Lord almighty, It’s done! National Novel Writing month is over for another year and I, for one, would just like to say– don’t let the door hit you in the butt, NaNoWriMo!
Don’t misunderstand, I am beyond happy that I did it. For years I’ve chastised myself saying, “I’m going to write a book…. Any day now…Riiiiight now! No, NOW! NOW!!” Then, when it didn’t happen, I’d mentally call myself nasty names (which, oddly enough, didn’t prove to be effective motivation at all.) Finally, I can check that sucker off the list; book written? Check.
I had enjoyed my triumph for an mere hour before a friend sent me a link on how to get started editing my NaNoWriMo manuscript. Let me say here, he is very, very lucky that it is so difficult to physically assault someone via the internet.
In any case, I was heady with excitement. For the first time in a month I had ample time to scroll through my emails, catch up on Celebitchy and to dedicate myself to helping Hubby out by pinning all manner of pretty, pretty things to my Pintrest boards– you know, in case he was looking for my Christmas gift.
Yesterday, when I finished my November challenge, I was so elated that I can perhaps be forgiven for somehow not fully understanding that when I agreed to join the December Reverb Broads and contribute to a month of daily blog prompts, I really should have been ready to post today…in December.
Luckily, I am comfortable working under the “better late than never” principle so without further ado, today’s prompt:
“If the you of today could go back in time and give advice to any of the previous yous, which age would you visit and what would you tell them?”
The problem with this question is how to choose? I could pretty much pick any day of my life and offer some sort of advice; don’t buy those shoes! A $7.00 haircut is a bad idea! I could encourage my 6th grade self to avoid that home perm on the eve of picture day and also? Maybe don’t chase boys who throw baseballs at you. I would caution my college self that the money which is left over from one’s student loan payment is for rent and food and heat…not doc martins, leather jackets and spiral perms. I could go back 24 hours and tell the me of yesterday to stop and look at a calendar already!
All of these, though they might have been useful in the moment, wouldn’t really have offered any past me a substancially different future. I would have ended up exactly here. With better hair and more comfortable footwear, clearly, but basically in the same exact spot.
In thinking about it, there is one bit of advice I could have offered any me at any time that truly would have had an impact. I would have cautioned myself not to confuse a lack of being able to control my surrounding environment with an inability to succeed.
There are so many things– thoughts, people, beliefs and actions –that contribute to the reality of any one moment and we are only able to control the one; ourselves. Somehow I got it into my brain at a very young age that if I couldn’t change what was happening around me, well, it meant I was incapable of achieving anything.
It isn’t the same as feeling insecure. I’ve never felt that I was a bad person, without talent or inherently stupid. I’ve just been rather unconvinced as to my efficacy in any given situation. I’ve seen myself as all good intentions and no carry through.
Lately, I’ve been challenging that idea. Choosing goals for myself that make me snort with derisive laughter. Yeah. Right. Good luck with that, Lanie. The shocking thing isn’t that I’ve been compelled to attempt them, the shocking thing is that, more often than not, I’ve succeeded.
Well, blow me down.
So I guess this is the present me talking to, well, the present me. We (me and me) are kind of figuring out that more often than not, our success or failure has been a choice. There are just some things that I will never want badly enough to complete. And as for the rest…
Well. Maybe I will edit that manuscript after all.