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Starting out and how I got here!

How I decided to finally publish and get kicked into determination and not quitting!

Why it's scary starting at 40

How many times a day do you actually talk to yourself? Probably so much you don’t even realize it. Your inner voice is powerful! It can be the voice that sorts out a problem, encourages you to climb mountains or causes you to give up and self-destruct. This is why it is helpful to have another voice that has your back to push you outside your comfort zone because staying inside your comfort zone lets that voice inside you prevent you from actually achieving what you want. But not everyone has that other voice pushing them along the way and that’s the true reason I’ve decided to put this out for the world to read.

As a young child, I really wanted to grow up and be a mom. I also loved to write stories. In my spare time my whole family knew I was either caught in a book reading or with my face and pen to an 8.5 x 7” note book of paper. My mom even had to kick me out of the house to force me to go outside and make friends, because otherwise I was in my room reading or writing. As I got older the need for love and to be loved really became the head of my goals. And in spite of my passion for reading and writing I chose to go down other paths and put my writing on the shelf. Fast forward to married and 5 kids and putting every ounce of what I have into them, friends, volunteer organizations and anything to have a mark in this world.

Kids grow older and you get lost. I have all these messages of doubt in my head about what to do for myself and who I am outside of the role I’ve taken on for years. I woke up and looked in the morning and I absolutely hated my reflection. I hated that I took no care in myself and I fed that inner voice of self doubt. I also started to feel trapped and suffocated. I was unhappy and honestly put that on my marriage and kids, at no fault of their own. Because I wouldn’t stand up to me or for me. Holy cow, this is honesty if I ever read it!

Part of the epiphany came from a blunt conversation with my mom who asked me this question, “If you were diagnosed with cancer and had 5 years left to live what do you want to have accomplished, who do you want to be remembered as and what do you not want to regret?” My response to that was “I don’t know”. She said, "start with what you don’t want and then you’ll discover what you do." On that ride home I quite simply made a list of all the stuff in my world I didn’t want anymore. Some of it was stuff I even enjoyed doing. Then I realized I wanted to be a published writer. Every vacation I had been on since having kids, sitting in a hotel room while they slept it was quiet and I would write. But I never finished anything. This had to change!

The last vacation I was on, I had started a children’s novel. In 3 days I had written 9 chapters at night. It was just pouring out of me. Then, like the luggage, it got put away when I got home. I realized I never finished a story because I was scared. Scared to let the world read what I wrote because of the self doubt in my head. I had to say to myself, I see you, I hear you; but I have to do this. I had to finish it because that in itself was a huge step and accomplishment.

Shortly after finishing, I discovered a neighbour was a published children’s author. My gut told me I had to let him read it. He kindly did, giving me constructive criticism, enough to inspire me to do a rewrite. But he told me, “you had to let people read it or else why was I even trying to publish? People have to read your work”. That stuck with me. My insecurity and self fear was getting in the way of me potentially doing what I wanted as a kid. I lost direction. I watched my younger sisters succeed ahead of me. And it's not that my choices weren’t good. I have an amazing family. I am a good and flawed mom. I gave back to the community. But not doing this for me was 100% my fault! I was upset and getting nowhere because I was listening to that inner voice.

For some reason, the next day I happened to be looking up songs by Dolly Parton. I heard her music as a kid at my grandparents house. I really like the song Jolene. It was randomly stuck in my head while making dinner. But I knew she had other songs I had never heard. So I looked her up and there was this song “Better Get To Livin’”. I had never heard it and it was like she was telling me to sort myself out and just do it. No excuses for the imperfections just do it. After that, I started talking and letting people know what I wanted to do and other people started to tell me to do it; because I had nothing to lose.

And yet even with my determination in place. That voice of doubt shows up every day. I have to tell it to bugger off every day. But the more you do it the easier it gets.

The self doubt told me I couldn’t succeed at this dream. It told me I didn’t have a chance to reenter the workforce after being home taking my kids all these years. It told me I wouldn’t make enough money to cover the bills on my own. So why bother?

If I listen to it and give in, then that void of doubt is right. People who get outside of their comfort zone and determined, end up happier. They may not be doing what they originally planned either; but they do latch on to something that brings themselves self value and self worth. Confidence is power. It keeps you from being misused by others, paves the way for going after your dreams and also being respected. No one can see who they are in the eyes of others and someone out there will be your champion. You just have to try different people. When I told my husband what I wanted to do, he was supportive. I wasn’t expecting that!

The reason starting at 40 is so scary is because I decided it! This journey isn’t going to be easy; but it's going to be worth it. Change the conversation you have with yourself and you’ll get a better answer.

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