I wrote this bog post on December 31st, 2014. I’ve hesitated to share it until now…. I’m not completely sure why…. I think it has something to do with learning to go with the flow… I know it’s because this piece is personal… moreso than the others… and sometimes I hesitate to invite the whole world to comment on my business (even when I anticipate all commentary will be positive!).
But today I feel the urge… almost need… to share so that I can move on with new aspects of my journey as I forward into 2015. So far the year has been a bittersweet bag of sweets… I’ve lost a loved & treasured family member or friend for each week of the year so far… and yet EVERY day I’m shown the wonder of this great learning experience we call life… anyhow… enough of that! Read on! I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments below… ❤ 🙂
It’s been a while since I last posted here. I’d love to be able to say that for the last few months I’ve been busy writing my latest novella. But I can’t truthfully. Rather I’ve been slogging away at teachers’ reports, letters to parents and editing jobs for various clients. I guess the day job has intruded on my vocation.
It’s been a trying twelve months financially, and like many artists who dream of making a living from their art, I’ve had to focus so much on survival (and by that I mean earning enough to pay the bills AND buy food!) that I’ve neglected a fundamental part of myself – the creative writer. Despite the angst of caring for sick family members; balancing an ever-growing cost of living on the fulcrum of a (seemingly ever-) diminishing income, and shouldering the burden of the unexpected – major home and car repairs – I’ve managed to make it through 2014 with a smile on my face! And with the overstanding that 2014 has been a GREAT year.
How? Well, somehow, during the last 12 months, I learned to go with the flow; to plunge into the whirlpool of fear and the unknown (fear of the unknown) even when I didn’t particularly like the look of those raging rapids. And each time I felt swept away by forces beyond my control, I learned to relax, to accept, to submit. And each time I realised three things: 1) that I am far stronger mentally, emotionally and spiritually than I ever thought, 2) that there is always…. ALWAYS somebody worse off than I am; always someone with whom to share what little I’ve got and 3) that Bob is right – every little thing IS gonna be alright! Always. All ways.
In 2014, I have watched my life change in ways I would have thought unimaginable two decades ago when I was earning “good” money, enjoying privilege and prestige as a celebrated young writer in Barbados. Today, I can say “Two outta three ain’t bad.” Since I enjoy the latter two – although, obviously, I’m not as young as I used to be; the former? Not so much!
This is the year in which I redefined ‘normal’ and ‘way of life’; the year that forced me to relearn how to separate needs from wants. Like many Barbadians (and Caribbean people and Americans and Europeans and…) I’ve been feeling the economic pinch (Like a centipede bite pun muh pooch! – And yes, I happen to know what that feels like!). I’m literally working to pay bills and have had to reprogramme my thinking because I KNOW this cannot be all there is to my life. Unless, of course, The Matrix is more than a movie.
So I now view this particularly challenging stretch of my life journey as an initiation. Once I pass this test, great rewards lie ahead…. By society’s standards I may be poor and growing poorer by the day (although my “financial advisor” calls me “asset rich and cash poor”.); by my own standards I am one of the richest women I know. These days, I find myself no longer attached to things (I have let go of and given away much in the last year!) as I find society’s definitions of success no longer coincide with my own. I find now that I’d rather collect experiences than material possessions.
2014 taught me to adapt… so while I can no longer afford lavish three-course dinners at fancy restaurants, I can afford to invite friends over for a fish fry/barbecue/bring your own snacks lime; while I can no longer afford to buy large quantities of fresh fruit and veg from the supermarkets, I can afford to buy direct from the importer (sometimes saving as much as 50%!) and I can certainly afford to grow my own (My daughter and I created a lovely garden and grew tomatoes, peppers and eggplant); while I can no longer afford to buy international magazines (because spending $100/month for my four fave mags no longer fits into my list of needs) I can afford to spend time on-line reading the e versions of the magazines. While I refuse to even consider being able to afford to pay $20 for my favourite brand of marmalade, I can afford to buy $5 worth of oranges and make my own bread spread. (Hey! Life gives me oranges, I make marmalade!)
When medical expenses, home repair expenses and car expenses got the better of my already weak and ailing budget; I learned to make do with what I had (with much help from family and friends!) and managed to convince my 11-year-old daughter that we were (and still are) embarking on a great adventure.
And then there’s my dream…. I still dream of being a best-selling author (yes, I still hold on to a dream sparked some 40 years ago!) but in 2014 I have had to start asking myself a terrifying (to me!) question: “What if? What if you never make it?” and I’ve had to answer myself, with an isn’t-that-answer-obvious shrug: I will keep writing. That’s what writers do.
So why do I deem 2014 a great year?
Because, in the words of ole time Bajans: ‘What don’t kill does fatten!”. In my case, what didn’t kill me served to strengthen me – mentally, emotionally, spiritually! I know that 2014 prepared me for whatever 2015 brings because 2014 taught me how to go with that flow… no matter what!
What about you? What did 2014 teach you? And how will you use that newfound knowledge in 2015?
Nailah is founder of Caribbean Passion, the Caribbean’s premier Romance series. She is the author of the Romance novellas To Star, With Love, Someone To Watch Over Me, Second Time Around, Cruising to Love and her latest (the Rihanna-inspired!), Fantasy Fulfilled. She is also the author of the YA novellas Colourblind, available on Amazon and Smashwords, and Pick of the Crop. She is currently working on the sequel to her first action/thriller novella To Protect & Serve.
To read more please visit: www.smashwords.com/profile/view/nailah