Speaking of Mistakes.. a Retraction

Yesterday, in my post, I made joking reference to my dismal love life prior to my husband. And why not? In my twenties, my love life was infamous among my friends. Given who my friends were, none of them were shy about expressing their opinions regarding my stormy relationships. I got so used to these jokes that they became part of the backdrop, no longer questioned.

When I stopped to reflect this morning about what I posted last night, I realized that those jokes are as outdated as mullets and shoulder pads. There is no doubt that I did achieve notoriety for bad relationships, but the lens of time reveals that the guys I dated turned out to be wonderful men for the most part. The truth is I’m on good terms with a majority of those men now, even if I wasn’t then. And for the few that I’m not on good terms with.. the law of averages suggests that not every ex-boyfriend can be awesome.

So, while I can claim that mistakes were made in my relationships, I did not mean to suggest that all my past relationships were mistakes. Clearly, my worst mistakes in life were my own doing.

The Biggest Mistake I Ever Made

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Some of you might think this is where I launch into my previously sitcom-worthy love life, but you’d be wrong. That probably ranks third, but I’m going for the gold, here.

 My biggest mistake in life was to stop writing.

 I was always enamored with words. I had scads of spiral note books, filled to capacity with ideas, short stories, and sometimes little doodles of unicorns or seahorses. I took those notebooks with me everywhere. I had a pen fetish, too. My friend Eric dubbed them my “million dollar pens,” on the grounds that no teenager pays seven bucks for a fountain pen. Besides yours truly, that is.

 When I moved to Washington, I stopped writing. Not completely, of course. I did my homework, composed English papers and psychology reports, etc. I wrote letters and emails and lists. I composed descriptions for characters for MUDs and I drew up plots for games. I even managed to write a few chapters for stories here and there.

 That’s where it would end, however. I might succeed in four chapters of a novel, but my methods were trial-and-error. I didn’t go to school to learn methods that would help me succeed as a writer, which is Biggest Mistake #2.

 I can only forgive myself for these two big mistakes because almost all of my favorite authors didn’t start their writing careers until much later in life. I am proficient at beating myself up, but it’s hard to say, “I screwed this beyond salvage” when I know I’m still considered to be young to be an author. Certainly not the youngest by any stretch, but if you look at the median age of my genre of authors, I’m a spring chicken.

 The other reason I can find forgiveness for my sin is because I feel like I’m making up for lost time in huge ways. I have one novel out, one more in process, and since I’ve published, I have joined writers groups, found insightful newsletters, and have found a community that has embraced me as an artist. My friends have been amazing with their support as well.

 It’s true what they say. I regret not writing far more than any of the things that I have done. I long for a redo, a magical backspace that will take me back down the path of folly to lead me down the path that rocks. Lacking my own personal TARDIS, I will have to accept my failure and use it as a cautionary tale instead.

 In truth, giving up writing was giving up my dreams. That’s why it was the biggest mistake of my life. Lucky for me, it’s never too late to follow your dreams.