Just went through last year’s post . . . wanted to see what I’d been doing for a year. It’s enlightening and frightening to see how much time has actually elasped, and then to fret about why I didn’t get more accomplished.
That whole GOTTA-SET-GOALS-THING is looming big on my horizon.
It’s hard to believe that this past month we traveled south to Texas A & M again to retrieve my oldest from college. Mind-boggling to believe I now have one that’s completed her sophomore year at a major university, one headed to his last year in high school, and my baby getting ready to start high school. Okay, enough about getting old — I have the daily reminders every time my skin sags a little more.
So, what has changed in a year?
I spent 103 days in a classroom teaching this year. At the elementary level (the only grades I’ll touch because I’m still bigger than they are) it really is about teaching. There is no such thing as a day-off at this level. If I don’t have the rugrats busy and on task, then there is bedlam. Considering I’ve lost enough of my sanity at this point, I can’t afford to give away any more while the inmates take over the asylum. That requires real teaching to keep students focused. I feel more in control inside the classroom now. I don’t panic if there’s an empty spot in the lesson plan, or what’s been left is new material for the students, etc. Overall, it’s been both easier and harder to teach this year because I knew more.
Wait, that sounds remarkably like writing, doesn’t it?
The more I learn about the writing process the more difficult it becomes. Oops, now there are more rules to follow to make sure the research is accurate and factual; that all the writing is grammatically correct; that I’ve employed smooth transitions and great hooks; that I’ve developed character arcs and well-crafted plot lines.
The more I learn about writing, the easier it is to do all those things. Occasionally, it’s even outrageously fun.
Recently an acquaintance revealed her secret ambition was to write. She told me partly because I’m a writer, also because I’m not involved in her life, which makes that whole ‘people will tell strangers the craziest things’ really true. I’d been moaning about how hard the writing process can be. This acquaintance called me on it. The conversation made me reflect. Would I have started writing if I’d known how hard it would be? Honestly, who knows.
There’s a reason the road in front of us is always curved. As humans, if we saw all the obstacles in our way — chances are we’d stand still and never leave the starting line. Equally true, if we saw all the joys — we’d feel overwhelmed or unworthy of such pure pleasure.
Is hind sight really 20-20? Maybe, and again maybe it’s just our own skewed perception that makes the past seem so clear. As to the future my advice is simple: chunk the glasses and stop trying to squint to see what comes around the next bend. You’ll never be fully prepared for all the hurdles no matter how much advance warning you have. Besides a bumpy ride can be fun. Just pretend it’s a roller coaster — hang on, scream when necessary, and laugh all the way through.
Maybe that’s not a real goal, but it certainly seems like a good way to deal with one.
So, what’s happened for you this year?
Come on by the porch anytime.