It’s Monday morning. Again. But it’s not any ordinary Monday morning because today I got up early to write. I’m sitting in a dark, empty cemetery, watching the sun come up and writing. Sounds morbid, I guess, but also very motivating.
It’s motivating because no matter how long you live, life is short. Even if you get 100 years, which is good by today’s standards in the US, it’s still too short to do, see, and be all the things that you want to do, see, and be. And if you have idle years where you are just coasting through, well, it’s even shorter.
I’ve done that. So many years I have done that. I have been that girl just coasting through. I haven’t done what I wanted to do or gone where I wanted to go. And I am nowhere near who I want to be. So many times, I’ve settled because going for what I really wanted seemed hard. It seemed risky, and I’ve never been good with risks.
But this morning I woke up early because I’m ready to take a risk.
Ever since I learned to read, I’ve wanted to be a writer. It’s documented in yearbooks and other memory books from my childhood. When someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said “writer” (after the brief time in my early life when I said “singer”). It’s why I paid attention in English class. Because, let’s face it, why else would you pay attention in English class? It’s why I love to read. I’m not just reading for pleasure, I’m researching for what I want to do with my life. I’ve put a lot of effort into this thing already, but then I just let it set idle. Why would I do that?
Because I was scared. Even in this day of blogs and the internet and self-publishing and all the other ways to get my stuff out there, I was scared to do it. It was too hard and too risky and so I just didn’t. I went to work as a preschool teacher every day instead. Which, by the way, is one of the riskiest things a person could do with their life. There are tears and snot and mysterious wetness and weird smells that come from these little people. And they have no filter. They tell you exactly what they think and they don’t feel bad about it. Risky business.
So this morning, I woke up early to write before work because I’m safe. I can do this. I’m sitting in the dark cemetery because it reminds me how short life is and it motivates me to start doing and going and being me. If you could ask the people whose lives these headstones represent what they regret from their lives, I think the most popular answer would be that they regret what they didn’t do more than what they did.
I could be wrong, but what if I’m not?