And on the Flip Side

Flipside of what? Well, yesterday there was some heavy ruminating on this blog and then I found something I’d written but never shared (I don’t think), on a related topic, and thought why not share the other side…so I’m sharing…

One of the finalists in this year’s Wadadli Pen looked back to say thank you in a lengthy letter shortly after this year’s awards. This is unusual in itself but given where my heart and head were at the time, and at times have been since, I needed to hear it.

The writer wrote: “Maintaining the balance between helping others and helping oneself is hard and the temptation is to shift to the latter. But I believe that your success so far is partially due to your investment in others.”

This is the struggle I’ve been having for some time and some days it’s hard to see “success” in the midst of it or to measure the worth of your investments in yourself and others without the benefit of distance. So it was interesting for me to read this as I wrapped up the 10th year of Wadadli Pen (10 years, still can’t believe it)

Wadadli Pen awards 2014.

Wadadli Pen awards 2014.

and considered the future of both Wadadli Pen and my life as a writer and freelancer on the hustle, not with an eye toward abandoning either project I think but ever trying to figure out how to make them work better. So, yeah…

The writer also wrote: “You are indeed fortunate to have discovered your purpose, make a living by it and share that with others, very few people do!”

Most days it’s hard to see fortune in the struggle but when I think back to the fact that I’m not struggling at something I don’t want to be doing, but at something that gives me life (and that that struggle is punctuated by achievement), yeah, there is fortune in that. I’m a writer and every day I’m thankful for that.

I was watching this thing on OWN the other day about being thankful every day, about how just opening your eyes and being able to see things is something to be thankful for, to wake up, to breathe, to live…some of you may be familiar  with my happiness project, which is in part a gratitude project, a reminder to myself to be grateful for the things I have, the things I’ve been able to do…but it’s kind of jacked up that you have to remind yourself of those moments isn’t it, because life sometimes seems like it’s all about piling on the crap. The struggle is real. But you know what …I’ve always loved to read, always had a boundless imagination and an obstinate spirit, I love music and appreciate art in all its forms (mostly), and I live to write…in spite of all, the ups, the downs, the goal shifting, the expectations, the let downs…those core things haven’t changed…that I imagine and I live to write…not to be confused with always making a living, mind…but which gives a certain purpose and direction to the way I move through life.

So, there’s that.

The writer wrote: “I know it was very stressful this year, but I want to encourage you to hold on to the management of this competition, because it is your creation and legacy. You are doing what so few successful people do which is to invest in the next generation and invest in processes that do not necessarily reward one financially but sap one’s energy and strength.”

Yeah, there’s that.


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