The year that I have been twenty-eight has been one that has had more ups than downs and one that has been about choices. The past year wasn’t the year that I was expecting to have, as I’ve previously mentioned, but it was a good year.
One of my favorite openings to a novel is the opening to Their Eyes Were Watching God:
Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men.
Now, women forget all those things they don’t want to remember, and remember everything they don’t want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly.”
The reason I’ve rolled out this quote is because in the year of twenty-eight, I have stopped waiting for the ship of dreams to “come in with the tide.” I’ve also stopped watching it “sail forever on the horizon.” At this point I’m acting and doing accordingly.
One year ago today, I may have been filled with a different kind of excitement. I had thoughts of an imminent happily ever after dancing in my head. I had gotten great reviews on the job, had a wonderful vacation two months prior in New Orleans, paid off a car, and was moving forward, finally, in my relationship. Even though the car had been totaled, this very day I rode out of the dealership in a car with a much better interest rate that was a lot newer. But there were things missing–those dreams.
I was still kind of pursuing the writing thing but not really. I was keeping it in my sights, writing when the inspiration struck and getting caught up in research, but it wasn’t going anywhere. I had bought a domain for my website, but getting it up and working was slow going. I knew I was on a crash course with a character that I’d created, Maggie. I was going to be that woman who was going back to her high school reunion, not having lived up to her potential, without being published or married or living the life she dreamed. And that sucked a little bit. or a lot.
While I didn’t leave the gate running, I did get out of it, and during the year I was (and still am until Monday) twenty-eight, I accomplished more than I could’ve imagined:
- I finished the bulk of my Marriage Kit book (I’ll reveal the title on my birthday, maybe?)
- I went to my 10 year high school reunion and didn’t die of jealousy, embarrassment, and/or envy.
- I entered So You Think You Can Write.
- I completed NaNoWriMo 2013 successfully for the first time.
- I took on more responsibilities at work and received a stellar review.
- I bought the domain for my writing site.
- I found a beta reader and two critique partners.
- I joined the online Harlequin Community.
- I began reviewing for Harlequin Junkie.
- I began reviewing on my writing blog.
- I revised my NaNoWriMo story, Delivering Justice.
- I entered two pitch contests and received requests from both.
- I entered Cupid’s Lit Connections’ Blind Speed Dating Contest to find an agent.
- I submitted Delivering Justice to an editor upon request (!!!).
- I’ve gotten up at 5am consistently to read and review books, write and revise my manuscripts, and outline future books.
In other words, I acted and did things accordingly. There are still dreams to be gone after, areas in which I haven’t ticked off as many boxes as I would like–health & beauty, fitness, relationships and networking, financially–but I’m pretty proud of the strides that I made in the past year.
One of the reasons I love the image of ships at a distance having dreams on board is because it evokes moment. Our dreams are traveling things, whether towards us or away from us. Sometimes they change on us when our back is turned or aren’t quite what we’d hoped they’d be when we do get to them. But the best part of dreams is what they show us about ourselves.
Standing around waiting for your ship to come in, with hope or dread, has never been my style. I’d let it become a habit to wait for things to come my way, but this year I finally realized that waiting is a lot more active than I’ve given it credit for being. A time of waiting is a time of preparing, of anticipating, or positioning yourself so that you are ready when the time comes to act, to accept. Waiting requires just as much work as having when it’s done right. I feel like I’ve actively waited this year instead of waiting for the tide to bring things in. That feels good. And right. And more like me than I’ve felt in a very long time.
So 29 has a tough act to follow. I’ve kicked butt and didn’t stop to take names this year. Like most objects in motion, I intend to stay in motion. I hope you all can keep up. 😉