Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Woman, 42, discovers she is already LIVING her New Year's Resolution.",

I'm 42.

For most of my life, I have wanted to be a writer.

Yet, when people asked me what exactly it was I wrote or wanted to write - even as recently as last week - I would pause for a moment, as I struggled to frame the answer for myself as much as for them.

The standard answer is usually "anything" as I have dabbled in most forms, from poetry and short stories to newspaper and magazine articles and editorial content, with a recent foray into web content and copywriting. I also usually neglect to mention that I blog, for some reason forgetting that composing my thoughts into a 500-1000 word post is certainly a writing exercise, and occasionally produces something actually worth reading. And, like many or most writers, I mention that I hope to have at least one good book in me...somewhere.

Yet, for most of these last 40-odd years, I have done everything BUT become the writer I have always believed I would be.

Something I read today has crystallised all I've been pondering on recently, in terms of my plans and direction in the New Year. One of the incredibly inspirational writer/bloggers I am presently enjoying, Barbara Winters of Joyfully Jobless, wrote a wonderful newsletter suggesting 10 things to do instead of making flimsy and short-lived resolutions. (I am planning on working on her suggestions once the wee man has gone to sleep tonight...a much better use of New Year's Eve for me than drinking champers and partying late, both of which give me headaches these days! Sign up for her Joyfully Jobless News if you want to know what I'll be up to...and no, I'm not paid to say that.).

Barbara quoted Cher as having said that her greatest fear was not living as well as she knew how to live and those words, and the ideas they triggered within, have hummed through my skull and my bones for most of this morning, until I had to sit down and write this post.

"That is my fear", my bones sing, and I realise how a lifetime's passion for learning and self-examination and truth and well-being are guiding me to this moment, to these pivotal thoughts on the eve of a new year, and a new decade.

As you know, this has been a very introspective year for me. A relationship of over 10 years ended last year, and the dreams and plans I held for the future have had to be examined and re-framed in the light of the very significant changes this ending brought to my life. Joyfully, I have realised that I am actually in a better position to acknowledge and achieve my true heart's desires than I was while in that particular relationship.

I have taken concrete steps towards these goals, by enrolling for university and taking baby steps towards a freelance career. For every forward step I take I stagger backwards two, under the force of self-doubt and procrastination and an over-abundance of gurus and how-to's and must-do's. It is mostly self-inflicted, as I feast at the buffet of information online while shaping my vision to become a successful freelancer and entrepreneur, and I'm not missing the opportunity to beat myself up about it.

Yet I also recognise that out of this struggle the seeds of my new future are being sown, and I trust - yes, I really DO - that they (and I) will flourish. My life has been an adventure in learning to live well, even those times when I seemed to doing the opposite. Many times, the people in my life have credited me with helping them find hope and inspiration and direction in their own journeys to living well; occasionally a bittersweet pleasure when I reflected on my own situation at the time, stalled (or so I thought) in one way or another on my own journey.

Ever a work in progress, I confess that that fear will not leave me, no matter what I achieve with the rest of my life. But rather than call it a fear, I prefer to see it as a motivating force, and I have placed my own interpretation of that quote on the top of my monitor, to remind myself every day, not just for New Year, what it's all about:

"I will live my life as fully and as well as I know how to live."

Since I'm always learning, every single day, I know I will find new ways to fulfill that aim, and to share that knowledge with the world.

At 42, I can finally call myself a writer. It's what I know. I might not be the best writer in the world, or even an extensively published one (yet!), but it's one of the things that makes my soul sing.

In 2010, I will be living my life as I fully as I can, one day at a time. Read about it here, or in other places shortly to be unveiled. And go gently into the new year and decade yourselves, with love and light in your hearts. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cricket song

The cricket song is reverberating in my ears now, as the last of the light fades. It's funny - moments after stepping out of the car this weekend, my brother's girlfriend was asking me what all the noise was, and it took a moment's pause and a re-tuning of my mental filters before I realized she was referring to the crickets. And yes, they ARE loud.

In our own everyday environment, we become used to certain sounds, smells, sights. In my world, much of the light and colour and sound comes from my little boy. He was long-ago nicknamed "the EveryReady Kid" (a nod to a battery advertisement) for his astonishing energy and ability to be "on", and on the go, from the moment he opens his eyes till the moment his eyes (and mouth) finally close.

Right now, for all the incredible reverberations of the crickets and the murmur of the TV in the background, my house is quiet. It's not unusual for him not to be here - he spends every second weekend with his father, and has been doing 4 days a week at preschool this year. Yet, somehow, when his father picked him up for their Christmas holiday in Northern Queensland, something stilled inside my house, and within me. This will be the first time my little man sees Christmas in without me, and me without him.

Sadness is probably not the right word for the feeling I'm experiencing. Fairness demands that I recognize that his father has already been through this last year, when I took the wee man to my mother's for Christmas, and I'm nothing if not fair.

Part of me is actually quite exultant at the unique pleasure of a quiet, stress-free, totally-mine-to-do-as-I-please Christmas week. I've an invite to a street party on Christmas Eve, which I'm looking forward to, but apart from a last bit of shopping and groceries tomorrow I plan to make like a hermit, and immerse myself in writing and developing the various projects I am setting up for the New Year. (More on that in the near future...look, I'm even going to have time to blog!)

Yet, as well as fair I'm also honest, and it's true that not being able to watch my baby's face light up as he realizes that, once again, the magic of Christmas has touched his world and the jolly fellow in the red suit has heeded his dreams is going to be worthy of the odd tearful moment.

But don't feel sorry for me. Think about all the things I'm going to get done! After all, it's so quiet....

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Journey Inwards

If last year, 2008, was all about moving back out into the world - more volunteer activities, coordinating an event, running for local council - then, for me, 2009 has surely been the year of turning inwards.

I've come to see it as part of the healing process after my marriage breakdown, as I regained my spirit and focus after feeling lost for so many years. Last year, I needed to be able to do things for people because helping others helped me. Using my skills and passion and drive in service to others without having to justify it to anyone was a freedom I delighted in.

Sounds sad when I put it on the page, and I dare say it is. Anyone who has come from a relationship hedged about with suspicion and justification and fear will know what I mean.

Since I put the Fun Day to bed earlier this year, I have found myself turning further and further inwards. As this is the last year the wee man will be in the preschool/playgroup world, my time on the various committees I have served with is coming to an end. With each AGM rolling around, and new people taking over my positions, I have felt a sense of relief.

I have come to realise that this year has been about drawing back and turning my focus on me, and what I need now and where I am heading in the future. The future that I am creating for myself and the wee man. Examining all that esoteric stuff about who I am, and what my purpose is here on earth, and how I can better align myself with this purpose...

I have spent much time on the Internet this year, yet almost no time blogging or sharing much of my internal life online (apart from an on-going flirtation with Facebook...but, for me, that is an extension of my real-life world.).  What I have been doing is learning...and also, learning about learning.

Yes, I am returning to school. I have finally enrolled to do the university degree I deferred nearly 25 years ago, a dual major in Writing and Media.

I have also been absorbing as much as I can, from the incredible resources available for free on the 'Net, about freelance writing and article marketing and internet marketing and Wordpress and platform building. So much information, in fact, that I have resolved to do 2 things: become more focused in my reading, and take action as I read. I am limping through the set-up of my first online writing portfolio...I say limping because I feel totally inadequate doing it, and am of course absolutely unimpressed with my first efforts...and intend to experiment with some other simpler web-pages in the coming weeks to use as launchpads for various online enterprises.

Doesn't sound very esoteric or deep-and meaningful, does it? What it does sound like is a way to provide for myself and my boy, to give me the freedom to study and apply and hone my skills. A lifelong dream of myself as a published author doesn't seem so far away when I am actually writing and being paid for my writing, even if that is just small change for article mills and magazine fillers. Learning to craft ebooks about topics I can write with clarity and passion, and set up to sell 24/7, seems like the next logical thing to do.

And creating a structure for my writing, making a habit of it, is the best remedy for the procrastination I have struggled with for so many years. I'm starting my uni course as an external student, accessing lectures and tutors and coursework online, so I can't afford to let myself procrastinate.

So does this mean I'm going to be blogging more often again? Have I come out of my little cave, finished with my navel-gazing? Well, it's been rather quiet and peaceful in there....but next time, I might take you with me.

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