One year ago today, my life changed. One year ago today, my novel LIFE AFTER YES was released.
One year ago today, I wrote the following words:
5:32am. Eastern Time. Tuesday. May 18th. 2010.
I sit here. At my desk. My messy desk. Waiting for the coffee to perk. Waiting to wake up.
Today, I think it will take more than coffee.
Today, my first book is published. Born. Here. There. Everywhere.
Today is big and tiny.
Big because I have wanted this for a long time. Big because after decades of operating on academic auto-pilot, I danced with a dream. Big because there were so many voices, echoing in my head and my heart. Voices that said No. No. No. Voices that said everyone wants to write a book. It is so hard to write a book. No one gets published. Why do you think you are any different? Why do you think you will cut it? No. No. No.
So, today is big because something in me stood up to the parade of No. Big because I chose a different word.
It wasnt a conscious choice. More of a gradual shift. An embrace. An awakening. A realization that our lives are stories we write for ourselves. Their arcs arent fixed. Their endings arent determined. And how we fill the pages of our days? It is up to us. And so, as hard as it was at first (oh, and it was), I started saying and thinking a sunnier word. Yes. Yes. Yes. This is my life. No one elses. These are my days. What do I want from these days?
I want love. I want little ones. I want stories. I want dreams.
Today? Today, I am awash in love. Today I wait for my little ones to wake up so I can squeeze them and study their eyes like I do every morning. Today is its own story. One not yet ready to tell. One that will be told.
Today is a dream.
But today is also tiny. Because it is just one. One day. A brilliant blip on my existential radar. Today will proceed like any other. I will refill my coffee cup, my cat mug Toddler gave me for Christmas, and I will hang out with my man and my girls. We will play with rainbow stickers. We will work on puzzles. We will look for that inevitable missing piece. There is always a missing piece. We will smile and laugh and snuggle.
I sit here. Wishing I had planned these words a bit more carefully, but knowing why I didnt. I didnt because I wanted to come here and convey what it is that I am feeling. In the moment. On my big and tiny day.
And so. Here I am doing that. Rambling on. Allowing myself to ramble on.
Yesterday, as I wheeled Baby home from music class in her rainbow stroller, she was particularly animated. She pumped her little legs and bounced in her seat. She pointed at passing puppies and speeding cars. And she kept saying the same thing over and over.
Her words were clear. And loud. And, yes, she might have been singing Happy Birthday without the birth bit. But it doesnt matter, does it? She said those words over and over. Happy day! Happy day! Happy day!
And these words echo in my head this morning. Of all the fancy words in lifes lexicon, these seem to be the perfect words to describe this day, the day on which my literary baby is born.
And through that small space between two sturdy words, two good words, a current of No snakes through. Those voices. No. No. No. So what? Your book is published, but will people buy it? Will they like it? Most books fade away. Dont get your silly little hopes up. Be real
And, on this morning, I tell those voices to shush. On this morning, my silly little hopes are up and my smile is here. On this morning, this big and tiny Tuesday Morning in May, I am all about a different word.
Its time for coffee. Its time for morning kisses. Its time for today.
Its time to wake up.
I read these words and smile. Because it all comes back. That exquisite anxiety and anticipation that gripped me. That brilliant sense of not knowing, but hoping. That keen awareness of good fortune laced with glittering uncertainty.
I smile also because some words I wrote inspire me today, on this different day a year later:
"...our lives are stories we write for ourselves. Their arcs arent fixed. Their endings arent determined. And how we fill the pages of our days? It is up to us."
Perhaps it is the portrait of egotism to quote oneself, but hey, I'll risk that. Because here I sit, a whole year later, still scared and still proud, still humble and still hopeful, filling the pages of my good life. Today's page is a swath of exhaustion and elation, a space full of tiny creatures, including one who was not yet here last year. Creatures who beckon beautifully for my hands and my heart, for me. And they will get me. We will do our thing and have our day, but all the while my mind will dance to last year at this time, a magical day in my personal and professional history.
My mind will also flit forward to that fat stack of white that lays untouched on life's table, those pages not yet lived, what's to come. The babies that will grow big. The books that will be birthed.
Today is a good day. Another Happy Day.
What were you doing one year ago? Are you inspired and encouraged by the notion that it is largely up to us how we fill the pages of our lives?