Radical Creativity and the Big 5-0
Issue #2: New Adventures
What a weekend it was.
I taught my first online writing workshop this past weekend as a part of my friend Lauren Sapala’s Radical Creativity Retreat. I was so honored to be asked to teach, and I created a class about the Magic of Intuitive Memoir.
It was a super fun experience - and while I was nervous, I also figured it had to be easier than performing a storytime at the library for 80-100+ toddlers - which had its joys for sure, but would devolve into a complete shit-show by the end of the 45 minutes.
Plus, even though I LOVED all the sweet babies, the intense “peopling” aspect of my day job would leave me drained and exhausted...empty. I had some really shitty bosses, too. I can hardly believe I ever wrote two books while dealing with the stress and schedule of the day job - plus doing this every week:
This experience with peopling at The Radical Creativity retreat was much, much different, though. It was a weekend of complete joy, support, learning, and expansion. I was able to share my Magic of Intuitive Memoir material, and it was awesome to connect with the other teachers and students. And I did it all from the comfort of my desk at home. I feel really energized.
(My GOD I am so grateful not to have to go to the library anymore.)
Writing and creating can be such a lonely road, and I think I’m pretty OK with that for the most part. I was an only child, I keep myself really good company. I’ve always had a loner mentality, and introverted writing types have usually trained well for solitude. So to step out of that and into such a supportive and energetically positive space with other people online - I felt real kinship with other creators, and I learned quite a few things - and not just from the workshops I attended. I learned a ton from the actual process of getting over my anxiety, presenting my own stuff, and putting it out there.
I learned that I had quite a bit more material than time to present it, which is so reassuring (although awkward for a few minutes as I had to condense a lot of stuff at the end). I had 90 minutes allotted, which is super generous, but I think I had another 60 minutes of material, so it makes me think that I actually have enough for my own class, workshop, or video series.
And what I’m super pleased with is that a couple of related topics popped up, too, so I'm going to pay attention to those seeds and give them some water and sunshine over these next few weeks to see if anything blooms.
From this workshop, I was hoping to come away with some clarity about my next steps in teaching and coaching, and I totally got it. Like, the ideas almost just downloaded right into my brain.
And I still need to write my book! Yikes.
Which kind of leads me back to the library, and writing Library Confidential. A bunch of stuff really bubbled up when I went looking at some of my old work pictures to see what I could use for this post.
I quit my job in June so I could enjoy the summer with my kids - one of whom just started high school, and my youngest, middle school. These years are fleeting, you know? And this past year doing school at home was so hard on them.
And look, I had planned, saved, and budgeted for years, paid down debt, got my “fuck you” money in place, and I felt no guilt about walking away from my job. So, when I said my goodbyes to my longtime friends and coworkers at the library, I did so with every intention of keeping in touch and visiting often.
I worked there for 18 years. I grew old with some of these people, and I watched their babies and children grow up, watched them become grandparents, watched them go gray - as they did me.
And yet, I have not been back to visit. I just...can’t. Not yet. Yet? Ever? I don’t know. I can’t bring myself to even drive by the place.
Aside from a few social media likes, I have not talked with any of my former coworkers, either. I have no idea what is going on or how people are. I do miss them. I think about them everyday and I wish them well and bid them peace. But I haven’t worked up the...whatever...to go back to the place. It feels like a past life. One I’m no longer living. Almost like a dark realm that I shouldn’t revisit.
I think this is what they call the INFJ “Door Slam.” Like, I’m done. Too much shit happened there, and I know that’s why I’ve been stalled - I’m still working through some deep, deep...anger? Disappointment? The energetic baggage is there for sure, buried in my belly, just waiting to be purged up. Do I want to purge it up? Do I need to? Am I in the right energetic space to do this? Do I need to go back there? Why do I feel guilty?
I mean, it’s not like anyone there has reached out to me, either. I may be woo-woo, but I am also very much a realist.
In addition to the family aspect of it, I basically left my library career to write Library Confidential. Because even as I was going through it, I knew I had a story about the whole crazy experience.
I also knew that the thing - this job - that had hurt and abused me emotionally and energetically for the past 18 years - was also going to become THE thing that would help me level up to my next best self energetically, both as a writer, a writing coach, and as a human being. A little hair of the dog that bit me.
So it must be done.
And speaking of leveling up…
Today is my 50th birthday. Woo!
Thanks for being here with me.
Look, I have no bad feelings AT ALL about turning 50. This is an amazing adventure, my friends, and we all know how it ends. I am grateful to be here on this earth, I am excited about the future, and I refuse to get bogged down by shit that is not under my control. And if I do get bogged down - I have enough experience at this age to know how to climb out and save myself, usually without too much struggle.
The only thing that’s weird is that I thought 50 would feel different, like I’d finally feel GROWN UP.
But I don’t, not at all.
I AM STILL GROWING UP. I have embraced ease, intuition, fluidity, expansion - but at the same time have become more anchored to myself, to my core beliefs and values. I feel my own power and life force, I feel my experience, I feel my wisdom and desire and opinions - formed from all these years of life that I’ve lived so far. What a gift.
But I’m still growing.
I look at my 50-year old body, with c-section scars and cancer scars and skin that isn’t as plush as before and my long gray hair that makes me look older but that I consider my antennae - it’s all a gift. My body is like my book of life, and I have many more chapters left to write on it, I’m sure.
But I do not, in any way, feel GROWN UP.
In some ways, I have regressed back to childhood, back to the sheer damn joy of being just alive, being loved, exploring, playing, creating. I am grateful, and I’m attempting with all my might to remain unbothered by the world swirling around me. Just keep it simple, easy, and loving.
And I’m very much looking forward to my big piece of birthday cake with my family tonight.
I’m telling you, 50 is the new 7.
See you soon,