At least once a week I tell my daughter I want to be like her when I grow up. Of course, each and every time she rolls her eyes and says, “Mom, you’re already grown up.” Because she’s eleven. Going on sixteen.
I do want to be like her. Every day. Sassy and confident, she has the most expressive face I’ve ever seen. A fact she embraces with absolutely no care to what others around her think! And she is almost always cheerful. How she manages that last one I just don’t know, but I am envious.
I’m forty-six years old and I’m just now coming into my confidence. I’ve always had it in some areas (I’m great at math and solving problems, I know the lyrics to more songs that any person should conceivably be able to remember, I have great instincts when it comes to reading people). But that bone deep kind of confidence my daughter seems to come by naturally has escaped me.
Until I hit forty. Then the pieces started coming together.
It seems that every time I click on a writer’s bio page, they mention how they always wanted to be a writer. I can’t say that. In fact, I never thought I’d be a writer when I was growing up. You have to be tough. Have thick skin. Definitely not me in my early years where a sideways look or anything less than a smile might send me into hours of wondering if I had toilet paper stuck to my shoe or had said something wrong.
So, no, I can’t say I always wanted to be a writer. I gravitated toward fields with clear-cut answers—math, economics, finance. I went to grad school and got an MBA.
I stumbled into writing, sideways, with bit of a grimace. Me, a writer? Oh, you jest.
I’ve been at this for a few years now, two years seriously. And I LOVE it. It’s hard. Often frustrating. Sometimes confidence crushing. The first time I received a critique from another writer I cried. But oh, the feeling when I write a conversation that gives me goosebumps or a scene that turns me on!
One upside to the struggle is that I am growing more than I ever thought possible at this stage of my life. Plus, it’s easier to empathize with my children who are learning how to write for the very first time. Don’t like the feedback you’re teacher gave you…I’m right there with you, kid.
So, here’s to learning what it means to be confident from a eleven-year old and find your passion after forty!