Monday, August 29, 2011

Talking to Myself

It's weird when you realize you're old enough to reflect on your life with something resembling the maturity of an adult. Ten years ago this month, I started college. I also started my first job, ever. (I know - sheltered much?) I was really excited about this new job. It was in my chosen field, at the time. I couldn't wait to dive in and gain all this experience that would also apply to what I was studying in school.

Then reality set in. There was a learning curve, and boy, did I ever have a lot to learn. I made mistakes. Lots of mistakes. I dwelled on them. I got discouraged. I worried about what other people thought of me. I worried that I wasn't smart/skilled/tough/fast enough to do my job well. There were times I really wanted to quit, if they didn't fire me first.

But you know what? I stuck it out. I learned a lot. I got better. I made some great friends in my co-workers. And when I graduated college, I left that job on good terms.

Now, I wish I could travel back in time for a chat with that scared, excited, nervous, stressed, eager, naive, utterly FREAKED-OUT child just stepping into her big-girl shoes for the first time. I would say to my 18-year-old self, "You hang in there. This all works out. You're so much better than you think you are." And then I would give me a hug, even though I'm not a hugger, because that was what I really needed at the time, even though I wasn't a hugger back then either.

So tonight, as I was plunking away on my book with only tiramisu and Janiel's banana orange bars to sustain me, I wondered, will I feel this way again in ten more years? Will I look back on my frusterated, discouraged, oh-my-freak-I-will-never-ever-ever-get-this-stupid-thing-DONE-let-alone-PUBLISHED self and say, "You hang in there. This all works out. You're so much better than you think you are"?

I'm going to go out on a limb and say, yes. Yes I will.

Last week, I quoted my friend Rob: If the story is worth telling, it's worth telling crappy the first time. Excellent writing advice, but I've decided it applies to more than that. Embrace the learning curve, my friends. Life is a bunch of first go's, and anything worth doing is worth doing crappy the first time.

Unless, you know, you're a brain surgeon. Then it's probably best to do it right every time.


Janiel Miller said...

This is a very sweet post. Maybe because I'm old and I have lots of 10 years to look back on. And maybe because I love your voice.

Also, your four eyes staring suspiciously at the gnome is most excellent.

jenna said...

I'm so glad to be one of the co-worker friends from the days at All About Poop ;) I would submit that you're a million times better than you think you are... and I expect to someday say "I knew her when!"

Cassidy Jo said...

Haha love the ending to this post :) I agree with you... yes you will. You're amazing :) And you know if you ever need an editor....

Robin said...

It's such a good thing that I'm not a brain surgeon.

jjsundevil said...

me luvs this post

i want janiels nana orange bars
russe my babygirl make me some prutty pleze hehehehe

aquafortis said...

YES on doing it crappy the first time. A crappy first draft is still a first draft, and it's far more than nothing at all. (If you haven't read Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, that's a great one for writers...)

I'm just starting the first draft stage yet again...I haven't been there in a while, and it's freaking me out, too!

Maegan Langer said...

Me too, Robin. Me too.

You guys are all so sweet, thank you :)

aquafortis, I bow in your general direction. I bow in the general direction of anyone who has completed at least one first draft, because that's still one more first draft than I've ever completed.

Russo said...

Oh, I totally got what you were saying with your first sentence. You are so right, its weird to look back with the maturity of an adult.
I love that you stated that its natural to make mistakes and the best part of them is learning and getting better.

Goll, you are right. I too have wanted to smack the freaked out child and give her a pep talk.

And oh my tirimusu? where did you nab that dessert? I have always wanted to try it. Is it good. You are always on the up and up with classy stuff. So cool!

PS I loved the quote by your friend Rob.