It’s Friday night. Dee has gone to bed. Joanna Lumley is on television showing us all her wonderful Greek Odyssey. I love the soothing melody of her voice. I love her emotion and her delight at every point of her journey. Although, I’m not really paying attention. I’m doing my usual. I’m seeking. I’m looking for the purpose of my life.
I have hit my midlife crisis head on, it seems. At 44, I find myself uneducated (not to be mistaken for uninformed or unread); unemployed and a premature grandmother. To be fair, for the past 20 years I have found myself in the exact same situation (except the grandmother part – that’s new). I appear to be on a perpetual search for my truth, my authenticity, my purpose.
At times, it feels like I am the personification of a pinball, bouncing from one supposed purpose to another. It’s incredibly wearing, I can tell you. Right now, I have a headache. Especially when I think that when I die, I may not have felt any great sense of personal satisfaction, or purpose. Sad, I know.
I am self absorbed. I wonder if there are others like me. So totally absorbed in discovering my particular purpose, that they forget to actually live. There are days when I think I have given up on life. Today is one of those days. I have been so absorbed in my search that I have done little else than scour the internet for something, anything that will spark my soul. Reiki? Cyrstal Healing? Personal historian? Photography? Childcare? How on earth am I meant to know? Where is that eureka moment I feel absolutely sure I am meant to feel. Is it a delusion?
Dee is an accountant. He has always wanted to be an accountant. From the age of 13. Who chooses accountancy as a life path at the age of 13? I wanted to be an actress when I was a child. I met a girl who desperately wanted to be an actress and I took on her ambition. I loved the IDEA of acting, but had neither the confidence nor ambition for it. That is why I like writing. It is slothful in that the only body part you move are your fingers and wrists. It is also largely anonymous. Anonymity is good. Except I want the accolade J.K.Rowling has enjoyed. One day perhaps. If a story comes to me in a flash on a train ride like hers did, apparently. Did you know that? Harry Potter and all his adventures were apparently just downloaded to her fully formed. How bloody unfair. Why can’t I have a flashing download of a similar sort. Well, not similar. Harry Potter and vampires have been done to death. So has science fiction in all its various guises. What is left, I wonder.
Through my searching, I have realised that I perhaps have delusions of grandeur. Read that to mean one huge ego! I want to be a writer. A well known writer. I mean the kind that makes billions of dollars from Warner brothers buying the rights to my stories and me being sly enough to get a massive percentage of the merchandise. Except, and I have lamented this before, I am afraid to write. Well, I am afraid to put anything other than musings down on paper in case I am rejected, in case I am never taken seriously as a writer. I am a big scaredy cat!
I look at all the writing websites – who knew there were so many wannabe writers – and am petrified by the quality and quantity out there. Of course, we are all the same, those wannabe writers and me. We are all huddled together in our little part of cyberspace, blogging away, making ourselves feel better as our fingers clack across the keyboards, allowing ourselves to believe we are the real article. Except when people ask, we can’t say “I’m a writer”. That makes us too vulnerable. Instead we say “Oh, I’m an English teacher” or “I’m a web designer” or, in my case, “I’m a stay at home mom because my child has autism.”
It’s an excuse. I know it. Probably everyone knows it. It’s an excuse to hide away and pretend that life has held me back. It hasn’t really. I have held myself back. I have allowed my need to make an income and the fear of not making it doing what I love to stop me doing exactly what I love. That, and I apparently lost my ability focus 15 minutes after I fell pregnant. In stead, I travelled from one horrible job to the next, one training course to the next, hoping and praying that there was going to be some better way to make money, one that will say, “Yes, I am the career for you – the one that will let you stay at home with your autistic child, give you financial independence, mental stimulation and make the you the adoration of masses of people.” Strangely, it never happened.
So, what do I do? Do I lower my sights? Maybe a bit of income from home without the adoration of masses of people? Yes, I can forgo adoration. Admittedly, it will be hard. I desperately want adoration. It’s a hard thing to admit, but I have to come clean if I am going to move forward, yes? So, first step, forget the adoration. Second, how can I make money writing. I’m hearing someone saying “stand in line”. Okay, I need a new perspective. What about I just write and forget the money. I don’t have any now anyway, so I wouldn’t really be missing anything, would I?
Hang on, now I’m forgoing adoration and money. Is that fair? That’s not what every self-help book and guru has told me. They categorically said that if I followed my passion, money and adoration would follow. Well, they did say the passion had to be selfless and for the good of mankind too. Egotistical adoration and a big bank account isn’t really humanitarian, is it? It could be though if I set up a philanthropic organisation with my massive bank account, made possible by my adoring fans.
Okay, it’s not working. I had better start writing. I’m off to bed and I had better get a download of some kind. That’s all I’m saying. Okay, I may still have some work to do on the selfless thing. It’s hard, you know.