“Your principles can’t be extinguished unless you snuff out the thoughts that feed them, for it’s continually in your power to reignite new ones…It’s possible to start living again! See things anew as you once did–that is how to restart life!” ~ Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 7.2
This is a powerful one today! This really speaks to me. When I was a child in middle school, I began writing short stories. I had at least one spiral notebook full of my creations. But, I fell away from it by the time I was in junior high school. Then I became lost, and didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I know I was supposed to college and get a good job. However, I did not have the discipline for college – probably because I had no plans or goals. So, I joined the military. Although I stopped writing stories, I began writing letters back home. So, the writing did not yet get snuffed out. After I got out of the Navy, I went back to school with more discipline, and made high honors to receive an Associates degree in Business Management. Still not knowing what I wanted to do, I continued my education. Hey, computers were all the rage now! So I decided to get a degree in Computer Information Systems. The computer classes were a struggle for me. However, I chose a lot of English classes for my electives, including a Mark Twain honors course. That’s where my joy was, but I didn’t pay attention to it. I went into a field that I was not entirely comfortable with, as I hate math and science. So of course I went to work as a computer programmer for a medical technology company! But, my writing was not yet snuffed out. I was vaguely aware of a term called “blogging”. I heard that people blogged to share recipes.
Then I saw the film, Julie & Julia. If you’re not familiar, it was a true story about Julie Powell who went on a mission to cook all 524 recipes in a Julia Child cookbook in 365 days. Julie didn’t just write out the recipes in her blog. She wrote about her experience for each one, and wrote about her life at the time. It sounded exciting to me. So, I looked into blogging, and it was waaaaaay more than cooking and recipes! There were blogs about everything you can think of.
Ready to launch! Not only was the writing part of my brain not snuffed out, but it was ignited! In January 2010 I started my blog Return to the 80s. I found a new joy in my life! I wrote about a lot of 80s pop culture, but the only people who followed me were a couple of family members and a couple of friends. Then about 5 months in Dana Plato’s (of Diff’rent Strokes) son died. So I wrote an article about that. Then my page got views in the double-digits. Then I got a few more people I didn’t know, reading my articles. Then I wrote about 80s Christmas commercials that December, which put me on WordPress’ Freshly Pressed page for a weekend. That was a thing back then. So my page blew up, and I haven’t looked back. I now have almost 12,000 followers on Facebook and 17,000 on Twitter for that account.
That then led me to this Rhode Runner page. This one is a little more personal to me. I started this journey of running in all 50 states. I’ve already had some great adventures, and I’m only 10 states in. So, that gives me a lot to write about. Between the writing and podcasting here, and the writing and podcasting on Return to the ’80s, I really gained momentum in my writing. I built so much momentum that I can’t contain myself to just blogging. I am now going to school for a Master’s in Creative Writing, and plan on making a career in that field. I am working on a memoir now. And I managed to work some writing in my current job at the software company as I started a monthly newsletter for my group, and it has grown into a division newsletter.
This was all a long-winded way of saying that if you have a dream or a passion – well, as the great Irene Cara says, make it happen! It is never too late! Start living again!