I turn another year older today, another year closer to a very big number that ends in zero arriving in 2018. We’ll hold off talking about that birthday until next year. All wrapped up in my birthday package this year comes the surprise fact that getting older gets easier. In fact, these bigger birthdays are more of a celebration than when I turned 30.
On the eve of my 30th birthday, I found myself spinning into fear, regret, and depression over my “lost youth.” I had four young sons and daily saw an exhausted image looking back at me from my mirror, someone who sported a harried and panicked expression, as if she couldn’t figure out where her plans had disappeared to. No outside employment filled my days, just hours and weeks with four adorable but high-maintenance sons who captured my heart but prevented me from using college skills.
But no regrets. Less years stretch before me than behind me now, but I turn the page on the calendar today and rejoice at my deep contentment with life—hardships and challenges included.
If only I knew back then of all the fresh and unexpected opportunities waiting in the wings while I raised my family—sons who would grow up to be unspeakably wonderful young men, partly due to our investment of time. And I share my birthday with something else this year—the birth of my new website. The website symbolizes an assortment of changes for me over the past 12 months, and the changes arrive like a promise saying many things wait to be accomplished. An increase in age doesn’t mean an ending but a continuing.
Months ago I signed with a literary agent who is representing my fiction work (a middle grade novel and a novel for adults) to publishers. Part of the transformation that comes with aging is my ability to accept the potential of failure with more grace than when I was young. Signing with an agent isn’t a guarantee a publisher will take a risk on an unknown writer. The novels might make their rounds at publishing houses and never find a home. Or they might be acquired and find an audience. Either way, I hold this work loosely in my hands and rejoice – no matter the results. Writing is joyous work for me, and I plan to enjoy the process and keep it in perspective. The future is still unclear and invisible to my eyes but looks promising to me, no matter the results.
While writers far younger than me stumble into success early in their careers, I contentedly resign myself to being a late bloomer who once put projects and a career on hold to raise a family. Today I find encouragement in the lives of other late bloomers who found their stride in life after committing many years to other tasks. Their collection of years represent waitings and continuings—not endings.
Happy birthday to me and my website!