The topic this week is hindsight.
My husband and I are debriefers. We extract takeaways from every purchase, major life event, and experience. Try it, fix it, try it, my father used to say, and we do. This leads to increasingly better outcomes, but, we’ve come to see, also means we are hard on ourselves.
This past week, on vacation, drinks in hand, we did something new: instead of considering what we could have done differently, we acknowledged what we’ve done right over our seventeen years together. Hindsight, with a positive spin. It felt so good I’m sticking with that tact for this post. Here are five decisions that paved the way for I LIKED MY LIFE to be published:
- I sat down and wrote a book. Then I rewrote it. Then I rewrote it again. I put it aside several times, once for several years, but, damnit, I sat down and wrote a book.
- I chose my dream over a paycheck. John Burroughs wrote, “Leap and the net will appear.” I believe this, but you can’t be a fool about it. Have a plan before jumping.
- In order for me to back out of the corporate world, my husband had to step up– even more than he already was– to carry both our weight. Fortunately, I married a man willing to do that. He believes in me. What I’ve learned is: the humans we chose to be with change our fate.
- When my first book didn’t sell, I wrote another book. When my first agent fired me, I found another agent. Prior to this adventure, I’d limited myself to participating in things where success was certain. With writing, I put myself out there, ego be damn. And damned it was, for awhile. But look! Now it’s not.
- I developed a creative process that gave me room to have “blah” days. In my previous career, there was no personal indulgence. Frankly, it wasn’t at all necessary. The harder I worked, the more money I made. I was an engine. With writing, I’ve learned not to force it. To “write through” bad days and then have the discipline to delete it all the following morning. This skill has seeped into my personal life in the most rewarding of ways: I can now be present.
I so hope this doesn’t come across as arrogant– I made loads of errors along the way. There were consequences to halving our income. I struggled to find self-worth without a paycheck. On multiple occasions, but only when I was alone, I sobbed at the thought that I’d walked away from what could have been a legacy of business success. Now, I think that version of hindsight doesn’t suit me as well. I rather enjoy how it feels to give myself a little credit.
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