October 23, 2017
Recently, I met with a friend from church to talk about writing and life. We're the same age and though we have different life experiences we have similar stories of breaking and re-discovering our identities in our late thirties/early forties. It's a thing.
Our talk was encouraging on many levels but something that really ministered to my heart was the honest interest my friend had in learning about writing. She wanted to pick my brain about all things blog writing. Everything from finding the courage to be vulnerable, to understanding the actual process by which ideas move from head and heart to published digital content.
I know something of value to someone. It's such a good feeling when something you know and do (especially something you love, not just your ability to manage laundry) is valuable to someone else and they honor you by asking in-depth questions about that thing, essentially asking in-depth questions about you.
To be seen and known, to be loved and accepted. We're wired for it.
I explained to my friend how my Ideas move from non-written to written form. She wanted all the nitty-gritty details so I walked through my process of capturing Ideas as they come, often at inopportune times, in digital Notes (Evernote to be exact). And how I have an established daily writing time, a discipline, in which I make some of those Notes a published reality.
When I sit down to write I almost always grab the lowest hanging fruit, which for me means the Idea I find most compelling at the time and/or easiest to flesh out because of my current state of mind or state of heart. This is how most of my blog posts come to be.
But sometimes Ideas (sketched out roughly in Notes) stack up like my bedside books. They stack up for months or even years because they are hard to write through or I don't have enough "there" to publish anything of import. The longer they remain unpublished and stack up, the more they nag me. Like a little insect with an annoying and insistent buzz.
It can be hard to face this mound of Notes and say, "ok, it's time". But I'm working on it. Recently, I've been exercising this muscle of my writing discipline. To work drafts into published posts instead of following my writing bliss of publishing whatever is bright and shiny in the moment.
The Reckoning is like this. I currently have more than a dozen notes with this very title or tag attached.
The Reckoning must be reckoned with. Ha! (My pun-loving uncle would appreciate that one.)
The Reckoning is the fall-out from the midlife breaking and crisis. Maybe you don't need a breaking and crisis to have a reckoning, maybe it just comes with this stage of family life and personal development.
The stage where you've been married a couple decades, the kids are teens and young adults, you're in a transition from one phase to another, and you're somewhat bewildered. You observe (as clearly as you can) who you are and where you are, and you ask yourself "is this what I wanted?"
I suppose this kind of question could bring on the crisis but for me it's the aftermath of the crisis.
It's a different question than those experienced in the crisis itself. Who am I? What am I about? And WTF just happened here?
In reality, all these questions are wrapped up together in a big ball of confusion for the most part. They surface when they do, in the throes of change, at the collision of the tectonic plates of our life, in disturbance and upheaval.
For a time it feels terrible, but it's all good. And necessary.
My Reckoning is a coming to terms, as much as is possible, with the decisions made earlier in my adult life. How those formed me and inform my life now. And how so much of my life is out of my control and that my decisions will not yield what I expect.
It's an honest assessment of what life is because of who I am (and all those external relationships and decisions that have helped define who I am).
The reckoning has hit me with a sense of regret, loss, and failure. But, and this is a big but, I'm learning to explore those feelings in the healing contexts of remembering, acceptance, and growth.
And this is what I want to write about and move into the published world of ideas.
I want to write about the reality of all of it. The regret about what I have and haven't done but the remembering of everything else that was and is, because of what was and wasn't. I want to acknowledge that our sense of loss in midlife is real but so is the gift of acceptance of self, others, and the present moment. And let's not forgot, we've tried and failed enough by this age, to know that we don't achieve all that we hope or dream, but that's how we grow. And growth was always the real point, not the achievement.
I want to explore these ideas, to honestly share some of my observations and reflections. But I'm going to tell you my bias right up front, the thing I know to be true from personal experience and thousands of years of wisdom tradition.
These breaking experiences and sense of regret, loss, and failure that accompanies them are the very soil, the compost, the rich earth of dead and dying matter full of microscopic organisms making all things new (a resurrecting soil, if you will) out of which abundance grows. I hold onto this as truth.
So, yes, I want to write about some difficult things. But as depressing as this might sound, I am holding onto hope, and sharing hope, in the resurrecting soil of our own lives. All things are being made new is the very DNA of the universe, even in you, even in me.
Let's go there.
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