I am now the author of not one but two self-published Kindle e-books. At first I thought that was a pretty ballsy move considering the first one has only sold 5 copies in three weeks and has been stuck at 5 for days now. Then last night in a fit of insomnia I realized that I literally have nothing to lose. I don't HAVE to do anything. There are no rules, no right or wrong, no reason not to go ahead and self-publish. It doesn't stop me from pursuing traditional publication if I want to, nor does it require me to continue publishing book after book.
It's sad that it has taken me nearly 44 years to realize that this is the only life I'm going to get and it's perfectly okay to live it in whatever way makes me happy. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about going out and just doing whatever you want and saying f-you to the world. It's never okay to deliberately do things that are hurtful or harmful to yourself or to anyone else.
I think people need to do what makes them happy; what makes life worth getting out of bed for in the morning and worry about what they're "supposed" to be doing. People seem to judge themselves and their loved ones based on what others are doing and what society seems to think is the proper course of life. My niece recently found out that she has been accepted to Ohio State University and I'm THRILLED! It's a wonderful accomplishment and she's an awesome kid who I'm sure will thrive and succeed in college. At the same time it bothers me that there are kids her age who are made to feel like they're less because they've been turned down by colleges or just simply have no interest in attending. Education is important and should always be encouraged and supported. At the same time if someone is content and happy working in a job that doesn't demand a college education and is willing (and able) to live within the financial limitations of that sort of position then that is a life decision which should be supported as well.
I think what I'm really trying to say is that non-negative behavior should be supported. If a kid is working and helping out at home and taking care of business is it really okay to put them down because they don't want to go to college? If a young adult is working hard to support a little apartment and some utilities is there really any shame in being happy with that life; should they really be looked at strangely because they aren't in a "committed relationship", involved in a degree program, or yearning for babies and a mortgage? If a single mother is struggling to get an education or working long hours to further her career is it really okay to assume her child is neglected?
Shouldn't we really encourage people to follow the path that makes them happy and successful in life instead of trying to force them down a road that someone else has chosen for them? I could be wrong... I am wrong a lot.... But after 44 years I can say with pride that I have two college degrees and a post graduate degree and I work at Wal-Mart because it's where I'm happy. I write and self-publish e-books because it makes me happy and gives me a sense of fullfillment. I bake cookies at Christmas, birthday cakes for people I like, and rack my brains for silly gifts because it makes me happy; not because I expect something in return or because I want people to think I'm something special. I do it because it makes me happy and after 44 years I've learned that nothing on earth is as important as being happy with yourself.