Here’s how I know someday I am going to succeed at this writing thing I currently do on the side: Today I got a notice of spectacular failure and still felt excited to get home and start writing again.
The failure was just your average rejection – in this case, a writing contest. And I know they didn’t mean it, but it really felt like lemon juice to the paper cut when they sent the email saying that all the winners had been notified, “including the honorable mentions”, like, Poor sweetie, you didn’t even get the consolation prize.
Here’s what I’m noticing lately. The thing I want to say to you every time I write is something I believe in more than ever before. But life, I swear to goodness, is doing its best to grouch it out of me.
The message is that happiness is found in regular ol’ life. It happens while we’re loving our family and pursuing our wildest dreams – not only once we achieve them – but because we have them and we are pursuing them.
That’s the message. And I am totally in. But lest you wonder, I have to remind myself not every day but almost every hour that this is true and that I’m doing it to the best of my ability. I do not hate my day job. I work for a place that makes doctors, for goodness sake. And I am terribly proud of that. But I do hate – every little bit or so – that I am not doing the thing I consider the career of my heart. I really hate it. And that will always remain the master plan.
In the meantime, as I pursue, facing the page every evening once the day job is done and all events and practices attended, I am happy. It’s regular ol’ life, all lit up by pursuit.
You don’t have to have a wildest dream to live a life lit up. You just have to believe there is more than Monday through Friday, eight to five. That, even if we joke about it, coffee isn’t truly the only thing that wakes you up in the morning. The big, gigantic mistake for me would be to forget that life is happening right here, right now, on my way to the dream. The big mistake for us all would be to forget that life is happening at all, with or without our active, awake, and grateful participation.