My sister, Kristen, and I are close in age. Less than two years apart, she was only one grade above me in school, which resulted in numerous clothing fights, door slamming and screaming matches while growing up. Thankfully, those have dwindled as we both inch closer to our thirties (a feat of which I love to remind her that she’ll reach before me). We’ve actually become incredibly close over the years, which I’m sure you’ll hear more about as this blog develops and progresses—especially considering we’ve decided to move in together at the end of this summer.
So why mention her in my introductory post? Well, as we were browsing for possible apartment furniture this weekend—for the apartment we have neither moved into nor even picked out—an interesting topic came up:
High School Reunion.
Her 10-year reunion is less than a year away, which means mine is less than two years away (though I’m sure if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll have already figured that one out). My first thought?
My second thought?
“What the Hell have I done with my life?”
I don’t know if it was like this for you, but when I was in high school, I had a specific vision of what my adult life would be like. As a teenager, when I looked to my future, a 10-year reunion seemed so far away and I just knew that by then, I was going to have earned my biomedical engineering degree, gotten married, popped out a kid or two, be in this incredible job with lots of money and Accomplished. So. Much.
Right? Like in Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, when the class geek came back to the scene of his high school days with his private jet, flashing his lucrative career in the faces of all his old classmates. (If you just had to google Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion to figure out what it is, then we are not friends)
I may not have been the class geek and I definitely wasn’t delusional enough to think I’d own a private jet by age 27/28…but I still had a plan. I mean, I would be so old by then.
Crazy how a teenager’s mind works, isn’t it? If I could go back, I’d knock my 17-year-old self over the head and insist to her that “28 is NOT old, dumbass!”
But it still kind of puts things into perspective of what I’ll have to show for myself 10 years after graduating from high school. I’m far from an engineer (it took only 2 semesters to realize I hated it), not even close to getting married, pretty sure I never want to have children and the money…well, let’s just say I won’t be putting that down payment on a jet anytime soon.
Don’t get me wrong—it’s not that my life is particularly unhappy. That isn’t what this is about. I actually have a great job with a decent paycheck, enjoy a good social life, am surrounded by wonderful friends and family…there’s just so much MORE I want to do.
While what I hope to accomplish has changed significantly since my teenage years, that doesn’t change the fact I still have things I’d like to accomplish. And if you’ve read my bio, you’ll know I’ve written a novel. 121,002 words, to be exact. And what have I done with it?
Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero.
It’s in a little folder on my computer’s desktop, hidden away from anyone who could actually read it. I even labeled the folder with a generic name so even if someone stumbled across the file, they’d probably skim right along without a second glance. I’ve made excuse after excuse to my friends, “It’s not ready, yet!” or “just a couple more edits!” or “if you don’t leave me alone, I’m not giving you a shout-out in my acknowledgements…” When really? I’m just scared to actually put it all out there. I’m scared to have people read it. What if everyone hates it? What if everyone rejects it? But I’ve realized if I keep it hidden, if I keep making excuses, my book will never actually become a book. It will just be 121,002 words saved to my hard drive that won’t even be discovered when I die because I’ve given it some obscure name that no one will think twice about.
So, I decided it was time to wake-up. It’s time to get the ball rolling. It’s time to do something. I’ve made a deal with myself that I get one more round of edits (baby steps) and that’s it—I’ll go chapter by chapter and make my final changes. And when I reach the last word of the last page of the last chapter?
I’m done. It’s finished. It’s time to show it to someone. I’ll get some feedback. I’ll query agents. I’ll get it published. I’ll be an author. At least that’s the goal. I’ve heard from others about the process and I know it’s not going to be easy. I know it’s not going to happen overnight—most likely not before my high school reunion rolls around. But, that doesn’t mean it can’t ever happen. I’m still young, right?
– lindsey archer