Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Bonus Tuesday: Embracing mediocrity

Trisha's Note: Because I enjoy writing but am also easily sidetracked, I have a lot of unfinished posts just wallowing around in sad incompletion on my Blogger dash. I've decided to finish them because A) I like a challenge and 2) I don't want to party like it's 1999. Or 2014. I just want to stay home.

So that's what Bonus Tuesday is all about: a bonus post, written who knows when and about who knows what, that may or may not really deserve the light of day. (You're totally sold on the concept, aren't you?) I started working on this post early October, apparently. I just couldn't figure out how to get the words right. I still haven't, but hey, Bonus Tuesday waits for no one.


I've been writing and rewriting this post for, no kidding, two weeks now*, and I've come to the conclusion that I have to just SAY IT or else this is never going to go live. Maybe the fates are trying to tell me something? Unfortunately, I'm kind of deaf from blasting New Kids on the Block on my walkman circa 1986.

Side note: My mother did warn me this would happen, but I didn't listen. Because the volume was up too high.

Anyway, about the time of my blogging break, a woman came into the office for an interview and she said something that kind of intrigued me, but not in the way she meant it to. I want to preface this by saying that she is an incredibly kind soul, and I appreciate so much what she was trying to do and the faith she has in me.

Here's what went down:

She's a teacher, and she was talking about what had been and what could have been in her own life, and how we should live with no regrets. In between answering my questions, she would ask me questions, and seemed to take to heart what I was saying, particularly about the teachers who saw my writing talent and nurtured that in me. So I'm telling her about good ol' Mrs. Smith in fifth grade, who believed in my stories so much she made copies of a collection I'd written and sent them off to various publishers, and then, since this woman also grew up here and we know mutual people, I added that my friend Mara really is being published.

At this she nods sagely, like she's just put together a puzzle, and asks me when I'm going to publish my story. I want to be the first to come into this office and have you autograph it, she adds.

And I'm like, well... but I was a child, and I'm okay with what I'm doing now. To which she's all, no, don't just be okay! Never settle! 

As I said, I really appreciate her faith in me, like I could just sit down and crank out a novel. She's nice. But instead of making me want to write a novel, it's just made me go round and round with myself on the line between success and settling: There's this idea that we constantly have to be reaching for more, have our sights on the next big thing, in order to be "successful." We're never able to just stop and be grateful for what we already have and what we've already accomplished because that's considered "settling."

But I am grateful. I'm happy, even. What does it says about me that I'm willing to settle? That I don't think I am? Am I taking a stand for minimalism or am I just being a brat? Or worse, lazy?

I don't know, you guys. I just don't.

*Try almost three months at this point.

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