Why do some people think you only have a lot to offer if you are young and just beginning?
I am a firm believer that we are all unique souls - in old bodies or young - and the world is in need of each and every one of our perspectives. Last night we had the pleasure of sharing a delightful birthday dinner with a 92 year old friend. He still sings in a rich baritone voice, is a war veteran and lifelong bachelor, and has the twinkling-est blue eyes you ever saw. He drove himself to our home, enjoyed a glass or two of wine and lively conversation with our other guests, oohed & ahhed over the homemade birthday card our youngest daughter gave him, and warmed our hearts with his presence - in our home, and in our lives. Even if he wasn't still so active and spry, so fully present mentally, he would be someone I would want to know. His stories, his wisdom and humility, and his readiness to see the best in people - those are things I want more of in my life.
We are all in the process of reinventing ourselves. We're shaped by circumstances, by our culture, by those we associate with or allow ourselves to be influenced by, but mostly by our attitudes.
About a dozen years ago, our elderly friend suffered a stroke. When he didn't show up to sing in our choir one Sunday morning without calling anyone, we knew there was a problem. Thankfully, his hospital stay was a short one, and he was lucky. The paralysis on the left side of his body gradually wore off, and now, except for his constantly chilly hands, you would never know anything ever happened.
For some, an event like that is a death sentence, if not literally, then at least an end to their current way of life. I think it was his attitude that made the difference. At the time, not knowing if the damage would be permanent, he simply accepted the new cards he'd been dealt and went on with life. Not angrily or begrudgingly, but adapting with good humor and grace. And he continued to grow better.
Some of us continually work at becoming improved versions of ourselves. Others are content right where they are. Some, unfortunately, are never happy - no matter what. Me, I want to defy age, to be truly age-less.
Today my third novel goes live. A new birth. A new beginning. A new reason to celebrate life.
Note* Yes, that is my face underneath all that make-up. Someday those wrinkles will be real, and I hope I can wear them with pride.
"It is in the making that we discover our true purpose."
Success is elusive. It's true - and it stops most of us in our tracks on our way to "becoming" all that we could be. We cower before the doors of destiny, knocking timidly, if at all, offering only halfhearted attempts to enter into the lives we were meant to lead.
But, here's the thing: Those doors only open inward. You have to push to get through. How could it be otherwise with all the frightened, huddled masses blocking the way?
"Destructive forces may instill fear, but creative powers
"Not everyone is born for greatness," you may argue. "Some of us belong right where we are. We don't want to push. We don't want to change. We don't want to grow. If we don't try, how can we fail?"
Failure is inevitable - this is true, too. Some time, some where, we all fall short. Everyone has within them the potential to be more than they are, yet not one of us fully lives up to it. We are human beings, after all, not gods. But, that shouldn't keep us from striving to be better human beings.
If we are really content, why then is there still so much need and discontent in the world? Why do people grumble about their lot in life, the have-nots begrudging the haves and vice versa? If we were all our best selves, wouldn't everyone have enough?
I think, perhaps, we all know we could do better.
Some of us see those who succeed as a threat to our mediocrity, as if we are being graded on a bell curve. We despise that student who gets the "A+" because we know we didn't put forth our best effort. Or we work and work, and feel like we still don't measure up. On the flip side, some of those top-of-the-curve students resent sharing the fruit of their labor, and hide it away, not grasping that basic tenet of childhood: Good kids share and play fair.
"Satisfaction is hard work's own reward."
Also true, not everyone wants more for themselves. And that's just fine. But in a world that has such great need, we should at least want more for others. We should want to create a world where bell curves are unnecessary. The best way I know how to make that happen is for ALL of us to try, to push forward and give it our best. It may not be required or even expected, but it's sure to be appreciated by someone who needs what we have to offer the world...
...and that's what makes it worth the effort.
Try as I might, I rarely get things right the first go 'round. Usually, my early efforts leave me feeling a bit off-kilter, and this time is no different. Testing the waters of new technology (at least, new to me), I definitely feel like I'm falling in face first most of the time. Since tech changes quicker than I can make the shift, learning new skills is a stretch that takes me out of my comfort zone. But, it also takes me to new levels of achievement.
You gotta try, right?
So, here I am, attempting to spread my wings with my writing career again, only this time flying solo. As in, self-publishing my third novel without assistance. I have become my own publishing house - egad! Who'da thunk it?!
Yep, this is me - Fireweed Press -named for the hillside near our home which hosts a beautiful purple invasive species that is spreading like wildfire. (It's pretty, so I don't mind it.) When I finally figure out how to do it, I'm gonna make a video showing how rapidly ideas can spread, too, when you read good books. It'll be cool, trust me.
There's a lot of figuring out how to do things these days. Things like how to format my manuscript and upload my files into CreateSpace...........and then, how to reformat it upon realizing I had fit things to the wrong size. (Note* - Don't judge, but I spent about 4 days once just trying to put my page numbers where I wanted them in a word document. Before you fall off your chair laughing at my ineptitude, remember that I'm a LOT older than personal computers, and I can do LOTS of things the average schmo can't do, like...like...well, like a LOT of things!*) Designing my cover was no big deal, but trying to get it print ready without a real photo-shopping program left me dizzy, staring at too many pixels as I edited them one by one. I finally caved and sought help from a REAL digital artist - thanks Jacob Grant! (This still counts as going it alone though, since I'm the one making all of the decisions.)
Marketing has always been a struggle, but I'm taking webinars and doing loads of research. One of these days I'll actually learn how to organize it all into a real marketing plan. Then will come the difficult task of implementing it. Sigh. All of this takes an inordinate amount of time.
While I'm wobbling here on the brink of self-fulfillment, life is still coming at me from all directions. Kids' needs and activities still take precedence over everything else. Time, energy, money - you name it; sometimes there isn't much of anything left over. And that's when real lean sets in. Being a full-time wife and mother with a mind crammed with fictional characters can make one feel a bit schizophrenic. I want to do it all, and I want to do it well - no halfhearted attempts.
But I also want to enjoy it, ya know? And so, this is me (and friend!) diving in.
It's a bit murky under the surface, and I can only hold my breath for so long before I come up for air. But when I do, I plan to try and bob merrily along, and let worry roll off my back - like, you know, water.
And sooner or later, I hope to relish the symmetry of flight.
*I hereby proclaim my logo (which I designed!) copyrighted.