?: I used to feel guilty if I spent significant time doing something I didn’t consider either directly or indirectly income producing. That’s why I gave up writing–I couldn’t justify it on the bottom line. And I still can’t, but I’ve learned to get over the guilt and enjoy the pleasure. Everybody has a creative side. If you don’t know yours you should find it, nurture it, and let it reward you.

8. Just Say Yes to Drugs: In the last two years I’ve been on a daily, albeit mild, dose of the ant-depressant Effexor and Ritalin, the latter because I’ve been told I have an attention deficit issue. Hard to say for sure, of course, but something is working. Either the life coach, or the plan to be credit-card free next year, or the new apartment, or the medication. But I can assure you my body chemistry is more stable than it’s been in years. And if the medication is to thank, or even just partially to thank, then I’m going to keep taking it.

9. It’s NOT the economy, stupid: Yeah, this economy is still crappy. But only in comparison to how great it used to be. At the end of 2013, the U.S. economy is pretty good for your run-of-the-mill country, which is pretty much what we are. We have power because of a military, and little else. Until America figures out how to educate its people, who can then make things the rest of the world demands, then we’re nothing more than an economically weak super power. Seems like an oxymoron. But my point is, we can’t keep blaming everything on the economy. If this is as good as it’s ever going to get, how will you fit in?

10. Throw caution to the wind. I finally get this: taking risks and being vulnerable are the stuff that makes a brilliant life. My instinct is usually safety over risk. But there’s no growth in playing it safe. There’s no exhilaration. Only contentment. I want a brilliant life. Therefore, risks will be taken.

11. Danger is real. Fear isn’t. There are things to be scared of, and many things not to be scared of. Someone, please, grant me the wisdom to know the difference. Without having to sacrifice alcohol.

12. Is there an easy way out? I’m sorry, I’m too old to do things the hard way anymore. The first question I ask myself these days is, “How can I make this task easier on me?” And after 50 years, I know plenty of corners to cut. And plenty of alternative routes. I think you’re allowed that, after half a century.

13. You can’t go home. I’m selling my house in my hometown, which means I’m not moving back home anytime soon. I kept it as a safety net if, in case things didn’t pan out in Tinseltown, then I’d always have a place to retreat. Well, after four years in Los Angeles, I can confidently report that I’m somewhere between isolation and stardom. But I have no intentions of leaving. And if I did, moving home would feel like checking out. The opposite of starting over, more like stopping forever. Because leaving home was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Going home would seem like going in reverse. I love my hometown and my family and my friends who I miss all the time. But I left there to create a new and different life, and I feel I accomplished that in leaps and bounds. L.A. can be brutal in a garden variety of ways. But it’s also challenging in what I believe are very beneficial ways. And if and when that wears me down, I’ll move on to other pastures. Just not home.

14. Love, take it or leave it. It’s amazing the time and mental space that open up when you’re single. And when you’re not actively dating. I’ve had no romantic commitment for three months now and, while I miss the person, I don’t miss the countless hours mulling over the challenges of being with him. And my instinct is not to rush out and get into something new. I’m enjoying single living for the first time in a dozen years. If someone comes along and it flows into something meaningful, then that would be wonderful. But I’m not going to lose sleep if it doesn’t happen. The only thing I know for a fact is, for the rest of my life, I’ll either be with someone or single. I’m fine with either.

So there you have it. The first six months of D4D in a capsulated version. Pretty exciting stuff, right? If they don’t name a building after me at my alma mater, then there just is no god!

(To be continued …)

  1. morgan says:

    #12 should be bold and in essence I think you are reiterating/validating that phrase, “work smarter, not harder.”

    #13: right on, because there’s no way I’m going “back to Akron.”

    #14: Sign me up! After two… I tell you, two marriages, I totally agree here. Nothing I regret in them as I learned a lot about myself and others, but nothing has to happen in that department.

  2. Jim McTrip says:

    Not that there’s anything wrong with Akron 🙂

  3. Aaron Stillwell says:

    Favorite so far! I think I need drugs, too. Definitely something is off. Thanks for sharing, Jim!

  4. stvrsnbrgr says:

    I knew LA was home when I stopped using that word to describe any other place.

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