Meaning to be where you are.
I was talking to my dad the other day. I am sometimes struck at how much who am I is influenced by who he is, not just genetically but how my observations of his life have caused me to make certain decisions. That really should be obvious, but sometimes it's *so* obvious that it leaves me a little shaken.
Dad was forced into retirement last year, his last day at the job he held for three decades by chance the same as my last day at the job I hated and was quitting to write full time. And dad has always wanted to write. My childhood was filled with half-manuscripts and clever opening chapters that he had built. There have always been copies of Writer's Digest in my life. There have always been books.
So I thought, hey, this is a great chance for him to seize that. We're both stepping away from the offices that have consumed our lives, and can both settle in and do this thing for serious. Unfortunately, a year and a half later he's technically still working at his old job, just getting paid less. But that's not the point.
The point was that as we were talking, I was trying to convince him to make the writing jump. He's having trouble letting go of the old place, and no matter how poorly they treat him, he's still putting his retirement on hold to help them out any way he can. It drives me a little nuts, so every time we talk, I spend most of that conversation trying to get him to remember how much he wants to write. The only thing stopping you from publication is you. There will always be excuses to not write, but excuses are nothing but tomorrow's regrets. I was trying to motivate him, mostly with things that I spent years telling myself.
After a while, the conversation stopped and there was just silence. Silence is not common between us. We're both very quiet people, but when he and I talk, there are always things to say. I'm not sure that's true for me with anyone else. But there was this silence, and then after a moment he said "I really can't believe you've become this person. I really can't believe you've become this strong."
Because I never was that person. I was not motivated, I was not driven, not for a single day in my life. I avoided things, all of the things, every day of my life. And I did that until the rumbling stampede of my own failures had driven me to the edge of a cliff, and there was simply nowhere else to go. And what's awful about that is that those failures, that stampede, had driven me so far off course that it's going to take forever to get where I meant to be. Even now, it's easy for me to fall behind my own expectations. But now, at least, I push forward. Because I have a lot of ground to make up.