What it Means to be a Writer

I have been writing ever since I can remember.  I have many flower printed journals filled with the childhood adventures I had with my cat.  Journals about absolutely nothing.  I can’t really say why I even started a journal other than I just wanted to, and my mother bless her heart kept buying me flower printed notebooks to fill.

I also have bits and pages of the times I attempted to write books from my overactive imagination.  I never got very far; I wasn’t patient enough for that.   I still tried though because writing has always been a part of who I am.  It is just as much inherently who I am as my stubbornness.

The books I have been reading about career and purpose all mention going back to what our childhood self wanted.  I had a list of things I wanted to do when I grew up including:  Lawyer, Detective, Vet, and Wedding Planner.

Despite how much of my childhood was spent writing, it never made that list.  I am not sure why other than I suppose I never thought of writing as something I could do when I got older, (Other than buying more adult leather-bound journals to fill).  This whole time I have been exploring the things I dreamed of doing as a child, that not once did I explore the thing I had actually been doing since I was a child.

Writing PC - Carolina Mila

Photo Credit: Carolina Mila

A writer in my mind has always been this grand term.  The type of person who is magic with words and strikes that magic into our hearts.   As if the type of people who write things that others want to read are somehow just better than the rest of us.

I had this idea in my head that you had to be someone special in order to write.  At least to write anything that you wanted to bother others to read.  I am neither magical or special.  I am just a girl with too many thoughts in her head and too big of an imagination.  I started sharing my writing anyways, because I thought that maybe someone, anyone would want to read it.  The weird thing was that people did want to read it.  I am still trying to figure out why, but at least I know that I don’t have to be special to write.

In fact, the only magic writers have is the courage to be honest.

What it means to be a writer, what it really means is quite simple.  You just have to be honest with your thoughts, and have the courage to let others read them.

So you want to be a writer?  Good, start by sharing your deepest thoughts with complete strangers.

Okay you don’t have to start with your deepest thoughts.  We can work up to that, because it is hard and scary.  You might as well be saying,  “Here have a look into my brain, but please don’t think that I am crazy, egotistical, or mentally unstable.”  Or worse maybe you will think that my ideas are stupid and my grammar is terrible.  (I will admit my grammar really is terrible.  I don’t like following rules, especially grammar rules.)   

I have been telling people for a while that I am thinking about law school.  But only recently have I started telling people that I am also considering writing school.  Saying it out loud makes it seem more real.  I like that way it feels as it rolls off my tongue – glistening and sweet.  More importantly, I like that it feels right.

Writing is a door that I have never explored in my life, and I am oh so curious as to what lies behind it.

Maybe you are like me, and think that you aren’t magical enough to be a writer.  Maybe you are right, or maybe you are wrong.  There is really only one way to find out.  Try.  

Oh you might fail.  In fact you might fail a lot.  But then one day, one seemingly normal day when you are about to give up, you just might make it.

Following Breadcrumbs & Finding Purpose

I have been restless and relentless.  Searching for the answer to the daunting question of “What am I going to do with my life?”  It has turned into my own little research project.  I have read as many books as I can get my hands on, and talked to as many people who will answer my questions.

I was desperate.  Desperate to not end up doing the same job that I hated for the next 40 years of my life.  Desperate to not miss my calling, my purpose.  Desperate for answers that no one seemed to have. Desperate for some lightning bulb, neon sign, or message from above that would tell me what to do with my life.

All I got was breadcrumbs.

Little bits and pieces of information that I was somehow suppose to puzzle together into an answer.  I started listening for the little pings that went off in my heart when something felt right.  Slowly I started to form a little breadcrumb trail of pings.  A trail that could be easily overlooked if one was instead looking for a neon sign.  I haven’t figured out where I am going yet, but with each new ping I feel like I am getting one step closer.

I think it is normal for young people to feel lost in life.  Maybe old people feel this way too, I don’t know I haven’t made it that far yet.  If we are honest, we can admit we have no idea where we are going, but when we stop to take a look at how we got here, we can realize just how far we have already come.

I think about all of the places I have been, and all of the places I am going.  When I look at where I have been, I feel successful. Not in the tradition sense as I am far from being rich or famous.  But I feel successful in the way of relationships, memories, and adventures that money can’t buy.

Successful is maybe the wrong word, but I like to think of success in broader terms than the traditional sense.  I heard a story of a friend of a friend who had spent his whole life building an empire, only to find himself old and with no one to give it to.  I thought this sounded like the saddest way to live a life, yet often that is how we define success.

The friend who told me that story has been running a camp with his family for about as long as I have been alive.  He has little to leave to those behind him after he dies, but that is because he has already left so much.  He has lived one of the richest lives I know, and he has made others lives richer because of it.  That is the type of life that I want to live.

When I think about the future my life could hold it is exciting but overwhelming, because in the grand scheme of my life I seem too little.  I am left feeling like life didn’t know my shoe size so it gave me ones that were way too big.  Shoes I desperately want to fill, but know I never can.

Then the doubt and the fear creeps in, strangling the seed of hope that sprouted there.   I begin to wonder, am I enough?  Am I really?  Do I have what it takes to keep walking forward?  Or have I been found wanting?   Who am I?

Who am I really to want these things, to believe I can chase these things?

You are you.  When has that ever not been enough?

Me

Photo Credit: Christin VanderPol

I have learned that the question “What am I going to do with my life?”  doesn’t have an answer, it is an answer.  It is an action, one that you are constantly doing, constantly adapting to.  And on the day when what you are longer doing no longer fits, that is okay.  You can do something new.  Purpose is fluid that way.  We define it with our life, rather than our life being defined by it.

Many people fear regret.  The fear of making the wrong decision can paralyze us from making any decision.  Then we grow old, and we realize that our biggest regret was not the times we stepped out of the box, but the things we never dared to try.

The beauty in life is that there are no destinations, only defining moments that change the course of our path. So run hard and jump high and trust yourself to make it to the other side.  Follow your breadcrumb trail and know that where ever you end up, where ever you are, it is a good place to be.

“What actually gives life meaning is the willingness to live it.” – Michael A. Singer