Falling Asleep at the wheel of your life 12



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?


About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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12 thoughts on “Falling Asleep at the wheel of your life

  • Jim

    Time is short, so keep on. Enroll in a graduate degree program at UMASS. Or on the web somewhere. Or not. From where I sit it looks like you’re not letting lost years prevent you from losing more. Go sister! Keep your chin up.

  • Caroline

    I definitely hear where you’re coming from because I’ve had second careers and 2nd/3rd “phases.” If we looked at our lives as one continuous path towards a specific result/end goal, probably about 99.9% of the population would consider themselves failures. There’s still time for yet another career/phase. I know you know this – don’t want to be too preachy. Just wanted to let you know that I can relate and that I’ve admired the way you’ve managed the changing circumstances in your life.

    Also, thanks for the “carpayed the effin’ diem” line. It is hilarious and made me laugh out loud in an otherwise not-so-hilarious day.

  • Candelaria

    It’s good to not feel alone and have the comments from someone I admire tremendously for seeming to have a clear path in her life.
    I’m glad I made you laugh out loud.  Hopefully, tomorrow will be a lighter day.

  • Amy M.

    You have done what you have HAD to do if not always what you wanted to do. There’s a lot to be said for that. If you hadn’t lived the exact life you’ve lived up until now, you wouldn’t be the person you are and wouldn’t be where you are and who you are now. I will be 34 in a couple of weeks and I know that probably sounds really young to you, but when I look back at all the different forks I’ve already made decisions at…I don’t feel so young and I have no doubt that I’ll always look back. Some times I just have to remind myself that there are a lot of things about myself and my life that I’d not trade for the chance at a do over. Most days, I bet you’d say the same. Keep writing and showing us all a different perspective.

  • Candelaria

    Thank you so much for your comment and for reminding me that I looked back when I was younger, too.
    And yuu’re right, everything we do makes us who we are.  If you change one thing you don’t know what else may have changed.
    Carpe diem!

  • Anali

    “I should have carpayed the effin’ diem.”

    Now that is a great line! And the children’s book and cupcake store sounds awesome! I guess we’re all trying to figure this whole life on earth thing out…

  • Candelaria

    You’re the second person who’s like that line!”  Thanks for responding.  And, yes, we’re all trying to figure it out.

  • LeeAnn

    Heh! I liked that line too and was thinkin, “When you figure it out, call me!” Too many days when I think, “How did this happen? Who was driving? or! Is this my life, really?” Well, what did I expect? and all in all, you know – it’s really a fine life. And I probably couldn’t have most of what’s in this fine life if I’d been writing children’s books and doing local theater. I sure wish I’d found some better way to support myself…but I suppose it will come, probably while I don’t know who’s drivin :) Like everything else.