I tell my kids they can be whatever they want when they grow up. At varying times, Story wants to be a paleontologist, a dog walker, a veterinarian, a farmer, an artist. Mason wants to be “a big boy” (at two, what more could a kid want?). I embrace these dreams, big and small. We nurture their interests and encourage them to try all the activities that spark their interests at any given time because hey, who knows if they’ll be soccer stars or incredible pianists, or poets or swimmers? We don’t know. We spread the world out in front of them and let them choose their paths, as winding as they may be. We cannot know where their lives will take them or what they’ll choose to do, but we can facilitate choice, at the very least. We provide them with education, experiences, opportunities to hear about other peoples’ lives — we try our best to support them as they grow. We want them to be happy in whatever they choose to do.
But what about me?
My husband has a fulfilling career; one he very much enjoys and finds great challenge and reward in. He also has wonderful hobbies that he has parlayed into side jobs and opportunities. I love that. I love that he loves what he does. His skills are many and varied: math, design, tech, automotive… he is a veritable renaissance man. I’d be insanely jealous of his skills if I wasn’t so proud of the guy.
But what about me?
I’m on the downhill slide to forty and I still don’t have a clue what I want to be when I grow up. Well, that’s not entirely true. I know want to be a writer, but I’m finding it incredibly difficult to hone those skills, find opportunities to get my name out there, and to see these dreams fulfilled. I write and write and write every single day. I write on paper, I type private and public posts, I create sentences and stories in my head. There is nothing more fulfilling to me than spilling words out of my mind and knowing they resonate with someone, somewhere.
Is this enough, then? To do what I love with no financial reward? I made myself a promise for 2012 that by the end of the year I would be published, finally. I decided to just make it happen; to take the advice from people and do that which scared the everliving shit out of me. I approached editors and asked to be assigned something. I’ve pitched ideas (repeatedly, and been denied) and taken notes, and I keep on keepin’ on. That dream of being published came true (twice!) thanks to Today’s Parent. But what next? Where do I go from here?
I lack the confidence in my skills. (Do I suck?) I lack the knowledge of the industry. (Am I being a pest when I email that editor a thousand times?) I lack so much that I feel inferior and unsure and stuck doing nothing. (Is this a sign that this isn’t my place?)
Will I ever really know? Or is this enough? Is this the time I just kick my own ass and make it happen or am I deluding myself? Time to grow up, self.