With age comes wisdom.
Honestly, having reached forty-one, I don’t know nothin’ ’bout no wisdom, but with age I have found …
FREEDOM! Yes, a bit of Braveheart-channeling.
Childhood was fun. Family, school, friends. All was well.
The teen years were, well, let’s face it horrible. With no idea who I was or wanted to be, I sat stuck in the in-between world of who-the-heck-had-a-clue! The world opened the curtain just a bit, giving a sneak peek of where I must venture after leaving the safety of childhood. That scared the bleepity-bleep-bleep out of me even more than the monster under my bed.
I’m not one to jump into anything. I sit back, I watch, I listen. Change frightens me.
But that’s what my twenties brought, the years of change … college, marriage, and moving to a different state. Hello, world. Years of fear as I stepped away from everything I knew. The shy, dateless wonder found a boyfriend. Whaaaat? I know! But for months I was scared to death to let him kiss me or hold my hand.
College ended, I got married, moved, and months later, hubs and I bought a house, into which I retreated. A new place, new everything had me frozen in fear.
My mid-twenties brought depression. I had nothing to give the world with still no idea who I was or what I wanted. My hubs didn’t understand, I didn’t understand. My family was far away. No friends. No job. I only existed as a wife. But what about me? My life had no purpose.
So I fled into the world. I volunteered, painting sets at the local theater and becoming a Big for Big Brothers/ Big Sisters (a story for later). I got a full time job and joined a kickboxing class. Sounds like a lot? I know. That was the point. Home was full of sadness and I didn’t want to be there. Have you ever seen the movie ‘Yes Man’? Exactly! I said yes to everything, eventually learning what I really wanted. Wisdom? No, I had no idea that I had found a solution. Only looking back do I see what I had done. A bit of magic.
At the end of my twenties I became a stay-at-home mother of two. Wow. With age and motherhood comes complete terror. Babies scare me. But I, finally, had enough faith in myself to tackle the challenge.
So I entered the land of thiry-something and the world began to make sense. The mom thing was going well, slightly insane, but healthy and happy. And I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up!
A writer. And typing all the words felt good. Creating all the characters and worlds, filling pages and pages with crazy notes, made me happy.
The work of stay-at-home mom kept me busy (still does). Through all the kids’ activities and housework, I continued to make stuff up and write it down. Then came another big step, venturing out into the land of queries, of putting your work (so basically yourself) out there. So, as usual, I waited, I watched, I read books and took classes on the subject. I wrote and wrote more. I entered story contests, earning honorable mentions and eventually placing ninth. Hmmm … maybe I could do this writing thing. I submitted to a magazine and had a short story accepted for publication, causing the joyous scream heard ’round the world. A new sense of me emerged. Of course, wrapped in the joy was the pain of rejections like a knife to the heart.
I was invited to come to a writers’ group. Hmm … a place to read and get feedback. That sounded new and fun and incredibly scary. But in the wonderland of thirty-something, I had gained a bit more magical freedom of me.
Lately, I just don’t worry about all those things 20 or 30-something me stressed about. So what if I fail? Failure only means I’m trying, which can lead to ALL THE DREAMS.
So now. I get a rejection and shrug. Not the first, not the last. You don’t like my writing? That’s okay. I love getting comments on my work, whatever you got, bring it on. Every critique helps make my writing better. I have settled in to my writers’ group, who have accepted me even after I revealed my true (completely crazy) self.
A group forms on Twitter? I jump on board. A writing contest? I’m in! And a blog … why not? 20-something me would have run and hid.
Did I get wiser? I don’t know. I’d like to think so, but really I found a love of me, the creative, slightly talented, insane world of me. Just add fairy dust, I could fly. The opinions of others can’t take my power. Not that I don’t care what people think, because I do, but not to the point where it brings me down. I’m old enough to be happy in my own skin, to be free.
Defying Gravity is my favorite song from the musical ‘Wicked’. I have been playing it loudly and often in my car. You should hear me belt out that tune! Or not. Here’s a bit, just let the words set you free.
“So if you care to find me
Look to the Western sky
As someone told me lately:
‘Everyone deserves the chance to fly’
And if I’m flying solo
At least I’m flying free
To those who’d ground me
Take a message back from me:
Tell them how I
Am defying gravity
I’m flying high
And soon I’ll match them in renown
And nobody in all of Oz
No Wizard that there is or was
Is ever gonna bring me down”
From the musical ‘Wicked’ lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Have you reached the age of freedom? Isn’t it great?