Here I am. 37 years old. It’s been a big year with lots of changes. New bosses at work. Surgery. Taking on and accepting my identity as a writer. Deciding to do a rewrite draft with some major, foundational changes. Some of the changes were painful, but all of them were for the better. I feel stronger and more sure of myself and who I am. But there are a couple of things that carried over from last year that I want to dispense with.
There is a timeline that exists in our society, a set of expectations of when you are supposed to do things for both men and women. It has stretched a bit in the last several decades, but it still exists. For a woman, the main milestones are getting married and having children, although these days you are also supposed to have a successful career in whatever field you choose. As I get older that timeline has haunted me more and more. It has been especially haunting this year. I am single and I have no children. Not because I don’t want them, but I don’t have them yet. I’m not ready to have them. As far as my career goes, I have achieved a certain level of success in my day job. But my day job is not my main priority. Writing is. I’m afraid going any further up the ladder at my day job will take away energy from my writing. Measuring my life by the timeline, I am a failure.
But the timeline is really self-imposed. It’s my choice to try to follow it. No one is imposing it on me. The biggest thing I have learned from the last year is that I need to throw it out. Screw the timeline. In my experience, good things come from letting go of things I don’t need to carry around with me, and this is definitely not something I need.
I also spent a huge amount of time this year wishing I could do things and deciding I'm too old. Like taking a leave of absence and traveling in Europe for a month. Picking up and moving to England or Italy for a year. Starting a whole new career from scratch, like fashion or interior designer. Yearning for a complete and utter change in my life. Feeling restless. It took me until a few weeks ago to figure out why.
I think my wanderlust is a sign that I’m ready for what comes next. I’m done preparing, waiting, watching. I’m ready to do. I recognize this feeling from previous times in my life. Everything kind of falls into place and I realize that I’m ready. And then instead of chasing the ball rolling down the hill, or running next to it, or running away from it so it doesn’t run over me, I’m ready to ride it, and even steer it a little. It’s not about whether or not I should run away and explore the world, or to make a major change in my life. Those urges are general, not specific. If I think about it I don’t really want to do those things. It’s about recognizing that I am being passive and not participating, and get on the ball.
These are my wishes for this year – to let go of the timeline, and to ride the wave of life rather than being pulled along by it. I make no other predictions or goals. If I can accomplish those, even part of the time, over the next year it will be more than enough.