My dad used to get a kick out of answering the door and booming out "Who are you and what do you want?" It would scare the living daylight out of people . . .
Do you want to know what else is scary? Asking yourself that question.
Who am I and what do I want?
My friend recently asked me these questions and I realized I was a bit at a loss. Who do I really think I am and what do I really want?
I have a quote written in dry erase marker on my bedroom mirror, "You can have anything you want in life, but you must take action now." But what if I don't know what I want?
I think it's important to clarify what you want into two different categories: What you want and what you are willing to do (usually on a daily basis) to get it.
You can easily say you want to be a millionaire but if you don't want to work your butt off and take risks and be humble enough to learn from people who've done it . . . than you are probably not going to ever become a millionaire.
I do believe the quote though. I believe that people can have whatever they want--like really practically anything. It's just a matter of what you're willing to do and sacrifice in order to get it. And that maybe some of those dreams pretty much need to become an exclusive dream--it seems you have to give up just about everything else to get that golden egg.
So I find myself wondering . . . what eggs (golden or not) do I really want? And maybe it's my own personal limiting belief that some of the things I want are "golden" and that I can't "have it all."
But I know the other mom's out there have got to be feeling a bit like me right? It's just so hard. I want it all and my egg basket is just not big enough to hold it all.
I want to be a writer . . . like really a writer with published books and lots of readers.
I want to be a mom . . . like really a mom who's always there for my kiddos for all the daily and spontaneous craziness.
I want to be a wife . . . like really a wife who's passionate and Elmers-glue-tight to my husband.
And maybe an artist . . .
Plus . . . all the other things. The list is a mile long of all the things I want to do and be and give and learn.
And then I get overwhelmed and all the eggs splatter onto the ground. Plus there's that one Golden Egg I'm after . . . the "writer" one. I look at other authors, and what they've given up to get there and I find myself shrinking away. I just see so many of them unhappy; burned out or overwhelmed and disappointed or full of anxiety. Is it really possible to stay grounded and balanced? To be happy with all you have and all you want? But I suppose that is more of a "being a human" question and less of a "being a writer" question. I think we are all plagued with doubt and disappointment and worry . . . plus a myriad of other thoughts and feelings weighing us down regardless of our calling in life.
I think my own major hang-up is daily motivation and faith that I can fit it all in and deciding how much I want to treat my writing like a job. I know not every writer struggles with this, but I also know I'm not the only one. In fact, I even struggle calling myself a writer most of the time. When people ask what I do I'm like "I write . . . but nothing published yet." Like that's a stipulation that must be disclosed. Like maybe I'm not a "real" writer since I haven't ever actually made a dime from my writing.
But . . .
I've been doing some soul searching and I've decided I need to gather up all my eggs (even the broken ones) and pile them up in my basket and trudge forward on my journey of life and stop looking around at all the people that are behind and ahead of me and stop worrying so much about what they think and what "might be." Because the who that I am and the what that I want is really not contingent on anyone else and their paths or their plan. I am me, and the world is open to all the possibilities I want to make of it.
And as far as writing goes I've decided that I need to get off the fence and give it my heart. It's taken me a long long time to realize why I even want to be a writer and why I want to get published and I've finally come to the conclusion that I want to do it because I can and because the journey is fun. Fun has always been one of my major motivators in life and I've let everything get so clouded by other peoples definitions of their "why's" that I've forgotten my own. Going to conferences and learning from other authors has been so good in some aspects and so damaging in others. I've let everyone telling me how hard it is being an author discourage me and get me down. And I've let other peoples definitions of what motivates me degrade my own. I've been searching and searching for my "why" behind my motivation to write and to become published and I keep skirting around the true answer because it just didn't sound good enough. But the truth is that I want to write and I want to ride that train to publication because it sounds fun! It's like a challenge, or a treasure hunt. I feel like I've been given this map of writing talent mixed with the pure gift of having lived a life full of loving family and friends who have fostered my talents and it honestly feels like it would be such an absolute waste if I didn't grab hold of that map and jump into the adventure--full throttle. And yes, there is sure to be disappointments and rejections but really . . . any true adventure would be boring without opposition.
So . . . with this conviction comes the clarity that, while I may not need to treat my writing like a "job," ('cause BLEAH jobs are so totally un-"fun") I do need to treat it with the respect and commitment it deserves. I need to give back to writing what it has given to me. I've got to take that little map that I've been given with all it's missing pieces and tattered edges and make it into something even more than what I've been given. Because I know that I can hunt down that golden egg and I'm just going to have to hold on tight to all those other eggs of mine and learn to stretch myself further and maybe even let go of a few of the unimportant one's, because this bird's about to take flight, we've got treasure to uncover . . .and it's going to be one heck of an adventure.