Today I saw the notice of the San Miguel Writer’s Conference 2020-21 on Facebook. And my mind started spinning with “what-ifs” and “how can I’s”. Steam came out of my head and it screeched to a halt, and then I breathed, again.
These days I seem to have to remind myself to pause a lot and ask myself… What the hell am I doing?
I am not writing a best seller. I am writing a memoir. That is the goal.
And we will see where that leads and be open to it.
If one person reads it, or a hundred or several thousand, I will have achieved my goal.
If it makes it onto a list, great. If not, that is ok too.
I had a life out of control. With calendars and responsibilities. With meetings and work weekends.
Then it all crashed and left me in a puddle on a rutted road.
I don’t want that again. Ever!
And I figured it out an hour ago.
I am great when my life is not counting minutes. I am open to a change in plans when I didn’t even have any in the first place.
It’s ok to just write.
It’s ok to not write a best seller.
It’s ok to not fill my time with workshops and retreats that I can’t afford.
It’s ok to just get my message across.
I don’t want another job. I’m not going to treat my writing like it is one. I know I should. All those essays on Medium tell me that. If I want to be successful.
But what does success mean to me? And what am I striving for?
What is the big picture? For today, next month, next year?
I like my stories, and I have a lot of them. It has been a weird life. I enjoy remembering parts of it so I can crow like a rooster. I am here. I made it. Maybe someone else can benefit.
In some respects, it is hard to look at the past and dig up the feelings that attach to those moments. It has taken twenty years of therapy to become one with them. To not let them take over my life anymore. To just have them settled somewhere in my mind.
I am taking it one story at a time.
I love having ZOOM meetings with other writers. Some I am in awe of. I would not have met these wonderful women without this contact. That is pretty cool. It is certainly keeping my mind busy during COVID. I think I am kind of cool too.
I went through the list of authors for individual consultations for the conference. Looking at their history and bio. They are all so busy. They have done great things. Written good works. Offer classes.
But I never want to be one of them.
And at this late start of sixty-two years old, that isn’t even a possibility.
That is a good thing for me to recognize. In the old days, I would have been searching for an agent by now. Writing an acceptance letter. It wouldn’t matter that I hadn’t written the book yet. I liked to skip ahead.
Today I am sitting at the kitchen table with my loving husband, looking out over San Miguel. Writing this post.
He just gave me twenty pesos, I made money writing.
I like this life. I don’t have to be anything.
I can want or hope, or desire. But I don’t HAVE to. I am perfectly content.
For a Bipolar 1, ADHD’er that is a pretty good lesson. I am learning them all the time.
Ida Soon-oak HartAugust 10, 2020 at 6:29 pm
I loved your comments about writing a memoir. I am doing it for me. It brings clarity and inspiration as I reflect on my life. Since I’ve been writing, I began to see my life as an unparalleled journey as fine as any other. Thoughts and fantasies of grandeur creeps in and I need reminders of the spiritual purpose in writing a memoir.
Ida Soon ok
Ria TalkenAugust 11, 2020 at 3:27 pm
Ida, it is wonderful getting to know a bit about you in our writing group. Your story sounds fascinating and it is nice to see you progress.
KenneyAugust 4, 2020 at 4:35 am
This is great post Ria. I agree with it in so many ways. There was a time in my life where accomplishments, fame, and money were my end objectives. As time marched on I began to see things in a different way. I’ve come to realize the value in life should not be based on a score card. When my life flashes before me in my final moments I don’t want it to be full of meetings in my calendar, snapshots of my net worth statements, or mediocre accomplishments designed to impress others. I hope it’s full of visions of time spent with people I love, goals I’ve reached that have value to me, and moments in time that I was able to make a difference in someone’s life. The journey we call life maybe long, but it’s still far to short to fill with events that have little meaning to us.
Whatever, steps you decide to take and wherever those steps take you is an amazing accomplishment in itself. It always warms my heart anytime I hear a person is living the life they want. After all, what else could be a better score card for life than our own happiness?
Lastly, that’s so sweet of your husband.
Ria TalkenAugust 4, 2020 at 2:07 pm
Your comment is lovely. I think a lot of soul searching is being done right now to determine what people want to do moving forward. I hope those who determine a change of pace and focus are right for them make the leap. Sounds like you have a plan and we both wish you the best achieving it. We are always holding a room for your visit when travel is possible again, come on down!!
BarbaraAugust 3, 2020 at 6:48 pm
Ria, I liked this so much. I followed what you were saying and was giving you kudos. Until. Until you got to the 62 part. Then I disagreed. 62 is just a beginning age. Likely you will go through lots of other ages and phases. Do just what you suggested doing–my paraphrasing—do what you want to do when you want to do it. You’ve got a lot to say and you are learning how to say it better all the time.
Ria TalkenAugust 3, 2020 at 7:36 pm
I actually agree with the 62. Why put a number on anything. I am doing things today that I never would have thought of doing 5 years ago. And living in San Miguel, the town of reinvention I should have learned better by now. Onward!!