When I was a teenager and into my early 20s, I believed that somewhere there was a group of people just like me, and they all hung out together on a beach, probably in southern California, enjoying the sunshine and partying all night.
I even moved to California for a year after college to find those people. I rented a room in a house by the beach, then immediately went to the beach to hang out with all my new friends. There was no one there.
Then it hit me. Everyone is at work. The only people here on weekdays are heroin addicts and retirees walking their poodles.
Making a living is a grind. People like to say "Do what you love and the money will follow," but that's not true. If people only did what they loved, Central Park would be clogged with joggers all day, and we'd all be running through horse crap, because no one would be there to clean it up.
I have a secret. I do what I love--I write children's books--but I do it in my spare time. Because so far I've made enough money from children's books to live in a trailer in Arkansas for six months. Maybe nine if we shot our own squirrels.
To pay for our little apartment in Manhattan, I have to do things I don't always love. I'm not anti-work. I'm just anti-a-hole. Anti-pretense. Anti-BS. Literally or figuratively, we all have our crap to shovel. I don't think I'd be happier living in a trailer in Arkansas and eating squirrel. It's just life. You make trade-offs.
I think the real secret to happiness is balancing doing the things you love with finding honest, decent, smart, funny people to shovel the crap with. That's my goal for 2016.
Who's with me?