Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fear and postponing in DC

Partly fueled by seeing myself on video, I'm in a very bad no good angsty existential-crisisy kind of place today.

Because I was all, why? Why do I make those weird faces? And why am I that pale and wrinkly? Oh, maybe because I'm this old.

Not that I'm old in the scheme of the world, but I'm this old without having done anything interesting. I'm this old in a very safe existence, one that pays our bills and provides health care.

Which are important, to be sure.

But is this all there is?

Am I never going to do anything bigger?

I want to leap. I want to write. I'm terrified to leap. I'm even more terrified to try to write a book.

What if I suck? What if I fail?

Best not to try.

It's easy to not care if I'm good at the things that don't interest me, because I wouldn't care if I sucked at them. Judge me, it's fine.

I've had one job after another that I'm not remotely passionate about. And I've been good, or anyway, good enough at them. And it's all fine.

Fine. Just fine.

But the things I love, the things I want to be good at? Maybe I could do something great.

Which would be better than fine. As you know.

Scary. It's scary. Safe is, well, safe.

And I'm only getting older.


  1. I join you in your very bad no good angsty existential-crisisy kind of place. Do you think it's a spring thing? Something about blooming life outside makes us restless as we sit inside our offices doing the same old thing at our same old job?

    (I'd read your book.)

  2. I feel the same way. A lot of my friends do. Maybe we're just "at that age."

    Only thing is I don't know what would make me happy; what I could do to make myself feel truly satisfied. *sigh*

  3. I would read your book. 100%.

    I submitted a piece for and thought that I'd like to put something like that together. Or maybe a writer's conference for charity? I have no immediate plans for this...but I'd be happy for volunteers or ideas if you're interested...

  4. When I initially told my Mom that I wanted to pursue photography, she said "What about health insurance". And it is a noble thing to provide stable income for your self or family. At the same time, pursuing one's passion and dreams is what life is all about.

    You're a great writer with a life that is far from ordinary. I believe in you :)

  5. It makes me happy to know there's someone else out there as up-and-down as me. Boobs! Existential crisis! What's it gonna be today!

    So, yanno... I'd read it. Because that would be excellently-written comfort in book form. Yes please.

  6. Dude. Me too.

    PS: I'd read your book.

  7. You know, I love to write, but I never think I am good enough. I don't think of it as old, though. I am maturing gracefully, and so are you. But sometimes safe is not safe enough.

  8. /refrains from mentioning that Jordan is undoubtedly going to be "bigger", at some point.

    You already do something bigger. You touch lives. For me, at least, you remind me that when things seem grey, there are vibrant spots of color that represent truly awesome people I've gotten to know.

    I know it doesn't seem like a big thing, but it is to the people for whom you are a bright spot.

    And, yeah. I'll read your book. :o)

  9. First, Jordan is your life's work and what you will leave behind. You made a miracle. That's pretty damn good.

    Second, I know how you feel. There are days where the sheer normalness of my existence feels suffocating. I wonder if it is an age thing? (I'll be 39 this year, so around the same as you)

    Third, you touch lots of people with your blog. I look forward to reading it and I would totally read a book you wrote!!

  10. Please write the book! Believe me, we and all the people that haven't discovered your blog yet will read it. :)

  11. I read something the other day on Jennie's blog (SheLikesPurple) that she quoted from BHJ:

    "[a]nyone who believes that the inability to achieve perfection is a reason for not beginning. It’s squinty faced laziness posing as criticism."

    It really stuck with me... so much so that I saved it. I refuse to let it define me though.

    Take a step. It's the hardest part.

  12. I don't think it's a spring thing. It is something I have gone through repeatedly and I'm a bit older than you. For whatever reason, I am always constrained somehow from taking a leap of faith - whether it be financial reasons like keeping our house or emotional reasons like fear of failure. I can only say to you that if those are the two things holding you back and you can eliminate even just one of them, take that leap. You don't know where it will lead you, but you'll at least find out. And by the way...your writing is wonderful and you've already got a jump on your fan club with the group that reads you every day here.

    And remember - Scary is also exhilarating.

  13. I'd buy your book in a heartbeat. I have hundreds and hundreds of blogs in my reader. You're easily in my top 10.

    (And the Style Lush offer still stands.)

  14. Lisa - I don't know. For me it's been building for a while, and a number of things lined up to create the perfect storm of existential angst.

    Nicole - We are different ages, but I think "that age" strikes regularly, I really do. It's all very hard to sort out.

    KLZ - Interesting! I will have to give that some thought.

    HKW - You are so right about pursuing one's passions and dreams.

    And thank you for believing in me. It really touches me.

    LiLu - Yah, you can always count on my inconsistency. I'm so glad you understand. And thank you for the encouragement.

    Hillary - Dude. You are my people.

    cfoxes33 - "sometimes safe is not safe enough" - Yes! You nailed it.

    Dagny - You know how much I love you. I know you do. I'm just glad you don't get creeped out by how often I say it.

    cla517 - This is exactly how it is. I know Jordan is important - he is my life's work, and I love him so. And yes, sometimes I just feel so ordinary it squashes all the air out of me. I don't know that it's age. The thought that I touch people makes me feel a lot better.

    kayare - Oh, I hope so. Thank you.

    Sara - I read that! I loved that post! Yes, you are right - a step is the hardest.

    Kate - That is good advice. Thank you.

    Jennie - Oh, thank you. Thank you thank you. I will email you.

  15. Is this all there is?? Do you know how many times I ask myself this? Is this it? is this my life for the next however many years I am going to live it...somewhat depressing thought sometimes, but then I look at the detail and think
    "Wow it's not so bad, I love my life".
    You will write a book Lisa and you have such an ardent folloing on here your book would be sought by all of us as your first release hits the shelves.
    Dig deep and take the plunge, scarey but you have everything thing in you to make it a success.
    Set yourself a time to start and stick to it. Make the commitment to yourself. You can and will do it because you have what it takes.
    Now get out there and do it because I for one, am waiting for the first copies to hit the shelves. :-)

  16. God my typos are terrible these days. My brain obviously is typing faster than my fingers. lol.

  17. Lovely LG,

    We all feel this way sometimes. You will do the right thing for yourself. Dare to stretch and grow, to move outside of your comfort zone. Not crazy leaps, but big jumps that take you to new places.

    I think we get better as we age.


  18. Wow, pretty much in the same place you are, but without the success of a gorgeous Jordan and with the consideration of a disabled husband. But you know, Lisa, that you've lived an extraordinary life, and your writing is great. And the years have wings.
    Even if you wrote something and it sucked, at least you would have done it. And, as I write this, I feel I'm convincing myself as much as you.

  19. Hi Lemon,

    There are so many ways to look at this. I think being secure, safe, and mudane is just fine. The people who love you already see you as special.

    Our society has become so narcisistic (spelling problems here). Everybody and their dog thinks they are special enough, and important enough to write a book. Heck, I dont even read the essentials, or Stephing Hawking books... be damned if Im going to read books by every Joe Smuck out there.

    Lemon drop, you are just fine as you are, a fine woman... no more is needed.

  20. Oh yes, that. Know what you mean...

    Have you heard of NaNoWriMo? It's kinda fun. Its only in November but basically it encourages you to write a novel. In a month. Eek. You have to write about 1666 words a day - anything, even if its crap ('editing is for December' they say)- and by the end of the month you have a 50,000 word novel. Okay, it needs a lot of work and editing after but its SUCH a good feeling, managing to accomplish that. You can register and there's a whole network of other people doing the same. I did it last year and HIGHLY recommend it.

  21. Go-Betty - You make me feel so good. Thank you so much. I hope so.

    And typos, they are all about the brain flying and the fingers not keeping up. Sign of a quick thinker, I say! :)

    Lynn - Thank you for that. It's so YOU - very gentle and inspirational with a strong message.

    J. - Thank you. You make such an excellent point. If you do it and it sucks, at least you've tried. The things I regret most are always the things I didn't do.

    And yes, convince yourself! You're extraordinary!

    GW Mush - That's an interesting perspective. I hadn't thought about it as narcissism. I wonder if it is.

    But I appreciate you saying I'm just fine as I am.

    Miranda - I know it only because you were doing it last year. It seems overwhelming to me, but is probably a very good jump-start.

  22. Self awareness leads to constant itchiness, I think. I have a great life, a wonderful (and thankfully patient) husband, two great kiddos (one graduating from NYU next week! and one from high school..holy cats when did that happen?). I'm also blessed with a very challenging career building small businesses from scratch...

    That said, I started a book a few years ago. A murder mystery. Got about 120 pages into it and decided it had served its purpose, which was to help me get through a horrible argument I'd had with a childhood friend. Turns out killing someone in a novel makes you feel better. Then making up with them years later takes the wind out of your writing sails..when there's no longer that angst behind the story, the story sort of dissolves, or it did for me.

    My thoughts? Go ahead and write. In my case I had people telling me to finish the darned thing so they could see whodunnit. Write for you, not in fear of what others will think of your style or your topic-you've already proven yourself eloquent and funny and incredibly honest.

    But maybe don't just jump. Health insurance is awesome. As is having enough cash around to buy cute flowered dresses from time to time. Maybe start out small, carving out an hour each evening?

    And just see how it goes.

  23. You will do it--because (at least it sounds like) you need to, and that's the only reason writers ever write a book. Because they need to.

    You also need a degree of security--being able to pay for the place you live, health care, etc., and for goodness sakes, being able to provide for the boy.

    I have confidence that you will figure out a way to have both of those things, do the things you need to. And it won't be too late. It'll be right on time.

    Hang in there!


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