Time Enough

 

Seventeen years ago this fall, I collected acorns from my driveway and put them in my pocket as symbols of rebirth. When I entered the hospital for major surgery, I took the acorns with me, as well as these affirmations for the surgeon: “I am very pleased with this operation.” “Linda’s surgery is a big success.” “Linda will heal quickly.”

He was, it was and I did. Life went on, as it does, and I got older. A big birthday last year jolted me into a state of anxious rumination. Had I done enough with my life? Short answer: No. So, what’s an older woman to do? I journaled and pulled my spiritual reading off the shelf. I started a new spiritual practice, lighting a candle and reading something inspirational, then journaling about it for 20 minutes, first thing in the morning.

That year of rumination is almost up, and I’m pleased to say the anxiety is going away, albeit slowly. Somehow, I realized I had done quite a lot. That the years I remembered as preoccupied, worried, angry or scared were my learning time. The twenty years since I began writing about my life have been my practice time. Some of my work was published, much of it not. Some of my time was spent writing, much of it not.

Yesterday, after an outside appointment, I thought of stopping to pick up some birdseed, or to spend that coupon from the clothing store, or maybe pick up a latte. But my writing had taken over part of my mind and so I drove straight home and sat down at my desk.

One reason I’m motivated to write these days is the example of other women like myself. Women like romantic suspense author Alice Orr. Her latest novel, A Time of Fear and Loving, is the fifth in her Riverton Road series. I met Alice through the International Women’s Writing Guild. She is a former book editor and literary agent who suggested I turn my complicated first novel into a trilogy, advice I am happy to say I am following.

Alice is the author of 16 novels, 3 novellas, a memoir and No More Rejections: 50 Secrets to Writing a Manuscript that Sells. She is a mother and grandmother, and she’s not letting the passage of time get in her way.

I hadn’t read romantic suspense since I was in my twenties, but reading Alice’s work reminds me how much I loved this genre. I was pleasantly surprised to find her series is set in the North Country, the beautiful part of upstate New York near the river town where I was born and raised. In this latest book, a young widow investigates the disappearance of her old friend and soon runs into a long ago crush who is now a police officer with his own issues from serving in Afghanistan.

So, here’s the question: how does the passage of time affect you? Do you ignore it? Do you use it to motivate you? Something else? Comment on this post and I’ll put your name in the hat to win a signed copy of A Time of Fear and Loving.

I’d love to read your thoughts.

The winner of last month’s drawing is Susan Schoch.  I’m sending her my copy of Dorothea Benton Frank’s Pawley’s Island.

 

15 thoughts on “Time Enough

  1. Lovely post Linda! I definitely use the passage of time to stop, re-evaluate to see if I’m on the right journey, and take time to let go of disappointments and move on to new mountains to climb. As you say with your writing – I think of my life too as “practice time”. As I learn more deeply, love more deeply – these things move along my day and are also reflected in new goals.

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  2. Having the benefit of age it occurs to me that I have earned patience with myself. It was a struggle to learn it and to keep it. Due to some health issues I had no choice but to give in, rejoice in what I can do, and let the rest slide. Some days an enormous amount is accomplished, and in the others I read, breathe fresh air, make a needed call to someone, jot off a note…or sleep awhile. I’m grateful for each day and I send love out to as many as I can. May I be remembered for that in the passage of time.

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  3. I would like to think I take time to re-evaluate, let go, move on but writing memoir pulls me back there…a time when I had dreams. I resurrect those dreams and that’s what keeps me writing and getting up in front of an audience and telling my story. It’s not over yet!!!

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  4. Hi, Linda. The passage of time does cause me anxiety. I try to use it to motivate myself to get my memoir done and do other kinds of writing….among other activities, though the writing is primary. I do find the discipline of writing gives structure to my days and reduces the anxious thoughts somewhat. I really enjoyed this post, thank you for writing it. And I like your blog!

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  5. Love this, Linda. The passing of time causes me to reflect a lot on legacy and what mine will be. As the years go by I am ever more mindful of making sure I live with integrity and remain true to the woman I’ve grown to be. I’m also giving thought to those who will come after me and what words I can leave that might teach and help them on their own journey. So much to think about; so much to do. The finite time remaining causes me to have a sense of urgency sometimes.

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  6. My most recent reflection on the passage of time arose yesterday, after a weekend of visiting my 89 year old great aunt and cousins and other family I lost touch with many years ago when my parents moved us away from “home”. There is a deep sadness for the many years not spent in relationship with this family, but also a joy that I was able to reconnect if even for a short while. It showed them that they matter to me, and I felt once again seen, missed, and part of the family. Yes, this is a special note on the passage of time, which I will call my sorrowful joy.

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  7. Tracy, I’m so glad you had this time with family over the weekend. I can relate to reuniting with distant family after many years. It’s bittersweet, knowing all you’ve missed, but it’s great to feel “seen.” Thanks for sharing your reflection. 🙂

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