Thursday, July 09, 2015

Turning 40

I had two big goals for this big year:

1. Run a 10K with my husband.
2. Finish my fairytale novel and submit for publication.

I didn't mis-type the first sentence. I said "had."

Wait?! You say. It is only JULY. Why the glum forecast for accomplishment?

As a school teacher, I was really counting on the summer to help me with these plans. The first, the race, was something I had hoped to do the end of summer and train through the spring and summer for. Then the realities of summer caught up to us and, boy howdy, we have been almost as busy as during the school year. I was asked to do girls' camp for our church after I set that initial goal, which has really thrown a monkey wrench into the best laid plans. Not a terrible monkey wrench, I'm looking very much forward to girls' camp, but to say that it is without complications is a gross understatement.

The second goal. *sigh* The second goal. Again, summer was the time for this . . . though not as much time as I had once hoped. To my horrible, horrible chagrin, however, I found that the thumb drive I had been working off of for this particular piece has quit working. I have an old PDF copy of a manuscript that has had extensive revisions made to it. I have recently and stupidly discovered that all said revisions are on the bad drive, nor do I have capability to convert the PDF to a working file format. When I think of all my great revisions, however, I'm horrified at the thought of going back to the PDF, particularly with the formatting issues created by converting one to the other.

It isn't to say that my fortieth year hasn't been without its perks. The weekend of mother's day/birthday, we took the boys backpacking for the first time. Professionally I've never been in a better place: I will begin my third year of teaching at the same school this fall, which is a record for me! I feel like I have a career finally instead of just a job. I am recognized as being very effective and doing well and have two departments arguing over who gets me for more time. I received a grant this year to expand technology in my classroom and will finally get to teach biology, my favorite subject, this school year. The kids are doing great and we love our new home that we've been in less than a year. Plantboy and I are doing well; I love him more than ever. I have come to terms with a lot of doubts that have plagued me in recent years about a variety of things.

Yes, we are in a very good place. As to my goals, however, that is another story.

The first goal was really in response to trying to exercise more. I have actually done fairly well this summer and am getting out to the gym more often. I would love to lose 15 pounds . . . mostly so the clothes aren't so snug and so I have more energy. As short as I am, it only takes a few pounds to really feel bulky. The energy piece is huge; I'm hoping that better exercise will help me beat that slump I get between 3-5 every afternoon that makes me crave junk food and naps. The reality is that I just hate running. As much as I admire my amazing friends who complete marathons et. al., I find myself completely miserable when I even attempt two miles. I will choose nearly any form of exercise over running. The merits of planning for a race are, of course, in the fact that you have a deadline. The downside, however, is that when the deadline comes you actually have to go RUNNING. Outside. Sometimes in the heat.

The second goal. *sigh* The second goal. This is just something I really, really want. Or is at least a simulacrum of what I really want. You see, my fondest desire is to write the next great American novel. You know the one I mean--the one that all the book group women want to read and talk about. The one that makes people stop and think and perhaps even influences their actions. The one that makes you call your best friend or sister and say, "Ohmygosh, I just read. The. Best. Book." Sure, sure a novel like that brings you money, but to me, such considerations are really secondary. I just can't imagine the buzz that would come from knowing that people are talking about and considering something I created.

But this bad drive thing, with no back up copy (who does that??? I have like a bazillion copies of everything else in 8 different spots!!!), has me feeling sick at heart. Discouraged. Wondering if it is a sign that it is time to just put away childish dreams.

I have publishing envy. I will just admit it.

Maybe it is just time to embrace the many gifts and blessings that have been mine, be grateful for my limited writing abilities, such as they are, and accept that this thing I want so badly really isn't within my reach.

I know. I know. It sounds so defeatist. But I admit, I'm feeling a bit defeated today as I ponder whether or not to pursue my dreams or just find something else on the bucket list. After all, I'm sure that going to New Zealand would make me feel MUCH better!

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