I had a strange moment the other day. I was at a local bookstore and there was a man signing books there. I didn’t talk to him. I’m not so good at making small-talk with strangers. But I watched him talk to someone else for a while and it struck me: What if that’s me one day? What if that’s me, sitting at a table, making awkward small-talk and signing my name — my name — in a book that I wrote.
A second later I had another realization: Somewhere along the line, my success as a writer had changed from when to what if.
When I first started this whole writing journey, I told myself that one day I would be successful. One day I would publish a book. I was confident of this because I knew that no matter how many years and how many books it took, I was going to keep trying until it happened. I had hope.
I don’t remember when I lost that hope. I don’t know if it was in a single moment, or if my hope was slowly chipped away over time. At some point I stopped thinking it was a certainty that one day I would achieve my dreams, and started thinking of it as a matter of chance. I lost my confidence. I lost my hope. It’s a scary thing, to lose something without even realizing it.
I’ve talked about how it’s been a tough year for me in my last post, but I don’t think I realized how much the slow wear of the day-to-day — the working and working and feeling like I’m getting nowhere — has worn on me.
It all came to a head while sitting in a cafe with my husband, as these things often do for us. He told me I’ve been miserable lately, more often than not, and I realized it was true. I was feeling burnt out. I’d lost my sense of hope. And you know what? I decided then and there to change.
I had two weeks ahead of me off work, and I was going to find my joy again. I was going to figure out where my hope went and get it back.
It’s not an overnight thing, but slowly, over the past few days, I’ve been making changes. Changes in attitude, changes in action. I’ve been resting, I’ve been reading, I’ve been Christmas-ing and I’ve written a whole lot. But more importantly, I decided to change. Sometimes that’s the most important thing, just making a decision.
Hope is north on my internal compass, but I’ve been pointing west for some time. So this Christmas I’m recalibrating, mind and soul, to get back to it.
That’s what I’m doing on my Christmas vacation. How about you?