Thank You For Coming To My TED Talk

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“Thank you for coming to my TED talk!”

I almost laugh out loud as my inner voice makes this statement in my head. Most mornings, I am on the elliptical walking at a moderate pace while my thoughts and ideas jump from place to place. One day I imagine my book signing. I let my thoughts run wild. Another day I think of what the documentary premiere would look like. Yet another day, my thoughts are consumed by work. I run through the list of open items I have and prioritize the ones I should work on that day. It is a very rare day if I am not consumed by thoughts.

Today was no exception. I started with writing a blog in my head. Then I wondered for a bit about what it would be like to just wind up and move someplace totally remote. For a while, my mind lingered on the children and how fast they are growing. I imagined them all independent and fierce in their own right.

I imagined me giving them sage advice as they prepare to fly the nest and realized with a start that there really is no advice to share. Everything I have learned in life has come from falling, failing and picking myself up.

All through school and college, I pursued STEM because I did not know better. I definitely was not interested. I coasted along, doing the bare minimum, skating the edge between failing badly and doing just enough to keep my place in the herd.

I was ambitious without the supporting effort that goes into climbing those ladders. I watched my peers work into the night and spend time outside of work understanding what they were working on. I thrived on the social aspects, doing just about what was needed to keep me going. I switched jobs because boredom set in. I eyed the corner office as I signed up for an MBA. Post-MBA, I refused to take flight because it would mean leaving my brood behind. I sabotaged myself in more ways than I care.

I pursued motherhood with the same ambition. At least in this pursuit, I truly believed and wanted what I was aspiring for. Despite setbacks, I kept on pushing harder, stretching the envelope so to speak. Eventually, when motherhood came along, I realized it happened despite my efforts not because of them.

I have been writing in earnest since 2005. In 2015, I took myself seriously and actually attempted a novel-length story. I queried, I researched, I learned everything there was to learn about pitching, finding agents, self-publishing and becoming an author. I formally went to school, I attended conferences and workshops. I submitted to places in hopes of finding my name in print. I wrote book proposals and traded critiques with friends. Eventually, I tired myself out and decided to write just for the joy of sharing. I let go of that race toward a goal and satisfied myself with seeing those words in my head find a form on the blog.

Each of my pursuits has been dogged. They have been intense. They have been filled with rejection more than acceptance. Each journey has been an experience I cherish. The one common thread in all my life experiences has been the letting go.

It is when I finally reach that place in my head when I am ready to divest my effort from the outcome, that the magic happens. Does that mean I should not pour myself, heart and soul, into my endeavors? On the contrary, I should. I should because I enjoy the intellectual high that comes from being so invested in something. It only means that I should learn to enjoy the journey, not keep my eyes focused on the end goal. The goal is just a sign, a post that states you have arrived.

It just means the journey can be endless, a forever torturous path taking me on new adventures that mean detours and destinations I was not headed to.

Even as everything settled in my head, that voice piped up.

β€œThank you for coming to my TED talk!”

3 thoughts on “Thank You For Coming To My TED Talk

  1. Hi Alaskan
    Good thoughts. Do remember that when things do happen when you divest your interest after pouring your heart into it a long time, it happens BECAUSE of all the efforts you put in before.
    So continue what you do, without getting dejected.

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