Life Is Fiction

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I love reading stories about women who do an about change in their life because their circumstances are making them unhappy. Two well-known examples that come to mind are “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “Eat, Pray, Love”, but I have discovered there are many more out there to discover. I can hear the groans now! You’re probably thinking this woman’s age is affecting her brain. Yes, these stories are fiction, but often real life is stranger than fiction. And I honestly believe that writers use real life situations in their novels because the readers can relate to the characters easily.

Just yesterday, I finished the book, ” Under Italian Skies” by Nicky Pelligrino.

20190724_095220 It was recommended by a friend who knows I love Italy and France as much as she does. The book itself was entertaining, but more important was the fact that it was written about middle-aged women and their lives and dreams. Fiction, yes, but those women could have been any one of my real friends. All of the characters had come to a point in their lives where they thought they had to accept their situations. They were all beautiful women with so much more life to enjoy. All they needed was a gentle push.

 

We often fall into ruts throughout life. Our days become routine and mundane. If you are raising a family, this is especially true, and having been a single parent who raised two children alone, I know how easily we can lose ourselves in their lives. Dreams fade into the background of every day requirements so far that we often forget they even ever existed. When I was younger, my own mom often reminded me that I had no time of my own, but even back then, I knew my turn would eventually come.

My children grew up and left home, and I found myself with a great deal of time for me. Luckily, I had an amazing circle of friends, all in similar circumstances. As time went on, more women joined our group. We were drawn together by our common interests, but we have also expanded our lives by trying new things together. There is something very reassuring about the support from others.

I can’t say it enough. Live your dreams as much as possible; you will never regret it. Just today, I came across a post by Humans of New York in Facebook about a woman who is doing just that. I enjoyed the piece so much, I am including it in this post. It reads as follows:

“I spent thirty-six years as an editor at the New York Times. There were so many rounds of layoffs, and so many buyout opportunities– but I kept turning them down. I was terrified of retirement. I never wanted to ‘retire.’ The word sounded terrible to me. It meant going to Florida and dying. It meant sitting in a chair and watching daytime TV. It meant not working anymore. Not thinking anymore. Nothing but play and relaxation. And that wasn’t enough for me. That’s not living. You always need to have a goal. Grandchildren are great, but they’re not enough. You need something to wake up your brain. A reason to focus. A reason to get out of bed and use everything that you’ve ever learned. I’ll never see myself as retired. Right now I’m trying to become a fiction writer. I love it because my brain is always working. Some days I think about my work so much, that when I finally sit down to write, it just comes pouring out my fingers. I’d love to finish a book one day. Something that people enjoy. And I’d love to have it published. Maybe a hardcover from Random House. That gets optioned for a movie. And wins an Oscar. Oh it’s exciting, isn’t it? I could go on and on.”

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So, the next time that you read a lovely fictional story, and you find yourself wishing that was your life, think again. You are the author of your own book. Write it the way you want it to be.

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

A New Chapter At This Age?

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I am looking forward to reading the new book by Debbie Travis called…..

Deb Tra

Most people who know me are unaware that I am a dreamer. I can admit it now at this point in my life. I may be wrong, but I think most people see me as someone who does not take unnecessary chances and someone who likes to know exactly what is happening in her life at all times. Secretly, I like that they see me that way. It reassures me.

When I finished high school, I had grandiose dreams of becoming a fashion designer and owning my own business. I worked in retail for a couple of years and saved every cent. One day while taking the bus to work, I noticed a “For Rent” sign in a store window. I got off the bus and walked to the real estate office nearby that was advertised on the sign. I was 19 and had never had a business conversation in my life. Two hours later, I was the new tenant of that dusty, old property.

My family was shocked when I told them what I had done, but they pitched in and helped me clean-up and paint. I worked day and night to get the business up and running. My plan was to design and make ALL the clothes. I opened “The Misfit” in a few short months.

I was so proud of my accomplishment, but the small, blue-collar city where I lived was not ready for my sense of style. Two years later, I sold the contents of my business to another young entrepreneur. It was time to start a new chapter.

Now what? I saw an ad in our local paper. Air Canada was hiring flight attendants. I had never even been on a plane before, so what could go wrong? I applied, went for the interview, and a month later, I was heading to Montreal, Quebec, Canada to train.

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That’s me on the right!

That job that sounded so glamorous, and exciting was hard work, and I loved every minute of it, but life sometimes throws you a curve ball. I fell in love and got married. The job I loved did not work well with married life, and I had to make a choice. My marriage won out in the end, and I found myself once again starting a new chapter.

After several brief turns at a variety of retail positions, I decided to go back to school. Teacher’s College to be exact. It was definitely a last minute decision, but it seemed to be a good fit for married life and raising children. Unlike most teachers, I had never had a burning desire to work with kids. I had never even liked to babysit. Well, to my surprise, I discovered that I quite enjoyed working with primary grade students. Their enthusiasm for learning made the job very rewarding and I managed to remain at this job for 32 years.

After retiring from this long chapter of my life, most people assumed I would sit back and relax with my new found freedom. But I wasn’t ready! So, I volunteered at the local hospital and art gallery, did a short, seasonal stint at Chapters/Indigo, and took a position working with adults who were getting high school credits or their GED. These jobs filled my time and made me happy, but there was this burning desire in the back of my mind that had been there for as long as I could remember. I had always wanted to be a writer.

There was really nothing to stop me. All I had to do was write! Well, that sounds simple, but every writer also wants to be published. I took a few writing courses to improve my skills and network with other writers. Then I discovered “Chicken Soup For The Soul”. I submitted my first story to them. As I slid the envelope into the mail slot, I felt very vulnerable. It was like sending a part of me off to be judged. A few weeks later, the editor called and said he wanted to publish my story. I can’t even describe the feeling, but I have been submitting stories ever since.

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My latest story is in this year’s Mother’s Day collection.

No, they do not all get chosen. Rejection is just part of the business, and I have learned to deal with it.

So, have I finally written all the new chapters in my life? Absolutely not! I actually have some new plans in the works, but I will save those for another post.

How about you? What new chapter would you like to start working on in your life? Don’t let your age hold you back. Think of all the life experience you have had to this point. Use it and write a new chapter for yourself.

 

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo