I hope you all had a nice July 4th. I got to hang out with family and friends, eat tons of food, and watch some fireworks, which, let's face it, is what makes a Fourth of July the Fourth of July.
We are still doing panels here on Go Teen Writers. Today we have a thoughtful question that's not so much about writing, but about life. Holidays tend to make me ponder, so this feels appropriate.
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
My relationship with God. It has been my constant. Through childhood and into adulthood, through marriage and starting a family. Through dreams and goals and careers and hobbies that maybe could be all of the above--He has been faithful. And though I’ve chosen a craft that can feel very isolating, I’ve never been alone. Not once.
My head went to a totally different place when I heard the question, but then I saw Shan’s answer and realized my initial thoughts about how to respond were embarrassingly shallow.
I’ve had the joy of going to two American Library Association conferences this year. Being invited by my publisher to sign books at ALA was a bucket list career item for me, and I felt honored to go.
But events like that can be hard on a creative’s heart. These things are full of literary celebrities, and comparison creeps in easily. Whose signing line is longer? Who got invited to sit on what panel? Who got the most applause during said panel discussion?
Not only that, but you get an upclose look at how many books are on the market competing with yours. You see all the dollars being poured into elevating certain titles. It is easy to find yourself slipping down a yucky spiral of thoughts: I’m not enough. Who do I think I am? Why does my publisher believe in that book more than they believe in mine? Why does he get an audio book, and I don’t?
On and on.
The moment I notice my brain tipping in that direction, I’m grateful for the hard journey God sent me on several years ago. It was a journey that taught me that I am not my books. I am not defined by their success or failure. That I am enough, exactly as I am.
I've lived my life so far in a hurry to get to point B. But as a struggling-to-quit ponderer and striver, I’m finally learning that in living like that, I miss out on a lot of good stuff. The journey is where it’s at. This is life! Right now, seconds are ticking by. And we each only get one life here on earth. So even when it’s hard, it’s good, because I have God and my people (family and friends) and I’m not alone. I’m always growing and changing and developing wisdom, and that’s what truly gets me to point B. Not the daydreaming or the striving. It's the living. I’m grateful to finally be learning how to embrace life and enjoy every moment.