Novel Aspirations: My Greatest Dream in Life


Those of you reading this who are writers will know what I mean when I say that I am having one of those days when I want to write about so many things but my mind can’t seem to slow down long enough to settle on any of them.  I love nursing, I really do, but my greatest career aspiration is to be a writer.  I don’t even really think of writing as a career because writing a novel has always been my greatest dream, going all the way back to childhood.  I’ve always been fascinated with books and stories and the older I get the more my love for reading (and writing) grows.  I want desperately to write the kind of novel that really makes people think, that makes readers really examine their own lives and beliefs.  But I have no idea where to start, and at twenty-four (almost twenty-five) years old, I figure I haven’t experienced enough of life to be able to write such a thing anyway.  There’s a part of my brain that tells me I’m crazy for thinking I could ever influence people with my words, whether written or spoken.  I try not to listen to that voice but there are days, like today, when that voice is louder than the other voices in my head.  I’m not schizophrenic or anything but we all have voices in our heads, you know the positive ones that say “You can do it,” usually followed quite swiftly by the negative ones that say “You’re crazy for dreaming such things.”

writing a book

I was talking to a dear friend of mine recently about the struggle we all face to feel normal in a world that sometimes seems to do nothing but scream “You’re weird!” every time you walk out the door.  Her response was “No one ever changed the world by being normal.”  I love that so much and I fully believe it’s true.  I used to think I couldn’t be happy in life if I didn’t become famous somehow.  Now I realize how foolish that was, but there is still a part of me that feels like I won’t be fully satisfied with my life if I don’t really make a difference in this world (the poem I wrote that is the title of this blog was about this exact struggle; see my post “Inspiration Behind the Blog”).  I’m old enough now to realize that you don’t have to be the next Mother Teresa or Gandhi to make a positive difference in the world; actually we can all do that just by being good decent people every day that we live.  By reaching out to those in need, by showing mercy when it would be easier not to, by baring our souls about the struggles we all face so that our friends and acquaintances realize that deep down we’re really all the same.  And yet I keep coming back to writing.  As much as I love nursing and realize that my career offers me a multitude of opportunities to help others every day (or night) that I work, I can’t help but feel that no matter what I accomplish as a nurse, or even as a mom someday, I’ll still want more.  I still want to write a book.  I still feel like that’s the best way in which I can touch this world.

At the rate I’m going now, I don’t know if my book will ever happen.  At this point in my life I’m still much too worried about what others would think about some of the things I want to write.  I know I have to move past such trivialities if I want to ever write something truly great, but that isn’t going to happen overnight.  I also realize that even if I do actually write a novel, it might never get published.  And even if it did get published, that’s no guarantee anyone would actually read it.  But I still feel like I have to try, because as I told a friend yesterday, I write principally for myself, to bring peace to my own soul.  Of course if my writing can somehow inspire others, then that is a wonderful bonus.

I have no idea where I’m going with this post but I just knew that I wouldn’t get anything accomplished today and most importantly I wouldn’t be at peace with myself until I wrote about something.  Even if it was something as ironic as writing about writing, as the case may be.  In any case, I like to think that this blog is a small step in the right direction toward accomplishing my dream.

For those of you reading who would like to share what your greatest dream(s) is in life, I’d love to hear from you.

Love is Blind . . . Or Is It?


I just finished reading an intriguing book (which I found at a local thrift store) called The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver.  It’s really quite an improbable story (but a touching one nonetheless) about a young girl from Eastern Kentucky who escapes her backwoods hometown to travel out West & in the process adopts a young Indian child from Oklahoma.  Like I said it’s an improbable story but a powerful one just the same.  The central theme of the novel appears to be that life is difficult, unfair, & sometimes downright heart-breaking but nonetheless it is beautiful, joyful, & very much worth living.  The second apparent theme, which stems from the first, is that the best we can hope for in this world is to give & receive love & to enjoy life as much as we can for as long as we can.

love

The book also focuses on how parents feel the need to protect their children from the world & all the dangers & sorrows it contains, but in the end such a task is futile & in fact impossible.  I found this last theme particularly powerful because it’s something I’ve thought about a lot lately.  As I have mentioned in some of my previous blog posts, I have started thinking a lot more about having kids over the past six months or so.  Just a year ago I was still very much unsure if I wanted to have kids at all.  Ever.  Now I’m suddenly very sure that I do & I’m even thinking that I might want them a lot sooner than I’d originally thought possible (I’m talking two to three years from now).  I’m not sure exactly what caused this change in me & I suppose it really doesn’t matter.  But one thing I think about a lot in relation to having children is that I don’t want my children to grow up over-protected and naïve because that can really be quite dangerous.  But at the same time I feel like no one escapes childhood unscathed; indeed, as adults we are all somewhat scarred from our childhood & adolescence no matter how wonderful our parents were.  So part of me feels like parenthood would be this incredible burden because I’d constantly feel the need to make sure I don’t “scar” my children in any way while at the same time knowing that there’s no way around it because no one is perfect.  What a conundrum, especially for a perfectionist like me!  I guess what I have to realize is exactly what a friend was telling me today: as parents, as in all aspects of life, we have to remember that we cannot control everything so we just have to do the best we can & know that that is enough.

Sometimes I feel a bit cynical for my age because it’s impossible for me to ignore the unfairness of life.  My career in healthcare only enhances this sometimes as I’m constantly presented with situations in which bad things happen to good people, often beyond their control.  As a consequence I often feel older than I am & in fact basically everyone who doesn’t already know my age seems shocked when they find out how young I really am.  But I don’t really mind this because I think perhaps the greatest thing in life is to keep going even when you realize how bleak things can be.  Perhaps it is the same with parenthood.  What I mean is, as children we can’t imagine that our parents don’t always love us with every fiber of their being.  We can’t imagine that they have moments in which they question everything they’ve ever done as a parent even to the point of wondering whether they should even be a parent at all.  But as adults we realize this is very much the reality of life.  And perhaps as adults we can appreciate how much greater is the love of a parent for a child when they persist in raising & loving their child in spite of these fears.  The same goes for loving our spouses, romantic partners, friends, & families.  Real love doesn’t exist because of a lack of fears, uncertainties, or difficulties.  Real love exists in spite of all these things.  Real love persists even when the road of life is rocky & challenging, indeed even when there appears to be no path at all.

I’ve often heard it said that love is blind & that lovers are often so enveloped in their own romance that they are blinded to not only each other’s faults but the faults of the world around them.  But I beg to differ.  I believe true love (whether romantic or otherwise, for honestly I don’t think there’s too much difference but that’s a whole other blog post right there) rather than blinding us opens our eyes to see the world more clearly.  I do believe this means we will “stop to smell the roses” a bit more & learn to appreciate the everyday joys in life, but I also believe it means that we won’t be blinded to the injustices in the world or to each other’s faults.  Rather I believe we will be encouraged & empowered to better ourselves & the world around us & to tackle the injustices of life with as much passion as we can muster.  Indeed real love gives us the courage to face an uncertain world & to know that even if our lives aren’t perfect they can still be beautiful & meaningful.

[I included the picture of cards that spell out love because I like the implications of love being somewhat like a card game.  We’re all dealt a different hand in life but we have to make the most of what cards we have, knowing that in the end our lives come down somewhat to luck but more so to skill & attitude in handling whatever comes our way.]