A Game of Hope and Fear

I wish I could be one of those sorts who is endlessly positive, overflowing with optimism and possibility. Annoyingly so.

Alas, that’s not me, not even close. It’s only when the calendar turns from one year to the next that I get of solid whiff of that glorious mindset, a brief taste of believing this could be my year.

And then the melancholy returns, the doubts and discouragements, the little whispers of worry that remind me that I carry a heavy family trait, described best by something my grandma said once: “I guess I’m just turned that way.” Like her, I get sucked into my own irrational space of worry and resignation. I get blue and defeatist. Every New Year’s Eve is game of table tennis – hitting the ball back and forth over the net that separates hope and fear.

It makes for a dizzy night even when champagne isn’t involved.

This morning is no different. I settled on the orange couch in my office to read and simultaneously wondered if the stars will align for me this year professionally. Will I find an agent? Will the novel ever leave my computer? Should I even start on a second book? Has this all been a waste of a dream?

I hit the ball.

Of course it’s not a waste! Think of all I’ve learned! Think of what I’ve already accomplished – a graduate degree and a 135,000-word novel that a handful of people find enjoyable. I’ve come to appreciate fiction in a new way entirely and reignited my love of storytelling! So much as already been gained, you silly girl!

I hit the ball again.

But what if it was all for nothing? Going back to journalism feels like going backward. My heart isn’t in it anymore. That was then and this is now. I want to write fiction yet I expect a slew of rejection letters this year. How does one remain hopeful with those sort of odds? Why bother?

I hit the ball again.

Because it’s worth it. All of it. The process, the hope, the disappointment, the pick-yourself-up-and-try-again attitude… THIS IS LIFE. Doing what I love makes life worthwhile. And so what about odds? I hate math anyway.

I hit the ball again.

And every time someone asks me how it’s going, I’ll have to tell them nothing is happening. I’m right where I was a year ago, working on this piddly little project that I love so dearly and every day it goes unnoticed makes me want to apologize to my characters for letting them down.

I hit the ball again.

I didn’t let them down at all. I heard them and did what they asked. They came alive because of me, and whether or not anyone else meets them is not in my hands. Besides:

on the other side of fear

And so it goes, and so it will be.

Our coming year will be much more than what comes in the mail for me. Jeremy will turn 12, Jackson will turn 9, and Chuck and I will celebrate 15 years of marriage (19 years together in total). We’ll forge ahead with our wonderful life and be grateful for the blessings seen and unseen. We will triumph and fail and learn from it all. I pray the same for you.

CHEERS to you in the new year, my friend, and may your dreams be big enough to scare you. xoxo

2 Replies to “A Game of Hope and Fear”

  1. Sounds to me like trajectory is fundamentally important, too: zero in on goals with purpose & lessons learned, shift gears as needed, and plunge on ahead to completion. Erratic, whacky trajectory? Umm, getting sidetracked can be a welcome opportunity along w/dashed expectations, or by newly discovered means….. Thus, pray on through!

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