sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

August 14, 2013

half: a reckoning
posted by soe 11:54 pm

Significant events inspire momentous change.

Folk singer Ellis Paul wrote a song when he and his wife were expecting their first child, “Nine Months to Fix the World,” that talked about his need to make the world a better place for his new infant. Ebeneezer Scrooge saw the past and the future and decided to turn his life around.

My event is neither so significant as a pregnancy nor my change so momentous as a complete 180 in my life. But it is somewhat important — at least to me:

Six months from today I turn 40.

And I want to be a different sort of 40-year old than the adult I’ve become.

A couple years back it occurred to me suddenly that my teen self would be highly unimpressed with the thirtysomething me. Oh, she’d give me props that I’d made it this far. I was a depressed kid and could never visualize an adulthood for myself, so to be approaching 40 would have been significant from that perspective.

But what I’ve done with the past 20 years would not have impressed her. I’ve spent far too much time coasting, treading water, allowing my life to be shaped by the currents around me, rather than being an active player in it. Sure, I have Rudi and my family and friends, some for decades now, who give my life flavor. I’ve done a couple of things in my professional life that are worth counting in the positive column, and certainly the organizations I’ve worked for have done good works.

But I’ve allowed any dreams I had as a teenager to wilt. And I haven’t planted new ones to replace them. I haven’t worked hard to improve the world around me.

So I’ve been taking steps to right my course. I started playing volleyball again once a week. I’ve been exercising more, trying to bike places more and to eat better (most days).

And when an online friend decided to offer a course aimed at improving your writing practice, after some deliberation and angst (and nausea), I signed up. I’m three days in and just received the assignment for tomorrow. In it, Amanda included a quote from author Anne Lamott, who mused about how the act of writing is its own reward. And suddenly I remembered I used to feel that way. I haven’t in a long time (although I do sometimes love having composed something). And I’ll be interested to see if I will again.

So I’ll be writing 15 minutes a day five days a week for the next while in an effort to see if putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) has a place in my life.

Because, honestly, if I don’t, if writing doesn’t hold a spark for me anymore, it’s time to let it go as a dream and to figure out what I do love.

Because life is too short — and too long — to keep doing things unquestioned or to stay the course when a change in direction will lead to a better destination.

Forty isn’t the end of the road, but it is a pretty good mile marker.

I’ve got six months to make my teen self proud. Starting … now.

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