Tony Bennett died yesterday, at the age of 96. His career spanned from the 1950s until his final album and retirement in 2021, an impressive seven decades of creative work. I also learned (via Wikipedia) that he also had success as a painter, exhibiting his work in galleries around the world.
I started focusing on my own creative work back in 2021. I've had this blog forever, but it's purpose was mostly personal and I had no idea how to promote it or find new readers. It wasn't until two years ago that I began writing seriously on Medium and Substack, slowly growing an audience of subscribers.
Part of me thinks that the stars finally aligned. In the early days of my blogging, my children were incredibly young and I was in survival mode.
But part of me looks at someone like Tony Bennett and thinks that I missed out on a decade or more of creative work. I could have learned how to put myself out there more, but I didn't.
Part of me thinks that this is was right time, the right age to become self-employed. My tolerance for risk is a lot higher. And part of me regrets not trusting myself — believing in myself — sooner.
I can't do anything about the past. And there are times even now when I think I could push myself harder, but choose not to. Part of that is that I want to avoid burnout or feeling like my creative work is something I have to do rather than something I want to do.
Someday I want to earn a living based entirely on my own work, rather than client work. If I push harder now, I can probably reach that point sooner. Is it worth it?
I sometimes fear that something will happen to me and I wouldn't be able to write anymore. How much I would regret all of those unwritten words.
I need to find that balance between pushing myself and still enjoying the process.