A dear friend reminded me of a great poem this week, The God Who Loves You, by Carl Dennis. It’s about the choices we make, our potential paths, and regret at roads not travelled. It always reminds me that in 1994, I chose not to follow my original career choice of being a journalist, instead going into advertising sales. At the time it was a practical decision: I liked to eat and put gas in my car instead of write and starve. Now, 15 years later, I am back to writing after a career in advertising that took me from ad sales at a newspaper to vice president of sales for an Internet marketing company. I still work in sales, but not at the demanding level of my former life. I consider myself a writer again.
What, exactly, does being a writer mean? For me it means that I write every day, I research every day, and I learn more about writing as a craft every day.
Now, back to Carl Dennis’ poem. If I hadn’t amassed 15 years in business, would I be the writer I am today? If I had remained a newspaper journalist in 1994, where would my career be now? If I had stayed on that road, would I have married my sweetheart and had two wonderful daughters? Or would I be a news correspondent in some far-flung outpost of the world, hanging out with rebels, shooting tequila and longing for a nice suburban home and a family? When I look at it that way, I can’t regret a single choice. I see where and what those choices have brought me.
My writing is a thread of words that have sewn themselves into the fabric of my life. Do I regret that I wasn’t published more, or do I look forward to being published in the future? Sometimes the tapestry is full and colorful, other times it is pale. Yet now, in my evolving time here on earth, I see the pattern taking shape again—a balance of motherhood and career, being a wife and a writer. I can’t imagine taking another path and ending at this same spot. It’s a place I wouldn’t trade for the latest story and a bar full of warlords. It’s the path I choose; therefore I choose to love it.
I am excited about my next decade and see the opportunities ahead of me taking shape in an amazing and magnificent way. For the God who loves me? I acknowledge that there was another life for me that could have easily been mine if I had made a few simple decisions differently. I may have been happier, or I may have been miserable. And so today, I decide to be happy and live this life without regrets. I am thankful to be writing again, back to this original me again, back to myself. I like who she is, and I love the path that brought me here.
How did you find your writing path? Was it always with you, or abandoned then found? However you got here, embrace it and look ahead to the wonderful writing that you have yet to produce. The best is yet to come!