My Second Act

It’s been a year.  A year since I’ve written anything.  I don’t just mean here, but anywhere; a full year since I’ve put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and written anything more meaningful than a thank-you card for Lily’s teachers at the end of the school year.

I couldn’t begin to tell you why, I don’t even think there is one true reason.  For a while I was grieving and there were just too many emotions to sort through; trying to write about them just ended up a giant babbling mess and there was no real train of thought that brought everything together.  Then there was just a block: we had a couple of months where there were so many reasons to be happy and thankful, so many things that I wanted to write about and every single time that I tried I came up empty.  Everything came out like the outline for an essay, just a perfunctory list of what had been going on, but no meaning, no depth, no actual expression of what that list meant to my life.  I would sometimes think of a single line while falling asleep and I would sit up, grab my notebook and pen and then the thought would just trail off – thoughts incomplete.

Over time it just became easier not to write and I had an entire world of excuses to back me up.  I had started a new position just before my father died and work was much busier than it had been; after our basement renovations were completed we hadn’t set up the office and our computer was sitting on the floor; I wanted to spend my evenings with Lily; I hadn’t taken enough photos to go with a post; I wanted to finish the book I was reading; Lola needed to be walked.  Eventually making time to write felt foreign – a strange, unheard of concept that I could no longer wrap my head around.  Why force something that isn’t there? If I was meant to write, it would be easier, I wouldn’t have to work at it, it would just fall into place.

Finally, I realized that I missed it.  Out of what felt like absolutely nowhere, it was all I could think about.  I wanted to write more than anything, but I still held back.  What if I tried and failed?  What if I had nothing left to say? What if my voice really was just one of a million others out there and it got lost in the shadows?

But it’s Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.  While I’m clearly not Jewish, in another life I embraced Judaism as part of my family and Rosh Hashanah was my favourite of the High Holiday’s.  I love it for its simplicity: a time to look back at the past year and take stock of your life; to take time to reflect and evaluate if the path you’ve been on is the one you want to keep walking; to take measure of your actions and how they have affected those around you.  It’s time to ask yourself “why”?  Why did I react badly to this situation? Why did I avoid that confrontation? And then, for me personally, why I am not writing?  Why am I to using this gift the way that I should? Why, when I have learned time and time again, that my life becomes clearer to me when I force it into words, am I turning away from what I love to do most?

So this is where I’m starting.  This is my second act.  At the start of this New Year, I’ve picked up my pen and am determined to begin again.  There is no guarantee that the words will come, that I will be able to articulate all that I want to say.  No guarantee that I won’t worry about finding my voice or worry that I won’t find an audience who appreciates or understands my thoughts.  But at least the pen is in my hand (or at least it was at 11pm two nights ago while I was writing this all on a scrap of paper), and with that small change, I am back on the path that I’ve been missing.

Shana Tova.