Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Life Changes

Sorry, I've been MIA for a bit, but I've been busy changing my life.

In this economy when most people around me are thanking their lucky stars to have a job, any job, with regular paychecks and health-insurance, I resigned from mine.

Why? Because of Eva.

Eva was a petite,dynamic woman with the energy of the Energizer Bunny and a twinkle in her eye. I met her about four years ago in a writing class I was teaching. She wanted to write. I loved having her in the class --she was enthusiastic and inquisitive, did the work, and showed up for every session.On the last day, as we said goodbye, I told her to keep writing. She laughed her trademark laugh and said, "I'll probably wait until after I retire."

Well, she retired and actually helped me get the job. She'd already retired as a teacher, and now she hung up her hat as a nutrition educator. I wished her well and told her to buckle down and write. Unfortunately, her mother who'd been ill all along took a turn for the worse and Eva transformed into a full-time care-taker.

This January Eva's mother died. When I saw her, I gave her a big hug, offered her my sympathies. I made a silent wish for her: Now, now she would write.

Two weeks later she got diagnosed with Stage 4 throat cancer. And earlier this month, Eva died. Even though I knew her only a short while, Eva managed to touch my heart and bring change into my life.

Thanks to her, I had one of the best day jobs ever. I got to teach people about food and how to cook. Not only did I have fun at work, but at the end of the day I knew I was helping people improve their lives. I have had enough jobs where I wrote fluff to make a product sound like the greatest thing since sliced bread, or a news story to boost the publisher's pal. They paid the bills, but left me empty.

So, why leave my great day job? Because even in passing, Eva managed to touch me and bring about a change. She made me think.

Yes, I enjoyed the job, but did I want to retire from it? No.

If you asked me what was the one thing I wanted to do in life, the answer would be to write. The elementary school me, the college me, the today me would all answer the same way. For the longest time, I've wanted to write and be a writer. Not write a bit on the side, but be a full-time, wholly-committed, creative writer.

So, yes, the money was good, the health insurance a blessing. But the cost was most of my waking hours spent not writing. Some of the other costs were missing out on kids' programs that conflicted with work, travelling, spending time with my parents.

So, while lots of people are digging in their heels to hold on to their jobs, I walked away from mine.Because "someday" sometimes just doesn't come.

I know my decision doesn't make sense to a lot of people,and that's okay. I arrived at my decision through much thought & reflection, and, yes, after many discussions with the Cowboy. It wasn't an easy decision, but it's the right one for me.

The key now is to live life well, and use the time I've gained.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Drowning in Lemonade

You know the saying - when life gives you lemons? I have a whole orchard full of lemon trees... When I look back on the events of the past couple of years, I am truly amazed. On the one hand I have published a novel and a novella. I've expanded my horizons both as an author and in my pays-the-bills career. I have met many wonderful people and discovered new friends. While other areas of my life have gone so far downhill I have to tunnel to find them! And, lately, my writing has suffered. It would be easy to give up and hang it all up. Instead, I tell myself things are finally looking better. I've planted a little sugar cane to sweeten the juice and am determined to restore my faith in humanity and, more importantly, my faith in myself. To borrow a famous phrase: "I'll be back!"