Me. I’m the work in progress.
How is it that I’ve reached my fifties and still don’t know what I’m on this earth to do? During each decade of my adult life, I’ve had a thing. In my twenties, I worked as a foreign credentials analyst. It might’ve been a good career for me, but I was too young, too immature, and too unhappy with the management of my small company to make a serious go of it. I quit three months after I got married, intending to start a web design company.
These were the early days of the internet when all the cool kids were designing websites with black backgrounds and white text. I recall the word “applet” being thrown around. I never learned anything but cut and paste HTML and some meager Photoshop skills. I learned just enough to design something for myself but nowhere near the skills I needed to master before I could take someone else’s money for the work.
My thirties were spent having a grand old time. I flitted from one thing to another; first, it was pet portraits and other arts and crafts, then it was goldsmithing and jewelry design. I taught myself to knit somewhere along the way and dreamed of designing knit patterns. I volunteered at an organization that helped people with life-threatening illnesses keep their pets.
But most of all, I hung out, because my circumstances allowed for it. I didn’t need a job to pay the bills because my partner’s work more than accomplished that. And deep down inside, I felt shitty and guilty because I had a seemingly wonderful life but couldn’t enjoy it.
When I turned forty, I decided I’d finally write that novel I’d wanted to write since I was a kid. It took five years, but you know what? I did it. I published two novels then began writing short stories while I waited for an idea for my third novel to kick in. There was doubt. So. Much. Doubt.
So here I am, in my early fifties, and still searching. Still agonizing about who I am and who I’m supposed to be. Wondering if it’s too late for me. Watching as so many of the novelists who debuted their novels the same year I did flourish while I struggle to finish a third book. Beating myself up for all the time I’ve wasted.
In early 2021, I began working with a wonderful therapist who has helped me navigate this journey. I’ve spent a lot of time analyzing, exploring different paths, devouring self-development content, and experimenting with different organizational methods and strategies. I journal almost every day, something that has been tremendously helpful to the progress I’ve made. And there has been progress. It’s more the three steps forward, two steps back variety, but overall there’s been a net gain.
I don’t yet know what my writing future will be. But to start with, I’d like to post on this blog more. I’ve thought a lot about what my tagline is—how do I brand myself when I have no idea what my brand is? The truth is that a lot of things interest me and I’d like to write about all of them. So how do I categorize that?
And then it came to me: Work in Progress. Because that’s what I am.