Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch
Off the shelf, some might say.
I don’t have issues with being old, or middle-aged or any of that, really.
My issue with forty is that it has long seemed like some magical number by which I would have my shit together and be a real grown up.
This has not happened.
Now, it’s not that I object to my cheerfully childish demeanor, my bizarre and somewhat adolescent obsessions, and my burning love for all things animated. But I do object, in some ways, to still living mostly paycheck to paycheck, needing room-mates to afford to live in Seattle, and not really knowing what I want to do with my life. I mean, I thought that by forty I’d know. I mean, really KNOW.
I mean, I know I want to write, and I’ll write regardless of what happens or what goes on or if anyone reads it, because as I told a college creative writing class once, “I can’t not write.” I would like to sell The Novel, on which I have been seriously working, and by seriously I mean, really seriously, for about the last year or so. I would like to sell others. I would like to tell stories for a living. That is my grail. I know that.
I also know that very few authors, unless they have a spouse who can support them, can afford to just write. I am not one of those writers. I need my day job. And sometimes I need downtime to keep my sanity. This is why Seanan McGuire is my new hero and writing icon. Because she writes excellent books, her latest debuted on the New York Times bestseller list, and another was just nominated for a Hugo Award, and she works a full-time job and commutes, and still manages to work it all in.
I suspect she does not sleep.
In addition to writing, however, I would really like to feel as if I’m making a difference, and my current job isn’t doing that for me. Yes, my job is necessary. Yes, people rely on me. But it is neither intellectually challenging (time to fit everything in 24 hours challenging, yes) nor that particularly satisfying. I’d love to work for a non-profit, but honestly, with me being the breadwinner in the family, I can neither afford the cut in pay nor the drop in benefits. I’m trying to make it more meaningful, and I know that the people I work with and for appreciate me for the most part.
And I love that people like the writing here and at Geek Girls Rule! It makes me deliriously happy. Every time someone leaves a comment telling me I helped them, even if it was to not feel so alone for a little bit, I get all weepy and warm inside. Maybe I need to start more aggressively promoting this blog and GGR. It just feels weird to toot my own horn so much, because it’s not like I’m a real grown up or something. Obviously I need to get over that.
I don’t now. I think I just thought I’d have it all figured out by forty.
And I don’t.
But hey, there’s always sixty.
I just turned 45.
No, I don’t have it all figured out. But I have a better idea of what’s important.
Yeah, that’s the response several of my other friends have had. And I do have a better grasp of what’s important. It’s just I still kind of feel like I’m just playing at being a grown-up. Which is probably good. Because most grown-ups are boring.
yes, you do need to promote more. Get some banners made up so others can promote for you easily. Get some business cards made up for your various sites, so you can leave them places that are related to your sites. advertise in the programs for the cons you go to.
But the number one thing you need to do is share your work. No one gets to read 99% of your writing because it is hidden away in notebooks instead of being published anywhere at all, even just online. *I* have never read most of your writing, and I am your best friend. SHARE IT DAMMIT!
I can honestly say that I didn’t expect to have more figured out than I do, by 40. None of the people this age that were around (when I was growing up) had anything figured out, beyond what made them happy and how to have a good time. Those things I do have figured out, along with how to take fairly good care of myself.
I may not know exactly what I do want all the time, but at least I know some of the things I really don’t want now.
I’m 56. And I *know* I’m still not a grownup.