Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Don't let this happen.

"Oh my God.  What if you wake up some day, and you're 65 or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or didn't go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid?  It's going to break your heart.  
Don't let this happen."  
-Anne Lamott

I was minding my business (well not really, as I was perusing Facebook), when I found this tonight.  In a moment's notice, I was thrust into my elderly age, looking back on my life, and considering  how it would feel to have not accomplished my heart's list of desires--my ultimate life aspirations; my purpose.

And it devastated me. 

So I got out of bed, headed to my desktop where I can actually type at a fluid rate, and sat down with a banana and some peanut butter to contemplate Anne's forewarning.  

I'm a woman of many aspirations.  I struggle with perfectionism.  I struggle with wanting to find the next best thing to challenge myself.  I am consistently overwhelmed by time and the lack of it in 24 hours, yet I rebel against a full calendar, and for the most part, I fly by the seat of my pants (with some slight organization and scheduling).  

And I see it doing me a disservice.

Here's the truth.  I've hardly been writing--beyond the necessary, at least.  I haven't even looked at those chapters that I wrote, in years. And what's that thing I was writing called--a proposal?  I stopped working on that about four years ago, and I'm positive I might cringe at everything I wrote during that time frame.  No, I'm positive I would want to huck it out the window.  But when I finally get up the nerve to plug in that external hard drive, I'll try and remind myself that even Anne Lamott writes shitty first drafts.   

Shitty and near non-existent, I still feel obligated to that piece of writing; the story--as it continues to evolve, the emotions that are tied to those years and the memories that wrecked me for a time, but gave me a reason to have a reason to fight for myself.  And I feel tied to it knowing I'm the only one who can give it life, and that the actual writing is the only way to uncover the pieces and offer them up, no longer as a lingering metaphor of my life, but a soliloquy of redemption. 

The heart of the matter is that there's a nudging inside that never quite lets up.  The force and the frequency may die down, but it never quite lets up, and I can't ignore it away. 

I may not have until I'm 65 or 75.

And the work is far less painful than the regret.  
I'll put my money that.

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“You must write every single day of your life... You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads... may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.” ― Ray Bradbury
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