I was born fifteen years before the end of the previous century, so, barring any unforeseen circumstances (although, aren’t most circumstances originally unforeseen, unless you have psychic abilities you can control?), I shall do most of my living during this century. I jokingly told my mother the other day (and probably various other people over the years) that I would commit suicide on June 10, 2085. Not because I foresee being horribly depressed, or even that I can predict being so declined in health that suicide is my only out, but because I would then have died on my 100th birthday, and I just think that’s neat, to live to be exactly one century old.
But it is not June 10, 2085. It is the second day of the eleventh year of the second century that I have been alive during: January 2, 2011. Just as I was typing the year, my fingers flowed automatically to typing 2001. I recently told a friend on facebook that I could remember when I was a kid and 2000 seemed a long way off. Now we’re eleven years past that and counting. I don’t believe that the world will end in 2012 as some believe. We cannot know when the world will end, but a solar supernova or a giant meteorite seem like the most likely culprits to me.
Until the world ends or I die, whichever comes first of course, I’ll have to keep doing my living. But what is living? Is it the day to day humdrum of dishes and laundry and bill payments, of walking the dog and feeding the cat, of diapering babies and arguing with toddlers about why they cannot marry their daddies? Is it the sum of various exciting interruptions to that humdrum: skydiving, hang-gliding, singing karaoke, or driving down to the coast? Is it the achievement of dreams: getting that paying gig for your garage band or that spot in that commercial or opening up that shop you’ve always wanted or finally seeing your name embossed on the cover of a mass-marketed book?
Perhaps living is the sum of many parts, like ingredients to a cupcake, the cupcake being the pursuance of happiness (an unalienable right said America’s founding fathers). The achievements are like sprinkles on the cupcake; you don’t need sprinkles to make a cupcake great, but it’s nice to have them there. The other things are all necessary ingredients, and crucial to those ingredients are the pursuance of dreams and goals.
- “For when the One Great Scorer comes
- To write against your name,
- He marks – not that you won or lost –
- But how you played the Game.”–Grantland Rice
Rice was using sports metaphor to talk about life and incorporating a bit of a belief in a higher power; his quote might not quite fit with my cupcake metaphor (and my on-the-fence attitude about higher powers), but for nearly a century people have been using his words as part of a long list of inspirational quotes to guide their lives. While in some ways it may seem cliché, the idea that it’s not whether you win or lose but how you play is an important thing to ponder in life.
Say you’ve always wanted to be a famous singer. These days, there are many roads to that Rome. You may go to karaoke bars and sing from open to close as often as possible, creating for yourself a loyal fan-base which might ultimately lead to discovery. You may upload videos of yourself singing to YouTube with the same potential results as the karaoke route. You may try out for a reality show such as American Idol or America’s Got Talent, where even the losers might still win contracts and fame. You may put your recordings on various file share cites, with keywords indicating what your style is similar to so that people who are into that band or artist might also give you a listen, potentially gaining an eventual underground following. Similarly, you could sell demo CDs out of the trunk of your car. You may go to college and become a classically trained musician. You may just show up at every posted audition around the country.
If you do any of those things, the likelihood that you’ll become a famous singer is still slim, but won’t you have fun? A classmate in my college speech class did her process speech on auditioning for American Idol. Although she was, apparently, an excellent singer, she never made it to the part where they put your auditions on TV, let alone to being a contestant on the show, but she still recommended people try out for the sake of the experience.
That’s what playing the game is. It’s doing things for the sake of the experiences, while still making baby steps towards your eventual future goals. Your cupcake might turn out to be the best cupcake ever baked with the sweetest icing and the shiniest crunchiest sprinkles, or it might be mediocre, or it might even turn to charcoal because you got distracted by your Sim’s architectural career, but you had fun putting all the ingredients together.
The flavor of your cupcake is totally up to you, and can change over time. When I was a little girl I wanted to be anything famous. My mother said mostly I would say, “I want to be a singer.” and she said I made sure to articulate each word in the Standard English Dialect taught in American schools; I rarely let regional accents slip into my voice as a child (oh how things change!). But I would write, draw, paint, sculpt, design clothing, sing, dance, “teach” my dolls (not sure how I intended to turn teaching into fame, unless we’re talking Annie Sullivan style).
As I aged up, my goals changed, or perhaps transitioned. In some cases, my options simply narrowed out of necessity. I could not go to Juilliard School’s Dance Division having the grace, balance, rhythm, precision, and dexterity of a fat white girl with ADD. In other cases, it was out of chronic indecision or a change in circumstances (one cannot take a two week long college course in a foreign country when one is five months pregnant with her second child, after all).
Now that I’ve graduated with my Bachelor’s degree, I’m supposed to be setting new goals, chasing new dreams. One of those goals is graduate studies, another involves my writing. And since it is the beginning of a new year and everyone makes overused resolutions (I’m guilty of the same) about losing weight or gaining cash, the tradition is to set a goal to accomplish in the coming year, which I suppose is less daunting than setting a goal that needs to be accomplished tomorrow, but maybe also less daunting than a goal that needs accomplishing in a decade. If it seems so far away, you are less likely to focus on it, and then it might fade away into that corner of your mind where you tuck stuff you had meant to do once upon a time and now never will.
- I want to begin graduate studies (somewhere, anywhere, please???); and
- I want to work on my writing. As part of that:
- I want to improve this blog so that it appeals to a wider audience, but I don’t want to mess with the format.
I started this blog in 2005 as an outlet for my rants and raves. Over time, I have used entries to discuss my sex life, my parenting skills, my pet peeves, my religious beliefs (or lack thereof), my cooking skills (or…lack…thereof…), and various other random topics that either popped into my head or were suggested (albeit ofttimes inadvertently) by friends and family.
Over the years, as loyal readers can attest, I have improved my writing abilities, as well as my layout. Where once I would put large chunks of text in a tiny font in colors barely contrasted against the background, now I feel (and persons have agreed) that I have made it more readable and given my readers natural breathing/eye-resting points. I have added more links through my entries, included share buttons at the bottom of the entries, and put a personal note before my comment box. I try to respond to every comment and to do so promptly. I want to treat this blog as though it were syndicated (and earning me money) even if it, at present, it is not.
But I cannot just focus on the blog if I want to improve my potential for a livable income from my writing. I need to pursue freelance writing opportunities, even if they do not not necessarily jive with my agenda (such as political writing), and I need to send my pre-written work off to potential publishers often.
I just sent in applications to Demand Studios to be a writer and/or copy editor. I saw where you could apply to be a syndicated blogger, but they want “family friendly” blogs and our definitions may vary…Hopefully they accept my other applications. I also created profiles on a few freelancing websites. And now this blog and my freelancing have their own facebook pages. While doing all of that, I rearranged the blog’s layout yet again.
If my goal is to be a writer, I already am one. If my goal is to be a published writer, I already am one. If my goal is to improve my writing and be more widely published, I’m making baby steps in that direction.
Varsity Fanclub–One, two, baby steps. Three, four, baby steps. Five, six, baby steps. I’m starting over again.