How many of us would choose some of the changes we have undergone in our lives? I know if I could choose my path I would not be unemployed right now, and neither would my husband. The past four years have been a long, sometimes hard four years, not knowing how we would survive or pay for our kids’ college tuition. We’ve spent many sleepless nights and many prayer-filled mornings asking for the courage to keep going and for something to happen to turn our fortunes.
My husband is a talented man, a great leader, and wonderful provider. He was a Marine helicopter pilot for nearly twelve years when he and I decided we wanted our boys to have a more stable life than the military gave us. He left that profession to wade into the uncharted waters of pharmaceutical sales. We left our friends in the Marines and moved to a small town in Wisconsin to raise our sons. Being out of the military took some getting used to for both of us, but Bruce got the hang of his new job and worked for Warner Lambert before it became Pfizer. Then he worked for Pfizer after they bought out Warner Lambert. About four years ago, Bruce—along with about half the Pfizer sales force—lost his job. The following year I lost my teaching job due to declining enrollment. Neither of us has been able to find a permanent position since then, so we must change. Neither of us is sure what we will do, but we must do something different.
Change is hard, however, even painful. It’s full of unknowns, full of challenges, some we can see and will handle well, but others we will only be able to work through as they happen. But the pain of a life in transition often leads to joys that we can’t see while we’re in the midst of the change. Change can lead to growth in our talents and in our perspective if we allow it. If we follow our passions and our interests, perhaps the change will be something we never expected, but which will change us and those around us for the better. That is what I hope for at this stage of my life. I plan to focus on the positives wherever I find them, what I have rather than what I don’t have.
Back in April I went to a conference in Madison, Wisconsin, called the Writers Institute. I met a number of talented writers, both published and unpublished like me. At one of the sessions one writer, Laurie Buchanan, who is also a Ph.D., a motivational speaker, and a Life Coach, said something that resonated with me. It must resonate for a lot of people. She said, “What you are not changing, you are choosing.” That was, as Oprah puts it, an “ah hah” moment for me.
So here is my change. I am going to be a writer, a goal I’ve had for years. From now on when people ask me what I do for a living, I will answer, “I’m a writer.” I may be unpublished as yet, but I am a writer. I believe we are what we do every day. I write every day, so I’m a writer. Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” I am establishing the habit of writing. One day I will be excellent at it, but in the meantime, I am going to work my butt off to make my dreams a reality. My students have known my secret dream, and so have a few of my friends, but for a long time I haven’t believed I could be a writer despite what I have said. I believe it now because I am choosing it. I am a writer. What change will you choose? Do you have the courage to live your dream?
Write on, Shannon!