Monday, November 17, 2008

Racing Death

I recently read this term "racing death" and it struck a chord. All my life I've felt as if I've been racing death. It's not that I had any premonitions I would die young, but that I have so much I want to accomplish in this life that I wouldn't have nearly enough time. Two things I longed for the most was to have a loving family and to write and build a writing career. I definitely have the family (which I'm wondering why I wanted so bad listening to the two youngest fight behind me as I write this), and I do have the writing career - but I'm still racing to get to the level of my dreams. (NY Times best seller list. Write for Harlequin and Silhouette, etc.) There were other things as well I'm so glad I did. I served my country in the military - Air Force. I really wanted to see the world and thought the Air Force would be my vehicle. Unfortunately, I was plopped in the middle of the Deep South (Mississippi) and then the mid-western USA (Nebraska) instead of Germany, Australia, Japan, or some other exciting foreign place. Although Mississippi and Nebraska weren't my dream picks, I really enjoyed both and am glad I had the chance to experience more of my own country and to meet the wonderful people I did. Biloxi, Mississippi (way before Katrina) was so very beautiful I'll never forget it. I twirled flags in the AF Drum & Bugle Corps and even marched in the New Orleans and Biloxi Mardis Gras parades. I earned my MBA and now I'm actually the "Working Girl" I longed dreamed of being. I attend lots of important meetings. I find and fix a lot of problems. Best of all, I get to help a lot of people since I work for a charity that serves the poor - another one of my dreams fulfilled (helping people). As a kid I was an avid bowler, swimmer, bicyclist, roller skater, and rider (horses). I loved to attend summer camp - I tried to stay all summer and sometimes talked Mom into letting me stay as long as 3 weeks. A few years ago I even joined karate although I was already in my 40s. Karate hadn't been a lifelong goal of mine but once my son got involved it looked like a good way to exercise and stay in shape and seemed pretty cool. For a long time I thought all black belts were really admirable and I wanted to be one. That's one dream that fizzled, however, and on one level, I'm sorry but on another, I just couldn't admire some of the black belts I'd been meeting although I do want to go on record that some of them are some of the people I respect most. Anyway... That goes to show that we not all dreams and aspirations turn out to be something we wanted as much as we once thought we did. (Boy is that convoluted but I'm drained and failing fast tonight.) I've probably missed a few things, maybe even a biggie or two. But I always come back to writing, the love of my life. No matter what, I always come back to it even if I stray for a bit, even if my muse cheats on me. I heard and still hear a lot of people say, "I'm going to write a book one day," or "I want to write when the kids grow up" or "I'll write after I retire and I have more time." I knew I couldn't wait till the kids grew up or until I retired from my day job (the way this economy's going, I'll never get to retire from the day job). I knew I had to write NOW, every day. I knew I had to fit it into my life and to start it NOW ("NOW" being almost twenty years ago when my older children were still young). Even then, in my early twenties, I felt like I was racing death. That was way before I felt the weight of age I'm beginning to feel. Even then I was driven to reach for my dreams to make sure I achieved them. Now that my birthday is next week and the year after is a really big milestone of a birthday, I feel my mortality a lot more than I did then. Although I've achieved a lot and feel rather successful and happy, I've not reached my highest goals. I still have dozens, maybe hundreds of stories inside clamoring to be told. I still have mountains (publishers) to conquer. I still long to see the rest of the world (I've only been out of the US 3 times - to have lunch in Canada, a business trip to the worst slums in Haiti and another business trip to the worst slums in Jamaica). Sometimes I fear my dream of seeing the world is the one I won't achieve, that I'll be entombed in Florida the rest of my days (not that Florida is too bad if I have to be stranded - it's actually pretty darned terrific). Lately, I've been exhausted and wonder if I'm losing the race. I'm not suffering from any dire medical condition that I'm aware of except for low thyroid which isn't terrible compared to other illnesses. Of course maybe my thyroid's just out of whack again. It's usually the culprit when I'm extremely exhausted. Tired or not, I'm itching to finish at least six stories (very soon that is - and of course a WHOLE LOT MORE than that during the rest of my lifetime), to be accepted by my dream publishers, to be all that I can be.

4 comments:

Molly Daniels said...

And here I thought it was just me...whew! We'll get through it together!

Just had a thought...you write my stories and I'll write yours? Maybe that would help???? Hahahaha....

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Feel better honey!

Amarinda Jones said...

We're all going to die one day...why worry? I'm not racing anyone. My own pace is just perfect

DJ Kirkby said...

I know EXACTLY what you mean, I have felt this way my whole life too, there is so much I want to achieve.

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