On Saturday, Choo-choo, Diesel, and I drove to my hometown for my youngest sister’s high school graduation open house. Her party was held in the very same place I had my open house 15 years ago. I have to say, there was an instant feeling of strangeness when I first walked in and saw the familiar red, black, and white decorations. I had celebrated my freedom in the same room she did.
It got me thinking. I am 15 years older now, but am I 15 years wiser? I know freedom terrified me then, but what about those plans I made? Are they relevant now? My 18 year old self wanted to attend college and become an accountant. However, she also dreamed of being on her own, driving her own car without panic attacks, and having her novel published.
What about the current me? Well, I have no intention of living on my own, as in by myself. I love my husband dearly and would never leave him. My life is so full now with Diesel and Choo-choo, and I cannot imagine it any other way.
I am still planning on college. I’m just not sure if I will earn my degree in accounting. While I am very good at it, the idea of being an accountant no longer sparks a fire in me like it used to. I am a writer now. Though I may not have been published much, I will continue to write and submit. I will also work on my craft, which is where a college degree enters the picture again.
Then there is the goal of driving my own car. I have a car, I have a permit, and I will earn my driver’s license this autumn. I am determined. In some ways, I am closer to fulfilling this goal than I have been before.
Finally, there is my novel. Actually, several novels now. I have poured many hours, days, weeks, years, and much of myself into my writing. I’ve written and re-written, edited, revised, and revised again. My stories have grown from scraps of paper into full-fledged people and worlds to me.
Depression blocked out my creativity, among other things, for a very long time. Rejection is hard enough; its brutality is palpable when depressed. Writing actually helped pull me out of the fog. I had so much anxiety that it often consumed me. I decided one day to write it down as the anxiety was expressed in my dream from the previous night. Giving my character all my panic attacks eased some of my troubles.
I won’t give up on writing again. Letting go of writing would be like letting go of me. That’s exactly how it felt before. I am happy to say that at least now, I have the tools to help with those depressive bouts that often arrive seconds after rejection notices. While I may feel low for a while, I know I can stand right back up and continue on.
As for my sister, I don’t know exactly what her future holds. I can’t say whether or not she is as nervous about her recent entrance into adulthood as I was. What I can say is that I am so proud of her, and I hope in 15 years she is able to look back and appreciate her own life choices.