Friday, November 7, 2008

Learning to love myself at age 41

Tip of the Day: If your kids STILL have too much candy, offer to buy it from them and throw it away. Who knows, it might actually save you money if you prevent a cavity or two!

Warning: I apologize in advance if my posts get more and more angsty with each passing week. I have a book coming out in less than two months. Need I say more?

Sometimes I wish I could go back to the days when the internet didn't exist. Do people even remember those days? Like, when I was in high school? No internet. We didn't send e-mails or IM each other or even text on our cell phones. We wrote notes and passed them to each other in the halls. By the way, how come I didn't keep those notes? Dang. I want those notes!

Anyway, reading blogs lately is not a good thing for me. It's like I read blogs of really famous authors who are selling mega books and their careers are booming and I think how I'll never be that famous, and I get depressed. Then I read about authors getting awards and how great their books are and I think, I'll never be that good of a writer. And I get more depressed. Then I read about all these new up-and-coming authors with two and three book deals and their stories sound SO awesome, and I think how they could be the next Stephenie Meyer and lucky them, and then I get super-duper depressed.

And now I'm probably making you depressed. Which is not something I want to do. But seriously, I think this is something that writers, published or not, have to figure out how to deal with. Just like in real life, there are always going to be people who have more than me. I have become pretty good at being thankful for what I have in life, and counting my blessings every day. I don't care that much about things. I care about relationships. I care about doing something that matters to me and hopefully helps to make the world a better place. I care about saving money, not spending it, so hopefully I can send my kids to college and do some traveling later in life.

So, in my book life, how can I be thankful for what I have, and not get caught up in wanting things I don't have and letting it weigh me down? Is it possible?

Perhaps I need to ask myself WHY do I find myself wanting the success, the awards, the fame?

Money is a small part of it. No, I don't want things, nor do I want a bigger house or a fancy car. But it comes back to saving for the future, and knowing with some peace of mind that things will be okay. I'd love to have a little more peace of mind.

Mostly, though, I think it's about how I perceive myself. There is something inside of me that no matter how hard I try to turn it off, I want to be one of the cool kids. One of the popular kids. I always have. I never quite made it in high school and I know in my heart I'll never quite make it in the publishing world.

So what's a girl to do?

A girl is to smack herself upside the head and say - "Knock it off." This is no different than me staring at the People magazine and getting all sad because I don't look like Heidi Klum. It's ridiculous! There is only one Heidi Klum. And it's NOT me.

As writers, just like teens, we have to become comfortable in our own skin. We have to be who we are and learn to accept ourselves as we are. Is it easy? No. Of course not! But it's the only choice, really. Every day, we can choose to be happy for what we get to do, which is WRITE, or we can choose to be depressed because of all that we don't have.

Now, I'm off to sit at the benches where the cool kids *don't* sit and there is no internet, and write a book that may or may not be fabulous. Care to join me? I'll write you a note with lots of Xs and Os. That's something I'm REALLY good at.

~Lisa, Miss Pinch Me I'm Pubbed


amuse me said...

Loving yourself at every age is hard work, but well worth it. I've lived most of my life figuring the worse I would get is a "no" answer. That possibility of a "yes" keeps me working toward my goals. It happened years earlier when I wanted to design patterns -- the "yes" came and I had over 350 designs published. When I wanted to do some newspaper articles on motorcycle racing, the "yes" came and for five years I pumped out articles.

I applaud and congratulate you for getting a "yes" and will soon be published. That is my next goal and will try to do the same as you and not let others' mega-successes zap my confidence.

Great post today.

jama said...

Thanks for sharing your honest, heartfelt thoughts, Lisa. Even though we consciously count our blessings, something in human nature will ask for more -- though it can be depressing and frustrating, that little nagging desire is what makes us keep striving to better our skills. I think in time, a measure of our growth as human beings is a degree of acceptance -- there will always be those smarter, prettier, more popular, than we are. And that's okay. Doing our best has to be good enough.

I agree that the internet makes it very difficult. I try to remind myself that even the award winning, high profile writers have to struggle with reaching that next notch. With fame comes all kinds of big pressure and responsibility.

Emily Marshall said...

Lisa, thanks for writing this. I think everyone feels like this. Even the BIG authors and BIG celebrities. No matter how good you are or how big you are, I think most people still covet characteristics of others. If you are rich and famous, I imagine you want more time or more meaningful relationships. If you aren't, you think everything will be better if you just become rich and famous. Or have more awards. Or what have you. It's a fact of life. One that stinks sometimes. And I think all we can do is what you said, learn to appreciate what we do have. I just wish it was easier sometimes.

But good post, and I can tell you are having a worry filled week. Maybe it helps to know you aren't alone!! And hang in there.

Kate Fall said...

See, Lisa, I thought you were one of the cool kids. Just like all those "cool kids" in high school probably thought everybody hated them.

The connection between financial reward and talent/effort is very, very tenuous. I agree, I'd like some more peace of mind for my family's future. But money is unpredictable in every career in the short term. You're going for the long term!

BTW, I saved my notes from HS and they're boring. They're like handwritten text messages. My friends couldn't spell and weren't all that articulate, apparently. :)

Lisa Schroeder said...

Thanks, all. You are all basically saying the same thing. Are people ever at a place where they are really and truly happy? Satisfied?
If they have one thing, they probably want something else.

So it goes back to looking around at what there is and giving thanks for that. Constantly. Every day. I think I need to specifically give thanks for my writing life every day and the things I'm grateful for. Maybe I'll even keep a journal! :)

Kristina Springer said...

I hear ya. I'm having one of those weeks too.

Ghost Girl (aka, Mary Ann) said...

I am so with you, Lisa! I'm 44 and I've fought my whole life for that sense of myself. That's one reason my family knows nothing about my writing. They would tear it down, so I just don't go there. Maybe someday.

You are making it happen. Bravo!

Chase those dreams. You may be surprised where they lead you!

Unknown said...

Thanks! This was actually the exact post I needed to read this week after being walloped by discouragement.

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