Have you ever had that feeling when you wonder, what the hell have I been doing?When did I falter? Where was the fork in the road that didn’t notice? How did I fall asleep at the wheel of my life?
I mean I was driving – right?
Actually, I was coasting. I was waiting. Waiting for it to find me.
The “it” being life, not realizing that each day I lived was my life.
I should have carpayed the effin’ diem.
How could I have made choices so obviously wrong or, more to the point, how could I not have pursued choices so much wiser for me?
Warning: Pity party ahead or maybe not. Maybe we’ll just call it some clear-eyed observations at this point-in-my life cycle. I realized the other day that I should have pursued my desire to be a librarian. It was something I wanted to do when I was a kid. Who loves books, reading, talking about books, sharing books more than me? I’m in fact, a pusher of books that’s how much they thrill me.
I did sell books for a while and was a multicultural literature specialist in the early 80s but I didn’t have good business skills and my marriage was going down the toilet. If I’d had better focus perhaps I would have pursued and made something out of it. I wouldn’t have made a lot of money but the satisfaction factor I think would have been huge. (I also reviewed books but never was able to make a living doing it. At the time, receiving free books was all the payment I wanted.)
My sister and I toy with the idea of having a children’s book and cupcake store or some other kind of hybrid business that links our loves together.
Another goal that I’ve pursued in fits and starts is to be a published writer. I have two picture book manuscripts under consideration currently and have a middle school novel on the way out the door (again). I’ve had small publishing successes but…the ones that almost happened are legendary. (What if Essence had published the story they accepted lo those many years ago? What if Ms. magazine had published my piece instead of having a deep debate about it and decided it wasn’t right but offering me encouragement. What if Little, Brown had selected a version of the manuscript we went back and forth about?) I’ve gotten close…
What if I hadn’t let life issues, like having to work and being a single parent delay my commitment? What if I wasn’t able to get satisfaction from the jobs I had and had been unrelenting in pursuing the goal of being a published writer?
Looking back things seem so clear but while going through my life, the opportunities and choices were out-of-focus and sometimes not noticed at all. All I can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other and pursue my goals with all t he resources I can muster. Still, some days it is easy to look back and wonder, “What the hell happened? How did those years and dreams get away?