I’m learning to take everything with an attitude of: “What can I do about it?” (Well, most things, anyway).
It’s easy to blame situations and feelings on other people, or on events that seem out of my control. ‘Seem’is the key word there. I believe that no matter what the situation is, there’s always something that can be changed. It may be changing the actual situation, or changing my attitude towards the situation, or a bit of both.
I went for a roadie to visit a friend last weekend. We used to teach at the same school. She passed on some words of wisdom a colleague had said to her: “If you’re stressed, you’re doing it wrong.”
This was said in reference to schoolteachers and teaching, but it applies to anyone, in any career. I’m talking it as a way of changing my automatic stress response. Instead of letting ‘stress mode’ take over, I’m learning to shift my automatic response to: “What do I need to change?”
As I said, I’m stressed. What do I need to change? Right now, I’m dealing with (self-imposed) ideas that I’m not an adult with a real career, nor am I a real writer. While I certainly can’t blame this on any one person or event, my parents were very supportive of an arty career when wanted it, so I guess it’s just a part of middle-class-ish social conditioning that success includes a traditional career, kids, and a white picket fence.
However, the idea isn’t just to get to bottom of my insecurities, but to make a change.
The obvious thing to here is to change my perception. How? One way is to surround myself with people who know that success has many meanings, and lives have different paths. I’m lucky. A lot of my friends fit into this group.
So what next?
I need to redefine my definition of what real writer means, and what it means to be an adult; one that isn’t defined by the genre I write in, the method of publishing, acting my age, or marriage & kids. I need a definition that works from me.
Watch this space.
P.S. Any ideas? What does adulthood or writership mean to you?