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  • Writer's pictureAnanya Ridenour

Journal Entry of a 45 Year Old Writer

Yes, it is an unprecedented time right now filled with uncertainty and the unknown. I have been figuring out the new “normal” like the rest of us and trying to find where I fit in all of this. I have learned how to home school my 9 year old daughter and worked through whatever frustrations came out of that. I have done some puzzles, watched some TV, monitored the virus news and watched live streams of museums, places to visit and favorite musicians (what up ZZ Ward). But I still feel lost. I can’t even say that it is because of the virus either. I felt lost before all of this. And I feel like I’m not even figuring out how to get unstuck.

For me, I do go through a process of getting unstuck and moving forward in my life. First, I need to acknowledge that I am stuck and second, I have to make a choice. A choice if I want to do something about it. I think that’s where I have been, in limbo land, not making a choice. Afraid to do something that is “not the right thing” or something that my heart will not be into.

Photo from the backyard, think it's a plum tree.

That is one thing that I have been reflecting on over the past few months, what is in my heart? Truly in my heart? What makes me happy? The good news and the bad news, depending on how you look at it, I was laid off in fall of 2019. It put me in a position that was not great financially (luckily my husband is still working with a great job). Yet, I looked at the change in employment as a blessing. It gave me the time and opportunity to look at what makes me really happy. What fills up my heart. What inspires me.

Although I’ve been wrestling with my inspiration vs the “I shoulds” I am slowly starting to make a choice. I basically know this because the third thing that I do in my process of getting unstuck is I write my thoughts down. And this entry here represents those thoughts. I use writing to help me figure things out. Sometimes I write something down that I didn’t even know what was thinking. And for me, by writing it down it becomes more real. I always write my journal entries by hand. I have found over the years that the actual act of writing something down helps me think even more about the topic at hand. (I even do this in my professional career too – my teams/colleagues always knew that about me, if I was writing it down, I was thinking things through).

Pretty hibiscus flowers in the backyard.

So I sit here in my backyard, with my two daughters at the table with me, wondering why do I not move forward on things? I have a huge list of projects in the works but I have been stalling on moving them forward. I say I don’t have the time, before and after quarantine. I say to myself that I need to spend time with Sydney (9 year old daughter) to make sure that she does her “school” work. Although it does take some time, it really is not that bad. Instead, I think it’s just an excuse. I get frustrated with her at times because she doesn’t work on her tasks and bugs me constantly. But does she really? Yes and no. She is a really good kid and gives me my space when I need it. I just need to let her know. I think when I get frustrated at her, I am really frustrated at myself for the excuses I continue to tell myself.

What is it that I am afraid of? Why do I not move forward? Is it because it’s easier to just settle and let life run its course? I have so many ideas in my head that I sometimes feel trapped because I don’t know where to start first. But really I’m trapping the ideas, the inspiration. Instead, I just need to start with one idea or project and take one step at a time. Something I should take from my years as a project manager. Oh and be disciplined. Definitely a trait I desparately need work on and continue to foster.

A lizard just hanging out on backyard wall.

Projects abound in my head. I currently have nine (yes 9) books that need to be edited, fleshed out, etc and be ready for publication. This doesn’t include the multitude of story ideas that I have in a box (just ask Brett – he always makes fun of me). Not to mention I have two new ideas within the last couple weeks (shh, don’t tell Brett). And I have two other larger creative ideas that I thought of doing but never really got started. I sort of started one but told myself, “oh I need to wait for this, I need to wait for that.” Again, more excuses.

Instead of the excuses, I just need to choose to start. That’s it, the power of choice. To choose to move forward. And then act upon that choice. It’s usually the simplest things that are often the most difficult and taken for granted. So, for now, I’m going to just start. Take one step and start. And see where this path leads me.

Roses are starting to bloom in the front yard. Here is a favorite!

Check out a quick video of some other thoughts… and a first step.

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