Wait! If I’m sponsoring a blog for middle-aged co-eds, I must already be grown up. Does that mean I should currently be living my dream? Not necessarily. Some people bloom later in life and don’t really understand their true calling until they’re in their 30s. Other people are so busy following the expected path from 18 – 25, that they wake up one day and realize that what they always dreamed about seems light-years away.
Life happens. If I spent my twenties working jobs to just pay the bills, I might have been trying to pursue my dream at the same time (but I wasn’t). My thirties I gladly donated to the raising, guiding and chauffeuring of my two children. Which means, once I turned forty, the time to start thinking about what I really wanted from life dawned. In truth, as women, we get so wrapped up being the caretakers of our husbands and children, we forget that God planted dreams and desires apart from those people within our hearts.
When the time comes to dig out those treasures, don’t resist. Go ahead and second (and third and fourth) guess yourself, but don’t let that immobilize you. If you’re married to Mr. Wonderful, like I am, your husband will be extremely supportive of whatever you want to do. At first. Don’t forget to keep including him in the plans or you might alienate your best ally.
What Do I Want to Do Anyway
Life is filled with epiphanies. When I was riding my bicycle and I realized I really preferred walking as a form of exercise: epiphany. (Too bad I’d already invested $400 in a lightweight combination bicycle and at least $100 on accoutrements for safe and comfortable cycling!) Struggling to keep up with housework, homework and a job, it came to me one day that I could afford to hire out these household chores: epiphany. (Who wants to scrub toilets and floors anyway?)
Yesterday, I knelt on the floor between two students helping them “peer edit” each other’s expository essays. These students can hardly spell, punctuate and use proper grammar for themselves, so finding it in another person’s work leans toward monumental. Reading sentences out loud, I would ask, “What’s wrong with that?” Most of the time, they could nail the error. Spelling, I pointed that out. If I paused in the reading long enough, they realized the sentence begged for a comma. I like editing: epiphany.
But I don’t want to be an editor? Do I? I want to be an author. My writing will awe and impress the editors. Sure, I might enjoy reading good writing, but that’s not all I want to do every day.
The question is: do I want to be an editor while I strive for published author status? If I do, then I might need to talk to my academic advisor about changing my major. What are the other options? I can be a copy writer, work in the public relations department of any large company or work in some other capacity –writing professionally. Would being an editor seem better or worse than those positions?
Truthfully, I’m afraid that if I become an editor, I’ll never move beyond that to pursue my real dream. I’ll “settle.” Sometimes I feel like I’ve spent much of my adult life settling for less than I really wanted or believed I could accomplish. Marrying Jeff was a great move, not settling at all, and staying home with my sons before they were school-aged is another instance when I followed my heart.
Editor’s jobs are probably just as hard to land as a full-time writing contract. I should probably stop thinking about getting one of them. If I change my major now, I might never finish with my degree.
Don’t you love to listen to me argue with myself about this? I guess I should just write my brains out and never take another job. Create stories until I finally come up with something good enough an agent will represent it, an editor won’t slash it to death with a bloody red pen and a publisher will offer me an incredible advance and even a follow-up contract for two more books within three years. (If I’m going to dream big, I may as well add every fantastical element that enters my mind!)
When I finally grow up, I’m going to be a published author. Before that, I’m going to get out of the special education classroom and into a place where I can use my knowledge and skill to help people communicate (or write better).