Generation X Is Getting Old…
"Well You Say I'm Twenty Something And Should Be Slacking
But I'm Working Harder Than Ever And You Could Call It Macking"
Sure Shot – The Beastie Boys
That lyric meant a lot to me way back in the late '90's when that Beastie Boys album came out. I remember hearing it and thinking; "Yeah, I work hard as hell!" I was 26. I just graduated college, I got married, and I was working full-time at kinko's while I self-published my comic books. Everyone I knew was getting married, working hard full-time jobs, finishing college and/or going to grad school, having kids and turning into responsible adults; all while pursuing their own dreams… one of my buddies is a filmmaker, one performs in a punk band, another was a store manager by the time he turned 25. I never knew a lot of "slackers" and I found the term insulting. My generation (Generation X) were very mislabeled as a bunch of do-nothings; when in fact the opposite was true; we learned that we could hold down a "McJob" while working towards our dreams.
The lessons I learned about business while I published my comics changed the way I approached my "day job"; graphic design. My wife even uses her experience from grad-school in her eventual day job running a non-profit.
And now we're graying and watching the next generation come up. So far we have been much more forgiving to this current crop of kids than our parents were to us. We're showing our kids that "doing nothing" can sometimes be "doing everything". Time spent working a crap job can also give your imagination enough fuel to create the thing you have passion for; poems can be written while washing dishes, songs composed while parking cars. I thought of many comics ideas while I sat at the counter at kinko's.
Back then I spent all of my spare time working on my books. Even as the publishing world stopped being a viable option for me, I still used my creative energies towards writing and drawing professionally. Because I had the guts to sit at a comics convention table and sell my books to strangers, I would later have the strength to go to Chicago and sell my creative ability to consumer product companies on my own.
And now as I turn 40, I'm looking back at my previous creative "night job" as a valuable outlet. I've since re-started my comic book publishing entity. I'm not quitting my job at LPK (yet), but somehow along the way I figured out how to enjoy my "day job" and have just enough energy to enjoy being forever 14 years old doing what I love.
Ask yourself "What do I love to do?" How much time you you devote to it? I think it's the key to staying young inside while taking care of your obligations in life. We won't live in this world forever. How much of that time would you want to spend NOT doing the thing that you love just as much as you do with the people you care about? I'm lucky in that I don't have many "regrets" so far. I didn't go to Europe in my 20's, I never even went to Spring Break; but I can say that I worked very hard and kept myself sane by loving a very good woman, and staying true to the person I am inside.
Stay young, and "slack" with a purpose!