“For better or for worse. You have to choose what your life is going to look like.”
~Sadie Everett, via Laura Dave in London is the Best City in America
Have you ever had a line just jump out at you as you’re reading? Not catch your eye. Not stand apart from the other words. I’m talking about a sentence – a message – that just leaps off the page and resonates so clearly, so strongly, with you. It’s not necessarily that you take notice of it. It’s that it grabs a hold of you and your thoughts.
I finished Laura Dave’s book yesterday, and without giving away the plot or storylines, I’ll just say this: that quote up there at the beginning of this post? It was an epiphany for main character Emmy, and a reminder for me of all that I believe in, all that I strive for, all the ways in which I try to live my life. I’m a dreamer, but I’m a doer, too. I wish big wishes, set lofty goals, envision hopes that soar somewhere up there in the clouds. But those hopes, they’re not just carried on the wings of fluttering butterflies to that place where magic seems real and anything feels possible. They’re anchored in the choices I’ve made, the ones I make, the ones I’ll continue to make. And yes, sometimes they seem far away. Sometimes they seem so far away that I just want to throw my hands up, stomp my feet, and wonder why I couldn’t fall in love with a career that’s easier to break into. Then … then I read. Then I write. And then I know, all over again, why not. Because those careers don’t call out to me. They don’t grab something deep inside my soul like reading and writing do. They don’t fill me up, every last bit of me, with uninhibited joy. They don’t leave a handprint on my heart. Writing does. Books do. My characters do. Telling their stories does.
When I first made the choice to pursue this dream of becoming a published author, I was nervous. I was intimidated. I was overwhelmed. But one thing I wasn’t? Unsure. Even from the beginning, when I didn’t really know much about this industry, about this process, I still knew that I had to try. It’s a choice I didn’t make lightly, and one I don’t regret. I can’t regret it, not for anything. I don’t know where the future will lead or what path this journey will take me down, but I am certain, completely certain, that it’s the road I’m supposed to be on. It has been a crazy emotional rollercoaster – and I can only imagine that will continue – but at its very essence, it’s the ride of a lifetime. I’ve learned so much already, and not just about publishing. I’ve learned just as much about myself. I could have chosen to shy away from the uncertainty, from the chance of failure, from the very long and sometimes challenging road that lay ahead. But why let life pass me by? Why let it happen to me instead of taking the reins and choosing what it’s going to look like? For better or for worse – but, I’ve already found, mostly for the better – this is my choice. This is my decision. This is my goal. And you know what? I’m not stopping until it becomes my reality.
What about you? What pictures do you choose to paint for your life?
(And, I promise – one of these days, I’m actually going to do a post that doesn’t mention writing. That was the initial plan today, but then … well … umm …). So on that note, who’s excited for American Idol tonight?! :-)