Nothing says old like spending over an hour trying to get a document to turn into a PDF so that one can send, said PDF, to someone. This is what I’ve been doing over the last little while.
Deep inside me, I knew I could simply hit command A, highlight the thing, command C and copy the damn thing, and then switch over to email and paste it onto my letter, but I have some pride.
Here’s the issue (the reminder screaming at me during the umpteenth time trying to send out a stupid document) I’m old, and I’m joining the workforce for the first time in a long while. It’s terrifying!
The last time I held a job-job, there were no cell phones, not for anyone who wasn’t some low rate Talent agent, a drug dealer, or someone running a sex trade operation (and that person not only had the brick phone but a couple of pagers hanging off their belt loops!)
Along with that, I remember these once upon a time books that arrived on everyone’s front doorsteps filled with every single phone number in the area, both personal and business ones. These were not tomes of greatness, not some holy book of knowledge. They were the Yellow Pages. That’s how old I am.
Despite my own ageism, I have a small business I run with my sister. We are Home Stagers. When someone wants to put a house up for sale, we show up and decorate it.
Em and I started this business two and a half years ago. It’s a great way to get my creative juices going, as well as burn calories (you try hauling couches, dressers, and mattresses up a flight of stairs, and you’ll understand what I mean).
I suppose the appeal of Home Staging is like playing dress-up, only with houses. Think, 1980s RomCom. The plain girl is stripped of her plain-ness, applied lipstick, eyeliner, and mascara to, given a new curly hairstyle, and then poured into that dress that shows off her unknown kick-ass body, Bam! She’s ready for the Prom!
That’s what I am, the plain girl’s meddling friend waiting in the wings with a curling iron and a tube of lipstick. Still, decorating a house for someone was never on my list of things I wanted to do when I grew up.
I have always wanted to be a writer. From my earliest memory, I would tell people, “When I grow up, I’m going to be a princess and a writer.”
I dropped the princess part of the life plan the older I got, but the writer inside me seemed to stick. Except, here I am, forty-five-years old, and what do I have to show for it career-wise? A couple of published short stories tucked away in some unknown anthologies.
Don’t get me wrong. Those anthologies are wonderful, a grouping of like-minded creative types writing stories according to specified themes. I don’t mind belonging to this crowd.
The problem is, I assumed by the time I was middle-aged, I would have published several novels under my pen name. This has not happened, and I know why!
Fear. Absolute, paralyzing terror. I know this is the reason I haven’t gone further because I’ve tried!
Buried on my bookshelves, I have volumes of unfinished work hidden inside the white vinyl covers of three-ring binders. The only thing worthy about each book is that I like the working titles I’ve chosen for them.
To say they are terrible isn’t some sort of false modesty. They are super-duper dreadfully written! Story after story of go-nowhere-plots and hopelessly flat character arcs. Yet I can’t throw them away. Every year I return to them, select a work in progress, and repeatedly try to fix it, only to fail miserably.
People tell me that I’m my own worst critic, but then those people have not trudged through the influx of word sewage I keep on my shelves. So now what? A whole new career? No, not quite.
After debating for the last few months, I’ve decided to go for both. I want to continue decorating, but I still want to fight for the love of my life and write. I worry that I’m not capable of doing both, even though I’m aware that most writers juggle a day job and then write at night, so I guess I will join them.
Maybe instead of being a bystander in my own 1980s RomCom, the girl who dresses the plain girl, but who never seems to make it to the Prom, I can be my own hero? I don’t know. Maybe that’s a stretch?
Perhaps having fewer hours a day to toil over a story, I’ll finally produce something great? That’s the hope.
Now, if I can gather all the past wishes I forgot to use up while blowing out birthday candles and all the falling stars that I’d failed to attach a dream to over my lifetime, find some four-leaf-clovers, cross my fingers, and hope to die, I can make something of myself after all?