I've known for a long time that I'm a pretty lucky person. I have great friends, a wonderful husband and two beautiful, smart boys to call my own. But I've also been lucky in the way that I have amazing parents who have always supported me and encouraged me to believe in myself, even without always having to say it.
When I was in third grade I wrote a (very) short story about my great aunt. The story was entirely fiction, except for her name. It somehow won an award that offered me enough money to feed my family of four that night for (a cheap) dinner. It was exhilarating and I felt something inside me come alive. I was lucky. My memories of writing things (songs, poems, short stories) go back as far as I can remember. I received good grades in school and yet, still spent a good portion of my time in class writing poems. And every time I completed one, I felt compelled to write more.
That compulsion to write followed me into adulthood, and it wasn't until college and marriage and children that writing started to slow down. Working full time as paralegal, I still spent much of my day writing, but the words that were clicked out on my keyboard were usually legal jargon and letters to the all important people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I loved my job and my bosses and the last thing I wanted was to leave that job. My bosses were so amazing that after the birth of my first child, they allowed me to work from home three days a week and in the office only twice a week, so I could be with my son without giving up my job. I was lucky.
But when I was pregnant with my second son, my husband and I knew that I would need to be home full time. We couldn't afford full time daycare and being home ended up being cheaper than me working. I was very sad to leave the legal world. After all, I'd spent a great deal of time and money earning my degree and I loved going to work each morning. Leaving that position felt like I'd be losing a little bit of myself along with it.
What I didn't realize, though, was that not having that job to fulfill my need for an intellectual challenge would leave me hungry for some other outlet. The very outlet that I'd stopped using a few years before. And like any flame that you never entirely extinguish, that fire for writing came back full force, catching on the tiniest embers and sparking back to life. The joy of putting words on paper suddenly took over again, and now that I have it back, I know that I'll never be able to let it go.
As much as I didn't want to admit it at the time, leaving my job was the best thing I could do. Not only did I get to spend time with my small children, watching them grow and change and learn, but it also brought my love of writing back to me. It reminded me that I once had a dream, and even though I was scared, I didn't have to give up on that dream. Again, I was lucky.
And in the years that have passed since I've rekindled that flame, I've continued to be lucky. I've met and bonded with my critique partners in the most unpredictable ways. I know I've said it before, but I'm probably never going to stop saying it: I don't know what I'd do without them. They are invaluable. I'm lucky to have them.
This writing journey has been an incredible one, and yes, one I feel so lucky to have had. I am lucky not only because of the support I've had, but also because I have the strength to believe in my dreams. Maybe I'll never sell millions of books and get rich from it, but that doesn't matter. That's not my dream, because I'm already living mine. I'm writing and loving it, even when I'm exhausted by it. I'm writing, and I'm so, so grateful that I can.
I am lucky.