I was way over forty when I discovered something:
That writing made me happy.
It had been kind of a necessity when I was in my thirties, became single and started dating. It was my primary tool of self-reflection and growth. But in my forties, with my love life figured out, and a secret lover to practice all lessons learned, writing became a Joy.
As long as my days consisted of writing I didn’t need anything normal people needed. Social interactions, food, exercise, and even sleep all became options, if I was interested in staying healthy. But I didn’t actually need them, and could go on without breaks for up to ten hours.
I learned to make meals in five minutes and ate them at my desk.
I learned I could get out of my pajamas, shower, have dinner and be ready to go out and teach yoga, in fifteen minutes flat.
I had a standing desk, but otherwise my ass would have fallen off.
And I wouldn’t have noticed it.
I looked down on other people who needed normal things like leisure and Netflix. And this is going to sound horrible, but since you’re probably already reading this to see for yourself that I am a fucked up person: I know.
And I’m not even hiding it.
But I was happy in my writing bubble. Especially because I had cats, who more or less accidentally came on my path when I separated from the boyfriend who was supposed to take care of them should we ever break up.
But those two little fellows were the best thing that ever happened to me.
They were the reason I never considered pursuing a career that would take me away from home, nor would I consider doing something, or committing to something, that could limit the infinite amount of time, love and money I could spend on them.
I would even consider invasive treatments or operations in order to stay alive to take care of them. Because I knew that if I died their level of care would suffer.
They were my number one reason to live.
And because I had my writing, I actually enjoyed that life tied to computer and my cats. It was not just home, it was everything.
It was my Life.
I was also amazed at how productive I was, and how little sleep I needed.
I had never expected it anymore, that there was something in me that made me tick..
I was two decades past what should have been my rebellious puberty; Standing up for choosing an education or profession I wanted!
I was a decade past what should have been my motivated twenties;
Hustling my ass off to make a career!
I had done neither of those things. I had simply chosen the road of least resistance, so that my parents wouldn’t get too upset.
I didn’t realize yet that I would be totally unsuitable, or at least unmotivated, to make the career they wanted for me, but I did instinctively go for:
“What would they like me to do, what is my margin, and from those options what is the optimal choice for me?”
I scowled myself for not standing up for myself, but in retrospect that makes so much sense. Because I didn’t have anything to stand up for!
I had not discovered writing yet, and I also didn’t have cats.
To make my parents happy, or at least not to let them worry too much, and to not let my boyfriend down.
Those were my life’s goals, and I was really good at them.
Until I found myself single, living alone, with two little furry friends to take care of and a computer to write on, feeling ABSOLUTE BLISS.
And not needing sleep, not needing food.
I m not going to say that I needed “few things”!
An apartment all to yourself as well as twenty-four hours every day, is nothing small.
It’s actually the biggest, most entitled thing, you can possibly imagine.
But I thrived at it.
I was by far the best cat mother I ever knew, maybe aside from women who have dedicated their life to rescuing cats, and taking them in.
But I came pretty close.
And I had only two cats; they had my full attention. So they didn’t have to share anything. Not even the kitty litter box, of which I had three, so that they always had something to choose from. Because I had learned the optimal number of kitty litter boxes was the number of cats plus one.
But it felt so great to be so goddamn good at something! And next to being a kick-ass cat mother I also liked what I wrote, to reread it.
It evolved from writing Dutch fiction, to Dutch erotica, to English diaries, to ultimately English autobiographical erotica. And now I’ve taken things down a notch, and focus on the topic of being a mistress.
But what I failed to see in those twelve years – when writing went from something that was required to process my complicated sexual issues, to something that I did because it was how I breathed – was that underneath? Nothing had changed.
And beyond the cats?
Nothing had changed either.
If I had to choose again, between pleasing my parents or choosing for my writing or my cats – only the cats would have been a reason to stand up for myself.
I would never let anything touch them.
I would have become a prostitute if that’s what was required to support our cat heaven, which was basically also my heaven.
But when the cats died, it was gone.
My cats Max and Willem took the magic with them, of me being willing to fight for my life. They had been the only thing that would have outweighed disturbing my parents.
I m not going to say: “I need to write! You can’t take this from me! And if I have to I ll turn a prostitute in order to make sure I can write!”
I don’t care. I really don’t.
If it would make them happy I would just called it quits on the playtime of having my own yoga studio, and dismiss the whole idea of being an entrepreneur.
Just take a job with a pension plan, and give them the worry-free life of having a daughter who is successful and doesn’t do anything that puts anyone at risk.
No financial risk.
Not of reputation.
Not by making enemies.
But the last time I chose to make a parent happy this way, he died within five months.
At peace; Because he knew I had a job and was now taken care of.
An Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living
My diaries are available at LULU
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