I’m fairly certain that growing up in the 1970s and 1980s was, for me, the moral equivalent of being sold a mirage in the Sahara. Coming of age in that era of instant-gratification and get-rich-quick schemes and ever-present celebrity news (MTV, anyone?) gave me the impression that life comes in bursts and at any moment I could expect all of my wishes to be granted simultaneously, thereby changing my life forever in a millisecond.
https://kariodriscollwriter.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Kari_logo_var5-100.jpg 1002 1002 kariodriscollwriter_fan60j https://kariodriscollwriter.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/web-logo-Kari.png kariodriscollwriter_fan60j2012-01-03 15:57:002020-09-04 13:34:28My “Duh” Moment
I still sometimes believe that.
Turns out that what actually comes in bursts (at least for me) are the revelations that this is all nonsense.
For so many years I believed that goals were seminal events. That to accomplish one of the milestones I set out to reach would profoundly change the landscape of my life going forward. With a few exceptions, that is total BS. But somehow, I manage to hold on to the exceptions in my mind as reality. Marriage was one of those exceptions, or at least I used to think so. In all honesty, though, Bubba and I lived together, sharing expenses and household duties for nearly a year before we actually had the wedding ceremony. And while the honeymoon rocked, when we returned to our tiny apartment with our two cats and our full-time jobs, except for the part where I had to stand in line forEVER at the DMV to legally change my name on my driver’s license, nothing much changed.
Having babies changed our lives markedly. I’ll give you that one. And graduating high school and college necessitated a drastic shift in the way I spent my days. Beyond those things, though, when I stop to think about it, there aren’t many things I can point to that created dramatic change in my daily life. And even the build-up to graduations and childbirth were gradual, so I can’t really say that any of those things came all at once.
So why is it that when I fantasize about a particular writing project or personal milestone, I expect things to change radically for me? When I finished my first manuscript I felt an enormous sense of accomplishment – the culmination of three years of research and two years of writing and re-writing. But the next morning, I still got up, made breakfast for the girls, had my latte and drove them to school. Even if I had sold the manuscript, my life wouldn’t have become unrecognizably altered.
I have a few friends who successfully published their work in the last year and while I was tremendously pleased for them and a tiny bit jealous, I have to admit that their lives are still essentially the same as they were before. Yes, maybe they are getting more exposure in the literary world. Yes, I suspect they spend some portion of each and every day selling or marketing or talking about their writing. But when it comes down to it, the most basic parts of their lives are still the same – raising children, finding time for self-care (or not), struggling to write new material. So where is that Shangri-La? That, “Oh. My. God. I’m famous. I have ‘arrived.’ I am [fill in the blank]!”
It doesn’t exist. That is truly the exception. If it even happens. Because I suspect that even those folks who become famous overnight or win a trillion dollars in the lottery ultimately revert back to who they really are. If you loved junk food and reality TV before you were elected governor of your state, you might move to the mansion the day of your inauguration, but I won’t give you long before the cupboards are full of cheesy poofs and Oreos and someone has set the DVR to catch “Survivor.”
Much like the lesson I learned from looking back on 2011 with Eve and Lola, I am reminded that it is the daily things we do that add up. Those moments where we are truly ourselves, doing what we do best without pretense or expectation determine the path our lives take.
Call it a “Duh” moment. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t qualify as an “Aha.”
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