Let’s Just Call It “See You Later”

I never meant for this page to be a “blog”, and I still cringe whenever anyone refers to it as such, well-intended though they may be in doing so.

The idea was to continue work I had started, first with a friend, then on my own, to have a page that served as a sort of resume, a body of work I could steer editors, agents, etc. to when the time came. I suppose I “blog” in other places, and I have no problem at all with the blog form, but I wanted something a little more “profound” here. A little more “professional.”

But then a funny thing happened. I started gaining a following of bloggers, and started to return serve. And a real sense of community evolved out of my work. This is not a bad thing, and I’m unspeakably grateful for it.

So why not? I guess I’ll call this a “blog” piece.

Being childless on Father’s Day, and reflecting on life in general lately, here’s a check-in.

I’m 40, pushing 41.

I’m mostly happily married, for ten years this coming Friday. I’m mostly gainfully employed, with a mostly secure life: a house, a paid-for car, two cats, insurance, blah-blah-blah.

I’ve been dealing with a low-level mid-life crisis for a while, I guess around turning 40. Turning 40 was easy. Being 40 has been a bit tougher. I wasn’t afraid of turning 40, except in the sense of wanting to hold on to my 30s a bit longer. My 30s were so great in comparison to my 20s, which were so awful. My 30s were like my chance to re-write my 20s and get it right, and I relished that chance. I guess turning 40, and eliding comfortably into middle age, was a bit of a tougher milestone than I realized, though I still feel younger than I ever have.

My wife and I just returned from nearly two weeks tripping around the U.K. and Paris. This was a trip I had been waiting my entire life for, and it was a game-changer for the good on so many levels. I stood in front of the Mona Lisa, ordered Steak Frites in French and had Crème Brule, mousse and cappuccino in a deserted bistro while a Parisian rain fell. I stuck a finger in Loch Ness. I rode trains everywhere and wrote like a possessed demon. I heard Big Ben strike the hour and spent time loitering in Hyde Park, Henry the VIII’s old hunting grounds. I stood on the graves of Dickens and Darwin and walked the Seine and the Thames and had fish & chips on a rocky beach on the English Channel. I saw thousands of sheep frolicking in pastoral fields along the North Sea and ate Cullen Skink in an Edinburgh gastropub that dated to the 1700s. I paid for drinks in pounds and Euros and I heard accents from every corner of the globe. I fucking LIVED on this trip, like I haven’t lived in years. I live for these chances to recontextualize my life, and this trip served to do so completely.

And I realized something mind-blowing. Back at home I’m existing nicely, but I’m not LIVING.

I’m not following my passions. I’m not living the song in my soul. I’m writing the words in my heart and soul, but I’m not publishing them for money. Full time. I’m not even approaching my potential in life.

I wake, shit/shave/shower, drive, work in a Cube, drive, watch COPS re-runs and a ballgame, try to write, read in bed for a bit and shut the lights out. Lather, rinse, repeat Monday through Friday. On weekends I mow the lawn, wash the cars, clean the house, run errands, try to write and go to bed. I don’t stay up all night burning with passion, I don’t see the sunrise, I don’t push myself to make it with the written word, although that’s the passion that is silently burning a hole in my heart.

I am also battling my demons.

I’ve lived with depression and anxiety my whole life. I’m drastically better than in my 20s, when the demons had such a stranglehold on me that I could hardly get out of bed and the thought of being around people was too much agony to bear.

I’ve spent years on the couch, indulged in my share of recreational self-medication and kept several major pharmaceutical corporations in business. I’ve conquered all this and come to a place of stability and some serenity.

But it’s getting bad again. The anxiety is winning.

I have the greatest friends and family in the world and all I ever want is to take care of them all and save the world, no matter that I can’t. I reach out to friends even if I don’t have to, and then I worry that I’ve reached out too much and am pushing said friends away. I crack a joke and then worry that it was taken the wrong way. I take a comment at face value and spiral into a worry cycle, fearing that everyone sees me in the negative light I suddenly see myself.

I’m drastically better at pulling myself back from these spirals, but it’s getting bad again. And that’s not living.

So I’m now taking a chance to take care of myself. I’m in the market for a new shrink (any recommendations?) and new drugs. I have a slight disorder with my mental wiring: nothing that treatment with therapy and drugs can’t (and haven’t) fixed before.

And I’m exploring new ways to follow my passion. I’m looking at ways to lessen my day-to-day demands and spend more time pursuing the written word and full-time self-sufficiency from it.

I’m going to travel more and write about it. I’m going to flush out that song and present it to the world and submit invoices. I’m going to burn with newly awoken passion. Because that’s all I know.

Life is short. Life is precious. Life is right fucking NOW, and it’s all we have and all we know. It’s time to maximize this life of mine.

I’ve had an amazing run on WordPress. I’ve virtually met some amazing new friends, and my life is richer for it. I’ve reached new peaks of creativity I never thought I could. I learned a hell of a lot about writing, and a hell of a lot about myself. Likesay, it’s been an amazing run.

But all runs come to an end. At some point the act ends, and you rip up the tent pegs and take the Dog & Pony show to the next town. And it feels like a good time to move on from WordPress.

I’ve got some ideas burning a hole in my pocket. I WILL be back, in some other form, and soon. And I’ll keep you all posted.

And I thank you all so much, for reading, for commenting and encouraging. And for allowing me into your worlds. We’ll continue together (and drop a line anytime: greenback.media@gmail.com), and it will be better than ever.

As my old singer Max once wrote, “Just wish me luck and say we’re just changing scenes.”

See you out there somewhere…
BW

43 comments
  1. All the best to you! Truly! :)

    • I’ll be back!

  2. You truly are a Good Man…
    …and have been a good friend to me..from the very beginning.
    Safe travels…
    Always in friendship, Raye

    • That’s more than mutual, Jots. Keep in touch…

  3. Best wishes to you, enjoy yourself in all your travels. This post really hit home for me, in many ways. Good luck to you.

    • Hey, you’ve been great to me, Maineiac. We L/A-ers need to stick together! Keep in touch.

  4. I’ll just say “see ya soon” because that’s what I’ll be doing. I loved hearing about your trip, even if it was only a snippet…it sounds incredible. I’ve been dealing with some demons myself, it’s no fun that’s for sure, but it has gotten better. Best of luck to you on your quest to follow your passion, I have no doubt that you will be successful on your path. I’ll hold you in a positive light for clarity Brian…be well.

    • And YOU have so been there for me as well, Life! Part of this moving on from WordPress is that things changed as my Community, yourself included, grew. First and most critically, my company blocked all blogs, thus I find myself desperately trying to visit all your updates and commenting after work, which is supposed to be my writing time. Too much. I had a great community suddenly, and I had been locked out of it. But that community is valuable to me, so I hope you’ll also stay in touch as I move on…

      • Will do Brian! I look forward to reading your next chapter. I completely get the whole trying to “keep up” with blogging, it can be consuming. Your energy will be better served chasing that passion. I’m excited for you!

  5. Brian be well. And thank you for reaching out to me as you did. I do so appreciate your kindness. Audra

    • This is not the end. *grin*

      • Yes I know but I get to say thanks. And GO SOX!!

      • I’m grateful to you as well! SAWKS!!!

  6. BTW, all, pics from the trip: Edinburgh, Paris, Loch Ness/Scottish Highlands, Lyme Regis (Dorset, UK) and London sets.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/72455084@N00/sets

  7. Reading your pieces has been one of the major highlights I uncovered when I began to venture into the world of blogs (a term I loathe, as well, by the way) and I will sincerely miss seeing you pop up in my email, a new post, a new fictional-pinhole-of-a-moment, a new personal piece where I can relate to you or laugh with you. Seriously, man, you are a talented writer, so there is no reason that you should not be going full-steam ahead at a career, one that has been set aside for you and is waiting for you to fill. Writing full-time is hard, but someone has to succeed, so why not Brian Westbye?! He’s got the talent, he’s got the drive and he knows his writing can find an audience. My money’s on Brian Westbye, husband, traveler and author.

    • I love your work as well, and second this entire comment in reverse. Let’s go for it, man. All In. I’ve got a book in the works around all of this, so that’s the next step. I anxiously await yours. Keep in touch, amigo.

      • If you’re all in, I’m all in. :)

      • Done.

  8. metan said:

    Good for you. Good luck with all you do and I hope you get to travel and write to your hearts content. Looking forward to a future post that just says WOO HOO!!!! :D

    • You, Metan, have totally been there, and I so appreciate it. Keep in touch!

  9. I’m hoping you’ve not yet gone. Reading this non-blog was like reading my own life ( with the difference that I have a child now from my thirties). What Churchill used to call The Black Dog has been with me all my life too, making me doubt myself and even isolate myself fearing I didn’t deserve friends. I’m now convinced of the love of my family though am afraid of being around other people. Dark thoughts are still there but easier to fight since I started writing.
    I’m sure with the right treatment you can send your own Black Dog back to his kennel, and since you now feel younger at 40 and have the support of a mostly happy marriage and the stability of a job, you just need to organise time between the two where you can pour out your thoughts.Start writing, keep writing. If you feel you have books within you get them out, But keep the non-blog going so friends and followers can follow the chart of your progress when you have time to update us, where we can share the lighter moments of your life and encourage you when the darker moments appear. Where we can be jealous of the achievements of your new ‘living’ phase and your travels.
    As Metan says, Good Luck in what you decide to do and lets hear an almighty Woo Hoo when you get where you want to go.
    Best Wishes, David.

    • I’ll be back, and thanks. Hang tough.

  10. I had so much work stored on my computer it was starting to come out of all the little holes you’re supposed to plug things into. So I started three blogs.I try explain the illogical reasoning behind it here: http://olafmosely.wordpress.com/bryan-hemming/ And I still wonder why I find myself standing next to all the empty wine bottles, and badly damaged baguettes in kitchens at parties.

    • Good stuff, thanks.

  11. Best of luck Brian – I think you just have to go for it

    • That there’s the plan! Seeya soon.

  12. Good luck to you and let me know when you’re back.

    • Definitely, thanks!

  13. It somehow feels “wrong” to like this post, but I love all the energy and inspiration you feel for writing and your life ahead. Keep going and thanks for all the work you’ve put out there for so many people to enjoy. =)

    • It’s been great having you in this community, Ms. Chadwick. *grin*

  14. John S said:

    Look outward rather than inward. Glad you loved UK and Paris. Outward.

    • Forward…

  15. Here’s to following that dream, Brian! Go for it! And let us know when you catch it!

  16. Sandee said:

    I came over here after seeing Lisa’s comment on her post about missing you. “What the hell’s going on over there,” I thought. This is what happens when you assume someone will always be around. So this is it — I hope that you do take care of yourself and get some time in there to make sure that you write.

  17. How refreshingly honest! You know I wish you the best in learning to LIVE your life. Hope I earned enough points in the blog world to still be a part of your new life in some small way. :)

    • Always a joy to see you, Snarks! You’ll see me in other published forms very soon. *evil grin*

      • I want the scoop. FB message me. Inquiring snarks want to know.

  18. Miss you Brian. Going to message you on FB or send an email.
    Get out there and share your thoughts, experiences and passion! Suddenly had a thought this morning and realized it had been months since a notification had come though for your blog. Yes, I am embarrassed to use that term as well -grin-.
    Illness kept me from doing literally anything since mid summer and has turned my life upside down.
    Your post spoke so many of the words I’ve held back from others. We are living parallel lives..
    Am both saddened and inspired. Be well my friend!

    xo

    • Always great to see you, Ms. Black. I dropped everyone and dropped off FB for a bit, but hit me up and I’ll gladly add you back. Looking forward to catching up!
      b

  19. Hope you find what you’re looking for, Brian.

    • GUAP! Always great to see you, my man. Life is great, I’m working full-force on the memoir and kicking ass. Look me up on FB: always loved our back-and-forths. Cheers.

  20. Love you… in a different world way! Miss you in a this world way!

    • Great seeing you, girl! Hit me up anytime…

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