Intentionality, Writing

Turning: Hodgepodge Thoughts on Birthdays and Our Unwritten Stories

Let’s review the week, shall we? Two days ago, my daughter turned 2 1/2. Yesterday, my son turned 4. Tomorrow, I turn 36. These realities march through my brain and I find myself stuck on the word “turn.”

There are numerous meanings of the word (dictionary.com listed 40 definitions in the “verb (used with object)” category alone!), but the ones that initially come to mind when I think about “turn” have to do with a change in direction.

Turning a corner.
Turning around.
Turning toward.

Turning causes a tangible change. It involves a departure from one direction or place and an arrival in or movement toward another. But the turning of age? Intangible change.

We can turn another year older yet turn no corners, take no new directions, nor move toward anything different. Unless we choose otherwise, a birthday will do nothing but advance a digit on our annual odometer.

More than I typically do at birthday time, I am reflecting on all the turning that happened in the past year. Tangible changes abounded during this trip around the sun.

The big standout is the change from a writer continuing to wonder if she’ll ever publish her novel that she started ten years ago to a writer publishing her first novel. This birthday is the one year anniversary of my first attendance of a writer’s conference, which included a pitch meeting with the acquisitions editor of Bold Vision Books, which led to a request for a full book proposal, which led to a publishing contract offer, which led to my current state as an author about to be published. Honestly, I went to that conference simply hoping to feel like I belonged in that club of writers who are serious about their writing. The experience exceeded my measly expectation by a million miles.

(Side note: I don’t know if any other christian writers read this blog, but if so, I recommend considering the Maranatha Christian Writers Conference in Muskegon, MI.)

Beyond this dream-fulfilling turn during age 35, I also began a new position with my company (which I kind of love), lost more than fifteen pounds, ran my first 10K and a couple more 5K races, created a Facebook Author page as a home base for promoting my writing, entered the Twitter world as another online presence as an author, transitioned to primarily blogging fiction pieces, and, you know, continued to learn how to love my husband and raise my children.

It’s been a year to remember. A year to celebrate. A year to motivate.

The truth is, for the very first time, I have not looked forward to my birthday. The very first time. 30 didn’t bother me. 35 didn’t bother me. 36, however, has bothered me. When I set out to choose some words for a post here, that was the primary force behind it: I was feeling bothered. The discontented thoughts were muddled and emotional. After writing a few paragraphs, I stopped. I deleted it all. I forced myself to turn my mind from those thoughts and gain a more reasonable perspective.

This post is not what I originally conceived it to be. Instead, this is me on the last day of 35, ready for what’s next. My discontent and dread regarding my birthday has turned into excitement and ambition for the potential of the next 365 days. They are 365 pages of my story unwritten thus far. I’m ready to write and turn each one.

3 thoughts on “Turning: Hodgepodge Thoughts on Birthdays and Our Unwritten Stories”

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