This is a post about cleaning up the past, leaving the comfort zone, weighting values worths, freeing up time and planning the future.
I alwas was and will be a creative person. But as many of you know, with the gift comes the curse and so my personal folder of yet-unfinished-and-probably-never-being-able-to-find-the-time projects grew once more by a yet to be determined count. With almost 40 years, this leaving-behind-behaviour has become routine and if there really is something like a midlife-crisis, I probably had about 3 of them every year. I long for the future, for new stuff, for challenges. That's the curse.
So every now and then, I clean up. I clean up very much. This happens about every 5 years. It starts slow with small details which you put aside, thow in the waste bin or simply move from the desktop to the archive. But then, suddenly, you start to realize that you do not care that much anymore about related stuff. You have no motivation to look at it, don't want to spend time and money on it. And then you throw that away and again, there is even more related stuff which you do not need anymore because you just threw the other things away. And so it goes on and on and suddenly you realize, that you are actually ending an era.
Ending eras is kind of melancholic but a necessary step in any creative process. Unless you make your hobby your job, you have to evlove, otherwise you stall. And stalling is the black matter of creativity. It is unavoidable, undescribable, undetectable and yet we all know, it exists and we are drawn towards. But you are unable to tell until you hit that critical spot where you lose interest, and then you suddenly know, you were stalling for already a long time. Self-persuation, procastination and finally lying to yourself keeps you falling into this trap all over again and again and again.
So I like to think that the melancholic part about ending eras is not so much the pity or shame of not finishing something but the regret of the lost time spent trying-hard for no rational reason and hence the positive outlook of changing that now. It's a realization of what is simply put the solution to the problem of boredom. And when pondering if this all could have been avoided, simply remember that this is not a profession, it is a hobby, a personal thing which we all do for ourselfes. And so we can rethorically ask with a smirk: Where would be the fun in it if all would be perfectly orchestrated? I still love being creative and just move on to new stuff.
New eras are a wonderful thing. Start fresh and build a new life from the ground up. I had several eras. Starting drawing comics, starting new jobs, starting relationships, starting gaming, starting programming, starting my own company, starting doing let's plays and now starting music.
When looking back now, I once more see now how much I was spending on time and money for things which have just been in my comfort zone. It's a good thing to find such a zone but every now and then, one has to leave it in search for another. Why spending money on an application license which I now will probably not need anymore, why spend time looking for reassurance when you know yor are only scratching the surface, why keeping everybody waiting in uncertainty when one can simply end all speculation, why making promises one does not want to keep anymore.
A sad thing which I observed more and more recently is that many creative people flee from their era. They work so hard, keep making promises, push themselfes to limits unbearable until they hit the wall of demotivation so hard, they simply rage quit, leaving behind a sour taste of failure and displease. I see it in game development, in animation series, in music, in video channels, in fandom-sites, in forums, ... If you observe yourself being in such a mood of almost falling apart, do yourself and your fans a favor and quit early on, remembering the good times. Not wait until you destroyed yourself. It's not always easy or even possible to do this but try to be aware. You are no slave, even if you maybe get payed for it and your fans have high demands.
Ending eras can be very fruitful. Don't ever think of creative eras being a failure for not being successful. You did it for yourselfes and you evolved by doing that.
With that said, new eras come. Old eras come to an end. No, I'm not leaving Newgrounds or something. I'm just sharing my process over the last few weeks and months. I'm sure most of you can relate to this. That's how things roll.