I spent a large part of my life planning for what I would do in the future: travel, have children, write, etc. I stopped planning and started living a few years back now. I can honestly say that if I discovered I had only one week to live, I wouldn’t change a thing – though I might strive to finish the book I’m working on!
When I was young I dreamt of traveling the world. When I entered adulthood, I planned to visit all the foreign lands I’d read about and explore their cultures. But then life intervened. The necessity of having a job put a major crimp in my travel plans. And the older I got, the more I thought traveling alone was just kind of sad. When I married the first time, I thought my husband and I would travel together; unfortunately, our goals didn’t mesh well. When the marriage failed, I finally started traveling.
When I married Dan, I wanted children. A lot. To the point that I was willing to pursue fertility treatments that we couldn’t afford. It took Dan, my voice of reason, months – possibly years – to convince me that not having children didn’t make me a failure.
My dream was always to write, but I never believed I was good enough. I started and abandoned many manuscripts over the years because I doubted my talent. Then, two years ago, I went to Dan and asked him to have faith in my abilities. Though he’d never read anything I’d written but a few short stories, poems, and essays, he agreed to let me pursue my dream. I started writing and haven’t looked back. Today, I will have 35K words on my sixth novel.
I have learned this: stop planning the journey; start walking. Accept your life and your talents just as they are and keep moving forward. Standing around waiting for a bus to carry you into the future you want doesn’t work; no bus is coming. Start walking.