Angst of the Creative Adult

Unabridged title: “Angst of the Creative Adult Who Started the Journey Toward Publishing “Just Before Social Media” and is Feeling Left Behind.”

 

Dissatisfaction. What a feeling. How can a 38-year-old be angst ridden? Isn’t that something for teenagers and twenty-something’s? I’ve learned as I have lived through my thirties, (now closing out the last couple years of it) that this is BY FAR the hardest decade of my life. Why? Because in your thirties, all of the responsibilities of life are upon you. Yes, at least, you can get past all the social BS that goes with being in your twenties, all the relationship BS, etc. You know what you want and you know how to get it. You’re not afraid to go after what you want nor are you afraid to stay in a situation because you are putting yourself first. But that’s just it, now you HAVE to do these things. There are no more delays or “by the time I’m 40, I’ll have this or that accomplished” type of ideas. No one makes excuses for people in their 30s (nor should they).

Here’s the reality I feel. You ARE almost 40 and you HAVEN’T done all the things you said you would by now. Sure, as a kid, you can’t know how difficult life is to navigate and can be quite naïve about how the world works, but by the time you’re in your mid-thirties, you would hope that most of your money and relationship and especially your CAREER would be just where you wanted it – in a grand place only heading higher. I’m not talking about big business or rising the ranks, but becoming the person you always saw yourself as, or who you know you are capable of becoming.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow, when you realize you haven’t put the commitment and discipline to your projects the way you could have. You realize how distracted you have let yourself became by life – by finding love, falling in love, falling out of love, and then finding love again, dealing with family issues, debt, etc. And before you turn around, seven years have gone by and your thirties are almost over. WTF happened? Why have I not already become a massively successful novelist or magazine publisher?

Why do I see all these 17-year-olds with huge contracts with marketing and development firms because they created a sensation on social media?

That’s all it takes these days. I’m a little bitter, but more, I’m pissed. Where were all these platforms in my teens and early 20s when I had all the inspiration and fire and passion burning in me (and all that damn extra time) to create? Moreover, why have I not JUMPED on them now that they are available? It’s not technology’s fault that it came late for me. But it still feels like I’ve been left behind.

My forum was to email and mail in submissions, buy books on what publishers wanted. Of course, I had the internet for research and forums and making connections, but we had like, Myspace. There weren’t apps yet when I was in college. Social media was just beginning (no FB just yet) and smart phones were just on the cusp. Companies and producers weren’t looking for people online. That wasn’t the culture. Creative people before 2007 had to still rely on working their way up, getting noticed by their work and dogged persistence in turning in submission after submission after pitch after pitch, not by their online platform.

I was heavily committed to buying all the publishing industry books on what publishers and editors and movie producers were looking for and I feverishly cranked things out, all while going to networking events, workshops, being in college clubs, going to school, etc. All that energy and drive had me going in many directions, always certain that I’d hit a big writing career along the way and by now, would be living in my mountain estate, cranking out novel after novel while managing my magazine. Ah, what a vision.

Now you can create a following on any one of the current social apps (so long as you take the time to post non-stop, constantly creating new content on a daily basis) and you may get recruited by some big company giving you an even bigger paycheck. Not saying that’s what I want, but I envy the opportunities available to those with plenty of time on their hands today – they can actually make a career out of a hobby.

Well hell, if I had all this shit when I was teenager and writing YA novels and short stories (all submitting via mail or email) – I know I could have created something bigger. I KNOW IT. I used to meet with friends and others and we wrote movies together. We would meet and develop ideas together. But we did not have an instant forum for them. We had to enter contests and wait to hear back. Submit manuscripts and email and wait and wait and finally get a rejection…and try again.

I may have had a chance to “get there” by my own devices a lot sooner simply because I had more time and less responsibility. Sure, an 18-year-old has time to create 6-second videos ALL DAY LONG and the energy and passion of creative youth is perfect for social media. But by the time you’re in your thirties – if you haven’t gotten “there” yet, you are slowing the pace just by simply dealing with L-I-F-E. Buying a home, a car, starting a family, etc.

But WHAAAA? Really? Yes, it sucks and life isn’t fair and yada, yada, yada. I know I’m whining but I’m merely venting. I don’t blame anyone or hate them for their success. The trick is to not compare and feel less-than simply because others accomplish things I’d like to accomplish. Instead, I can use it for fuel.

I refuse to sit back and stay bitter. Instead I can use the opportunities that are now available and use my passion to make it happen. Even if it takes me a little longer and requires further understanding, I can navigate in this new publishing world, too.

The passion is there, but the challenge is finding the will to do all the work in the wake of your…sigh…real job.

 

And yes, at least my real job is creative – I am editor of two magazines. They may not be national, but they are well liked in my community and it generates the feelings that I like to get from a job well done. But it’s NOT my ultimate destination.

I have found that working in a creative job, as a writer, especially, that is it is all the more difficult to create on your own time. But it CAN and HAS been done. It just takes even more will, more time, more desire to make yourself write for you, everyday, to get there one bit at a time.

 

It has been a very tough and busy year. I got the editor job last year (just when I was revving up this blog and my other creative projects), but this year, right in January, I had to say goodbye to my sweet, dear Golden Retriever. By far, that is the worst grief I have ever felt. It was so very acute. I mean, since I lost my father at 12-years-old, that is. But that grief is distant. My dog, my sweet Penny, was everything to me and so suddenly she was gone. I was distraught.

Yet at the same time, I was planning a wedding (a New Orleans jazz wedding with parade and all, no less) with the love of my life. Grief and Joy all at one.

In January a horrible thing happened, and in April, a wonderful and joyous thing happened. Talk about a roller coaster.

It has taken its toll and I have not been writing for myself. Not enough to post a blog. I haven’t posted a FREAKIN’ blog since Feb. Why? Because I just didn’t have the emotional energy to dip into the swelling wave that has been building.

So now I am blowing this up, stream of consciousness style, to get it OUT of my HEAD and onto the page.

Where have I been all year? What am I doing? A trajectory that was started two years ago has slowed steadily and I am in angst.

If I am so dissatisfied with the slowness of my progression with a blog and writing my next book, why am I not making the time to write? Why? Why do I do this to myself?

On some level, I must be afraid to follow through. Not because of failure, but because of success. Success in terms of seeing an idea come to fruition comes from the act of continually feeding that idea and growing it. In my mind’s eye, that’s what I want, but it takes a lot of work and discipline to get there.

The work I can do, the discipline is a challenge. Staying consistently committed to a schedule is my biggest weakness. But my tenacity of wanting something often can overpower my atrophied discipline muscle to power through almost anything.

Woe is me for not doing more with my time. Woe is me for spending too much time vegging out and disconnecting and escaping from everyday life.

The vodka shots won’t help. The smoke won’t help. Only doing what is in my heart will help and only fleshing out my ideas creatively will bring me true satisfaction.

I’m not so stuck on “making it” like I was in my youth. I have matured and I am happy with a lot of my life, but that dissatisfaction (deep down) of not doing all that I am capable of, of not following through on a creative idea I started, is what leads to my angst.

Why can’t I just be happy with where I am, professionally? Because I just can’t. I want more. I always have. And I know I can get it.

I just have to do it. I’ve accepted the reality that I am a late bloomer. That’s better than no bloom at all.

 

I see Them. I see You. I see Me. Woman Sees World.

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Accepting the Self – a Poem

Feeling my way back toward

Inner happiness and acceptance.

What is the path, where is the start?

Here and now, me, within – not outside

Take me, Lead me, Show Me, Follow Me

Passion surging my brain, seeking outlet

Then blocked, reopened and spilling forth.

Ebb and flow, waves of anger and acknowledgment

Acceptance and letting go – what they did, what I did.

I define me, even in midst of swirling uncertainties, only me, only I.

Finding a way back to inner truth, inner reflection, inner acceptance

Brings an understanding to my own heart and mind – I am who I am

Whether it seems like it or not, that is enough, even though it isn’t, it is.

Tears of pain, anguish at lost time, struggle and strife to find my way, freedom.

Realizing my own creation within, storm brewing in my mind as a framework

For my next big thing, project, path, work…me, my identity in my work, strong,

But it doesn’t control me, for I do that now, for the detours are closed, for I am.

Right now, time eternal, myself, my life, is good enough, even though it isn’t, it is.

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I see Them. I see You. I see Me. Woman Sees World.

Thank you for following the WSW blog.

Follow us on Twitter @womansees and Facebook here.

Accepting Adulthood

It’s a bitter pill to swallow the day you realize you are an adult and nothing else can be put off. Everything I don’t have is my fault. It’s nothing circumstantial nor can I blame it on that I still have some growing up to do; no external forces direct anything in my life – it’s all me. I’m a grown up, responsible for everything that does and doesn’t happen in her life. Not just in theory, but for real. And it sure hurts to feel like you’ve wasted time and energy, held yourself back, but you did. We all do, and it’s when we realize it’s time for transformation that the pain sets in, but it’s the good pain, the pain that leads to growth like a fatigued muscle that is weakened upon exertion but rebuilds stronger in recovery.

Tears, feelings of anguish, wanting more from life than ordinary, status quo – realizing that I’m still there, having not quite yet broken that barrier to greatness. I’m extraordinary and I’ve created and experienced such moments of WOW, yet so far my life feels pretty ordinary – not dissatisfied ordinary – just stuck in the linear cycle of life instead of staying the course of strong inspiration to push through setbacks.  My trajectory out of school had always been WAY high on the slant.  In my early to mid 20s it was like I was shot out of a cannon only to get stuck in some thick mud of my own creation by the early to mid-thirties.

I feel stunted, have felt stunted the last five years whilst rebuilding myself after a HUGE life change (leaving a marriage) and thrusting myself into even more mud by returning to a job that always made me feel trapped, just because I was afraid of financial ruin. I was worried about potentially missing out on seeming “short cuts” to regain financial freedom that would then allow me the real independence of working for myself and from my own creations. The haze I put myself in starting at 31 when I left my husband until now (newly 37) make me want to cry, yet valuable learning has been and still is taking place. I’m on the other side of that time – the big life event/s. When I left my ex, I was making the choice to GO FOR IT – to go for that life I always wanted and could see slipping away from me everyday I stayed in a marriage that I didn’t want to be in, faking my happiness at home.

What horrible, wonderful lessons and growth I’ve had since that fateful time almost six years ago. I’ve been retreating and defending myself, whilst slowly putting a toe in the water millimeters at a time…putting it in, then taking it back out…retreating and jumping in and back out again. I was growing and evolving in some areas all while putting myself in a cocoon of what was safe and normal and comfortable. Before long I had lost my way and my passion for the one thing I always knew I wanted to do with my life – write, publish, communicate, connect people and ideas. I was too busy running a small family business and responding to external demands of survival that instead of strengthening within, I looked for ways to numb out and I lost some of myself…for a while.

Now that I am fully back, and my psyche is surveying what I’ve been through the past few years and where I want to be and can be and could’ve been at any time I wanted, the safety mechanisms don’t appeal to me anymore.  All the defense mechanisms and emotional protection in my 20s just don’t work now in my 30s. I require new tools and I am developing them. Childhood, youthful naiveté about people and society and work and money and love and the subsequent whining about why the world is so effed up (while numbing yourself to the stresses)…is OVER!  O – V – E – R!

It’s like a HUGE bright Light is glaring at me from the end of a tunnel where the haze has finally dissipated and I can see it, and the Light is saying – HEY – THERE YOU ARE! I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU TO STOP HIDING BEHIND YOUR FEARS AND PUTTING OFF LIFE. REALITY CHECK – YOU’VE WASTED SOME VALUABLE TIME and ENERGY.  LET THAT GO AND MOVE ON!  GET OUT OF THIS TUNNEL AND GO BE YOUR BEST SELF!!

It’s like a punch in the gut and throat, all at once. Oh the tears, the sobbing, uncontrollably, off and on, for hours as I process such thoughts, and, with brutal honestly, review my last few years and how I let the stress of the world make me retreat. ME, the fearless one who will say anything to anyone and take on any challenge – became afraid of the big, bad, world! And I didn’t even realize I was – I just blamed it on the external demands – but deep down we ALL know that’s an excuse.

I create my reality and right now, in this very moment, I create SYNERGY with my mind, body, emotions and spirit to be the ME I know, the ME I was all set to be until I let LIFE get in the way. She’s back and badder (in a good way) than ever!

The past six years were a true test. For far too long I have been juuuuust passing at life. Not good enough!! I plan to ACE the rest of life!

Stay tuned for more from WSW author (me) and my interviewees!

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Golden Rules-No Reflection of Reality

What is it about life that is so ironic? You want to know? I’ll tell you. We are raised and our parents were raised, and most people raise their children to have values and believe in a sense of right and wrong. We are taught and then teach that only good people have a truly good life (and possibly afterlife if you believe in that), and that even if bad people get ahead there will be consequences for being bad. Everyone seems to agree that being honest and having integrity is important. The Golden Rules.

Yet here’s the twist – once you reach a certain age you realize the world isn’t really that way.   It isn’t that way at all. In fact, it’s merely an ideal that we all strive to but admittedly don’t live up to – and we all agree to that covenant. By “we” I mean our society as a whole, not that we all do bad things to get ahead. But good winning out in the end is only one scenario of how things can go. The truth, the ugly, brutal, ironic truth is that much if not most of the time, there is no consequence for breaking all the Golden Rules. Dishonesty, Greed, Cruelty, Gluttony is rewarded and doesn’t impede people’s progress one bit. In fact, the greedy, dishonest, cruel, manipulative (insert negative adjective, here) get ahead and thrive in this world.

Sometimes I feel pissed off about being lied to (waahh, I know) and about this desperate clinging that the last few generations of adults have had to keeping children in the dark about the realities of life as if it will somehow prevent such realities from happening to them. Now I’m not talking about the super, ugly, triple X or violent stuff – but the nature of people and how the world can make you stronger or swallow you whole.

Of course, that’s the point of living life, to learn these lessons, and our parents don’t have all the answers – yes, I know that and can forgive that. Rather, what pisses me off and scares me and brings forth feelings of sadness and helplessness is the collective, communal, planetary acceptance of behaving badly as a part of life while completely teaching, promoting and selling the opposite. Behaving badly means doing things we were taught as children are inherently NOT the way to be or act or treat others, but do it as adults – so that’s just about everything! Lying, gossiping, manipulation, deception, back-stabbing/bus throwing-under-ing, turncoat-ism, disrespect, sexism, racism, back room deals, under the table dealings, etc., etc., etc.

I am drawn to good, always have been. Even if utilizing the dark side can get you ahead, there is an emptiness to it that seems is a mandatory consequence. I am not built to be a corporate animal. Too phony and cut-throat, negative and anxious – that world – and it’s always like that regardless of your position. Anyone who expresses true thoughts, opinions and ideas and expects direct communication is truly dead meat in corporate America – some of the darkest energy generators on Earth.

What happens in the dark will come into the light, so the saying goes, and such darkness really does have bitter consequences, even if unseen by the rest of us.

I guess I probably just sound naive or Pollyanna myself, but I suppose I really am at that “stage” I keep talking about in previous posts. The mid-30s, when all the distractions don’t work anymore and you see the world for what it really is – and thankfully for me, what I’ll have to do to thrive in it. I think it’s a precious time for me and I am savoring every drop by writing down my thoughts and capturing moments. Someday when I’m much older I plan to read about this time in my life again.

So this blog showcases a repurposed woman freshly on the other side of a few years of chaos and struggle, and examines how that chaotic reality is the norm, it seems, for women currently in their mid-to-late-30s. We came up in a time when you were supposed to have a career and a family. We were/are tolerant and wanted change and were/are confident in what our lives were/are to be. We have put in our time and work and we were just learning about the Internet in college (early 2000s), but then, in the span of just a few years – the world changed – and we had JUST been college educated and starting our careers – perhaps a few years in – when WHAM – we were (or may have been) already in an outdated industry (those of us going into print media but it’s happened in other industries). However it happened, our lives had not come together the way we planned, with it all worked out and in the bag – career, husband who is love of life, kid/s, book deal in the works all by 35.   Tee hee.

Going back to that time (and even now), it seemed the world had become more interested in the virtual than the tactile.  Of course, as we sway to one end of the spectrum, so we begin to sway back to the other side. For all the virtual living we do, we are increasingly using technology to connect more with others, in person.

This is the changing and evolving world we live in and adjusting quickly to those changes is simply a reality. It is the new “way it is” (I just cannot let myself call it the “new normal” because the instant media world we live in killed that one fast).

Being born when I was (late 1970s), I got to see the world before this stage of mobile technology and now I see it with this technology. We live in a world of screens filled with instant gratification. It’s certainly a spectacle, but I feel that I am the luckiest generation of all! Our generation knows how to function without all these mobile devices (well, I will if I have to but don’t want to) because we grew up learning how to do everything manually, but in young adulthood, had to learn the world with computers (college, work) – so we received the best of both worlds.

As I say hello to the next birthday (just a couple days now), I embrace my life, my age, my place in the world and my next steps. I feel more solidified than ever before – as if it’s finally happened for real – adulthood. I’m ripened and matured, ready to handle this world we have before us.

Wassup world?!

 

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