I live a life of daily, lusty, creative pursuit. I alternate between quiet hours of writing the next draft of my second novel, reading one of the fascinating books from the stack by my armchair, and sculpting clay at my workbench in the garage. I fill hours each day neck-deep in my art. I do have to pause occasionally and turn to the pedestrian tasks of Gmail or getting a haircut, but the core of life is spent in refining my creative process and reveling in the fruits of my labor.

Here ends the dream. My precious, imagined reality.

My life reads a lot like your life.

At the office Monday through Friday, an 11.5 hour-a-day-commute-included hard-switch between one task and the next. 90 minutes some evenings and 60 minutes others to share between what I might write and read before grabbing a late dinner, cuddling with my wife, packing my lunch, looking at Outlook/Slack, setting up the coffee maker and hitting the pillow for seven-ish hours of sleep before the alarm goes off at 5:30AM. One weekend a month, where there is not some demand on my calendar or the not-to-be-ignored-any-longer need to catch up on personal email, household tasks, and other life-admin, I write and read for stretches that sometimes border on the (dare I say it) luxurious. I will say that I’ve made it a priority to make war with my muffin top by jumping rope or going for a walk once in a while, but I’ve come to grips with the fact that the cause of death on my certificate will read “out of shape.”

No one lives a life where their creative work is central and all else orbits*. Creativity is always pushed to the edges. We’re always tossing the lasso, trying to ring and pull our pursuit back toward the center.

So it goes. Keep the dream alive. Your soul pleads for it.

*For a timely example: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/24/business/tracy-k-smith-poet-laureate.html