I stumbled upon a blog post today where the writer asked, “What would you be willing to do with the rest of your life?” The question caught my attention because I had just asked the very same thing of a group of high school kids this past Wednesday. I was speaking to them about my own experiences as a writer and general creative freelancer, but first I asked the kids, “If money were no object, what would you do with the rest of your life?” Their eyes lit up (except for the blank-eyed annoyed girl in front of me who just popped her gum and sighed–classic!) and the answers ranged from starting a knitting business, professional hiker/adventurer, actor, video game designer, book reader, ballroom dancer, musician, and neurosurgeon/film critic.
I loved looking out at the room and envisioning all of these awesome kids doing these things, just going for it, and making a leap that it took me years of reconditioning out of societal norms to do myself.
I told them that if someone would pay me to lie on the couch and eat sandwiches and read all day, I would have reached my idea of heaven, and we had a good laugh. But really, if money were no object, what would I do for the rest of my life? The answer is easy: I would write, play music, listen to music, and read–not in that particular order. These are the things that make me feel most whole.
Stephen Elliott, author of The Adderall Diaries, answers this question in the essay, “Good on Paper” over at the 7×7 website. I’ve shared writing on writing by Elliott before, in particular, his essay, “Why I Write.” Elliott is an example of someone who knows exactly what he wants to do with the rest of his life (basically check out pretty women and write) and that is exactly what he does. He lives modestly, doesn’t make much money, writes tons, and seems to live a stellar creative life.
Another thing I would be willing to do for the rest of my life is sing and dance like these kids.
What about you? What would you be willing to do with the rest of your life?