My birthday has come and gone, and here I am, another year older. But am I wiser? That’s a question I like to ask myself. I’m not sure I have an answer though.
Of course for me, the answers never come quickly—my mind doesn’t work that way. Even when I taught every day—a subject I was intimately familiar, mind you—my brain grappled for the right answer at times. Like if my thoughts hadn’t marinated enough, I wouldn’t be able to articulate what I wanted to say. I’ve always said that I’m a better writer than I am a speaker, but honestly, in teaching, you need to be able to speak. And speak well.
But I digress. A lot has occurred during this last trip around the sun for me. Much of my year revolved around the taking care of other people. My youngest, who was diagnosed with what we think is auto-immune pancreatitis; my parents, both of whom now live in memory care; fellow authors I showcased in my author interview series; my editing clients. And much like almost every other year I can remember in my adult life, I lost site of taking care of me.
My women’s fiction WIP is almost finished, but not quite. Submitting to publishers was supposed to happen by the end of summer, and we’re quickly approaching that deadline. Will I make it? It’s doubtful. A couple of other exciting projects still hover on the horizon, slightly out of reach because I haven’t dedicated the necessary time to them—I only get so much accomplished in a few minutes each day. The clutter in my house, which drives me insane, still sits in my vision. But I pretty much have successfully accomplished anything that someone else has asked of me.
Clearly, I almost always place someone else’s needs above mine, so the question now is, why?
Again, I’m not sure I have an answer. Taking care of people is ingrained in who I am. It’s the reason I love spending time at the memory care facility, chatting with residents and family members, helping when possible. It’s the reason I offer to help my friends and acquaintances with whatever they need. It’s why I volunteered for years at the elementary school. It’s the reason I say yes to sharing work for an author I don’t even know. You need help? Call Christina. She’ll get the job accomplished.
But you know what? Those people teach me lessons every day. I learn patience from the residents in memory care, gratefulness from authors I don’t know, humility from friends who give as good as they get, compassion from my sister, and so much more from all these people I encounter on a daily basis. And with learning, comes wisdom.
So I guess I have my answer, friends.
Another year, a little more wisdom. I guess I can’t complain about that.