These past few months of living on my own have taught me so much about myself and life – more than I ever thought possible. One of the things I have come to realize with startling clarity is that what is meant to be, will be. The importance of waiting. That everything will fall into place in due time.
This truth has played out in my life in countless ways in the events of this past year. Each instance more awe-inspiring than the last. And of course what they say about hindsight being 20/20 is dead right. Things I didn’t understand at the time make so much sense now. The times things didn’t work out the way I wanted them to and also the times things went perfectly right.
I think too many times we’re in a hurry and force things to happen the way we want it and when we want it. I now know, beyond all doubt, that this is a mistake. If something is meant to be, it will be. And it will be what it will be in its own time. Making things happen on our terms only creates more problems.
Now I’m not by any means suggesting that we should just sit back and let life happen to us. Far from it! I believe in doing, not just dreaming. That life is what we make of it. But when we have to force our life to go in a certain direction, then the time is not yet right. What we want – or rather what we need – is on the other side of a closed door. We have to get up and open the door, but if we find ourselves trying to kick it in, then maybe we aren’t meant to be opening that particular door at this particular moment in our lives. The trick is learning how to tell if the door is truly locked or if it’s just stuck. And that knowledge only comes with experience.
As I look back on this past year, I am reminded of how good God is and how amazing life can be. So many things have happened and so much has changed. I’ve grown as a person in more ways than I can count. I’ve learned that not everyone is as honest as I am. But also that most people are good for the most part. I’ve discovered that it is really cool to be one of the popular ones. I have found that if you work hard and keep a cheerful attitude, success is the natural result. Especially if you are working at a job that you love and that you were meant to do. I’ve made new friends and had new experiences. I have learned that I like thousand island dressing. And that I don’t need anyone else to be complete. I feel like I have found something that I was missing – I don’t know exactly what, or how to describe it, but I feel whole again. Never in my wildest dreams could I ever have imagined where I would be this New Year’s. Nor did I ever think I would be this happy, this fulfilled, this content with who I am. 2017 has truly been an awesome, incredible year for me. I look forward with much anticipation to 2018.
My New Year’s resolutions are few and simple:
To spend less, to save more.
To try to get back into the habit of working out.
To write with something resembling regularity.
And to continue enjoying every minute of this crazy, beautiful, amazing thing called life.
Whether your 2017 was good or bad or somewhere in between, may your 2018 be awesome and blessed and crazy and delicious and everything you hope it will be. Happy New Year, y’all!
Wow. Hard to believe it’s November already. How time does fly. Especially when you are as busy as my new life has been here lately. I’ve been working two full-time jobs for a while now, which left little time for anything except sleeping. Precious little time even for that. But it’s been good. And one job just gave me a promotion and a raise, so the other has been downgraded to part-time. Which has given me more time for sleeping and catching up on other things as well.
I’m loving this new life that I’m building for myself. It’s been a really long time since I have been this happy. My job is fulfilling in a way I didn’t know work could be. I feel like I am where I’m meant to be. As it turns out, where I’m meant to be is a grocery store – which isn’t a career that I ever considered when thinking about my future. But I absolutely love it. What’s funny is that my dad used to work at a grocery store. Which I had forgotten until he reminded me of it. It just feels right, you know? Like everything has come full circle, as if this were meant to be. I don’t believe in coincidence or things happening by chance. I believe everything happens for a reason.
Aside from work, my new life is amazing. I’m fully enjoying my new-found freedom. My take-charge, independent personality really needed it. Even I didn’t realize how much until I actually experienced it for myself. It’s like life was stifling me before and now I can breathe freely. It’s amazing and wonderful and exhilarating. I feel like I have truly found myself these past few months. Like something was missing and I didn’t even realize it. I don’t exactly know how to describe it, but, for the first time in a long time, I feel complete.
Dirt Road Princess moves to the big city. Now there’s a headline for you. Or perhaps not – I suppose country girls move to the big city all the time. But it’s kind of a big deal for me. Moving away from home for the first time is always a big deal. More so, perhaps, for a late bloomer such as myself. Particularly when moving from the country to the big city. This experience is certainly stretching me in ways I couldn’t have imagined.
The big city is, well, big. There really is no other way to describe it. Everything about it is big. Especially when you’re a lone pedestrian. Fortunately, just about everything I could ever need is right here in my own little corner of the city. Several within walking distance. And this city has a good public transit system so I can get to those places not in walking distance. Exploring my own little corner of the city has been a blast. Finding work was certainly an interesting experience and not half so difficult as I expected. Particularly for a hard-working country girl such as myself.
Living alone felt rather weird for the first couple days, but I very quickly got used to it. Being my own woman is quite an empowering experience. Now that I’ve gotten a taste of independence, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to give it up. I can do what I want, when I want, and how I want. I can make my own choices but I am also 100% responsible for the consequences of my choices. It’s a brand-new sensation – and I think I like it. I’m learning new things about myself, about life, and about other people. Just about every day offers a new experience or new information and it’s exhilarating. Makes me wonder “Why didn’t I do this years ago?”
Another birthday has come and gone. Seems like that happens more and more frequently. It’s fitting, I think, that this particular birthday should come right at this particular juncture in my life. Right at the crossroads of my past and my future. Caught in the middle of who I am and who I will be. Straddling the fence that separates the familiar from the unknown. I’ve put in my time and paid my dues, yet somehow there is still a shadow of guilt and a specter of anxiety lurking in the dark corners of my mind. But there are other emotions crowding and pushing to the front of my mind so that I hardly notice the phantom twins.
I am both excited and slightly petrified when I consider the future. But isn’t that how all the best experiences make us feel? Anything worth doing is going to call out a strong emotional response. Whenever I am doing or contemplating doing something important, I get both butterflies and a nauseated feeling. And that’s how this crossroads is making me feel. I’m learning that that’s how life goes. Change is inevitable, as are the emotions that accompany it. The only thing we control is which emotions are dominant. I’ve pushed the negative ones to the back and allowed the positives to take center stage, but it could very easily have gone the other way. Of course, since this change is of my own making, it was easier than it could have been. Some days, it’s still a struggle.
It’s the waiting that’s starting to get under my skin now. I’ve never been very good at waiting for anything and this seems particularly hard. Probably because it is such a big deal. My current stress levels are considerably higher than they probably should be. As it happens, there are a couple other big things happening in my life right now and it looks like they are all on a collision trajectory. My whole life is going to explode with big things happening in the very near future – probably all in the same week. And for now, all I can do is watch. And try not to get too stressed out. So far, I am keeping things in control. I pray I can manage that for just a few more weeks.
Last week I talked about finally admitting to my true calling. Today I’d like to talk about the process that got me to that point. It was a long, slow, at times painful process and I didn’t understand what was happening. In hindsight, I can now see how everything that happened has led me to this point in my life. And I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.
The seed of my passion for writing was planted before I could even read. I learned to love books from an early age due to my Mama reading great books to me – both picture books and otherwise. Playing pretend as a kid caused that seed to germinate. It blossomed when I read my first “real” book. As in, a book with chapters and no pictures. I even remember what that book was – a biography of Helen Keller. Her story, and the way Mama was proud of seven-year-old me, sparked a fire inside that has never gone out. The gift of my first journal for my 8th birthday sealed the deal.
The path of my true calling took a dark, but necessary, turn during my early teen years. I was never the typical overtly rebellious teenager. Instead I poured the frustration and angst of those years into words on paper. I still turn to writing when I am frustrated or upset. As I came out of that phase, my writing became something more. Lighter and more optimistic, but also more real and honest. I had found my voice. I also began to delve more into writing fiction. Looking back, some of those early efforts were cringe-worthy, but I am slowly improving. I still have not created a story that is fit to publish yet. Someday perhaps.
In the meantime, writing is both my lifeline and my outlet. It is the one thing I turn to in every situation. When I’m sad or joyful, depressed or content, angry or excited, when I feel broken inside and when I am ready to take on the world. Writing is always there for me and it is always my first reaction. That is how I know that it is my true calling. And that is how I know that I will never stop writing.
Some people seem to have it all figured out. From a young age, they know exactly who and what they are going to be and by golly that’s what they do. I am jealous of those people. By the time I graduated high school, I had emphatically decided on a career 20 different times, no two choices alike. When I was five, I wanted to be a firefighter. Then a police officer. At six I was gonna run an orphanage when I grew up. Seven-year-old me was a future politician. And so on. Lawyer, bodyguard, journalist, truck driver, cowgirl made more than one appearance, restaurateur, a secret agent phase of course, DJ – and the list goes on. I never could settle on just one.
I think there are two reasons for that. The first is equal parts personality and upbringing. My dad made no fewer than 8 career changes just in my memory span. I always thought that was normal, but I guess most people stick with the same one forever. I honestly don’t know if I could do that. There is something to be said for security, I suppose. But is security worth sacrificing adventure? Should I trade an unpredictable life of freedom for safe drudgery? Yes, I know I’m oversimplifying. But do I really wanna tie myself down – even to something I love – and potentially miss the next great opportunity? I want to grab life by the tail and see where it takes me.
The other reason for my inability to pick a single career is denial. All those years and all those varied careers I said I wanted, I never once admitted what I really wanted. Even to myself. Other than as a pipe dream. An “if-a-genie-gave-me-three-wishes” kinda dream. I have finally admitted to myself and to others what I truly want to be more than anything else in the world. I want to be a writer. Actually, I am a writer – I want to be a successful, published author. I believe that writing is my true calling. Some even say I’m good at it. Whether my work will be a success or not remains to be seen. Whether I can make a living off it also remains to be seen. But whether I make millions as a writer or a few bucks or nothing at all; whether I find a successful second career or work a string of jobs or quit working altogether; whatever else I may do, wherever my life may take me, one thing I know for absolute certain. I will never stop writing.