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The freedom of being a nobody



As I approach the two year anniversary of leaving the corporate world, it feels as if the what I've been working toward is finally beginning to materialize.


It's not like I've been just sitting around hoping for inspiration to come find me. It's actually been quite the opposite. I've been driven me to find and purge any and all frivolousness from my life, wherever it may be hiding. What's left is minimal. What's left is essential. What's left is clarity.


What's left is the good life, right!?


In many ways, yes. My mind has never been clearer, nor has my body been more welcoming. I am a better version of myself in all my relationships. My writing is consistently inspired, flowing out of me from God knows where. I am even more engaged with the minutia I encounter.


However, I've discovered all that junk had been serving a purpose -- to keep me blissfully unaware of the deep-seated fears and insecurities hidden beneath. Over the last few months, I've been particularly haunted by one of those ghosts, a growing feeling of unease about the security of my family's future. Rather than face the fear, I slipped back to my old pattern -- putting more effort into what I was already doing.


Shame on me, I know better!


There's never been a single problem I've solved by efforting more. Muscling through pain has reliably resulted in deeper wounds and longer recoveries.


While I was doing all that efforting, I produced a something I'm incredibly excited about -- a novel manuscript that absolutely blows me away. However, rather than clearing the anxiety away, the result I'd long been pining for seemed to compound it.


How could that be?


It was time I finally listened to what the book was here to tell me -- my reality could never be more real than the truth.


My reality is a glorious place. My time is ample and I alone dictate how it is spent. I am happily married with two beautiful children. I am well liked and valued. My body is strong and fluid...


...My book is a mega-seller, on par with Harry Potter.


What? Where did the last one come from?


In the beginning, the book had nothing to do with me. It was as if the story picked me to bring it into the world. I would sit down to write and the words would come. Simple. No blank pages. No outlines. No effort.


Then something pernicious slowly creeped in -- I started to become the book.


It's a funny thing about time. I tend to naturally become whatever I spend it on (e.g. I am my kids and the money I have in the bank). Since, I'd spent so much of it on the book, I would be a nothing until the book became a something. In my reality, I'd written the next Star Wars, in truth I'd written a book I'd only shared with a handful of those closest to me.


Facing this truth has been simultaneously terrifying and exhilarating. As false realities do, it disintegrated as soon as I took an honest look at it. I was a person who was drafting a novel few have read. I am now a person who has drafted a novel few have read. At the same time, the person I really am is neither of those two people.


I can see this truth in my interactions with those I'm close with -- their affection has nothing to do with my having drafted a novel, let alone how many copies it sells. The What I have, or haven't, done is irrelevant to them. All that matters is the Who I am with them.


From here, my work is clear. I must let go of the urge to create a false somebody so I can focus on becoming the best nobody I possibly can.


I sense this is the place where true freedom resides.

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