Sunday, October 27, 2013

Birthday Musings

It's my birthday.  Yeah, it's today.  I won't share the year but anyone curious enough can probably find it or figure it out without much difficulty.  At this stage in my life, birthdays are fun to celebrate but they also became a slow walk down memory lane.  And, maybe everyone doesn't to this, but for me, my birthday is like New Year's Day because I like it to be a time to make changes and some new beginnings.

In the past decade or so, I'm often surprised, even stunned by what happens in my life from one birthday to the next.  A few years ago, between one October 27th and the next, I made the transition from wannabee author to someone with several signed contracts.  This year, I have a combined total of complete full length novels out, coming out, or under contract of 24.  In addition, I have 6 novellas, more than ten shorts, and two dozen or more anthologies in which my work is included.  In 2006, I was delighted to have made my first national anthology and had ordered a copy for my grandmother, one of many family members who had always encouraged me as a writer.  By the time it arrived, she had suffered a major stroke and instead of giving it to her to enjoy, I placed it with a letter to be buried with her.  Life is a series of changes, both good and bad. 

In the last few years, I've had to say good-bye to not just my maternal grandmother but to one of my favorite aunts, my father, my father-in-law, and too many friends. 

Between one October and the next, my husband's job of more than twenty-three years came to an unexpected end which slammed our family finances and changed our lifestyle in many drastic ways.  This year marks my second birthday of our new way of life and although we're certainly no where close to where I'd like to be financially (hell, some months we struggle to make ends meet and pay bills), it's improved from a year ago.  But believe me, there needs to be major positive improvements.

 I substitute teach in addition to writing but in recent weeks I'm considering finding a job with more reliable, steady hours than subbing so my bill juggling might become less tense.  But it's a double edged sword because I'm aware the more I work, the less time I'll having for both family and writing.  So I'm still considering, still looking into jobs, still hoping to find a way to keep writing, pay the bills, and have a little sturdier financial security.

My daughters, twins, are now seniors and graduate this spring.  At this moment, I can't say where they will be next October and that's a little scary.  My son will be in eighth grade but with the girls heading off to college, our household of five will become a trio most of the time.  That too will be a major adjustment.

A few short years ago, my extended family marked my birthday by going out to eat together.  My dad is no longer with us in this plane of existence, my mother's health and mobility have declined so that she can't, so my family will be dining later today....just the five of us.  

Today I'm choosing to look at my birthday as a fresh start, a day to start moving toward some positive goals.  I'm tapping into all the upbeat energy available and finding a renewed sense of hope for the future. 

I have several releases already scheduled for the first quarter of 2014 and although I don't yet know what individual works of mine may be releasing next October, I do know one special anthology I will be part of with a story dear to my heart.

So for me it's a day to celebrate, to remember, and to make plans to move forward in a bold and upbeat fashion.  Or at least to try in the face of negativity and such.

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