I launched my blog “Story & History: One writer’s journey through life and time” in January 2012, publishing only three short posts that month. It took awhile to find my rhythm (stepped up to publishing twice a week) and my voice. For five years, I published on WordPress.com, and last year I moved here to my own website.
I find it hard to believe that it was six years ago now. Sometimes six years seems like nothing, and sometimes it seems like forever—a lot has happened in those six years (and I’ve only written about some of it).
My husband was working full-time in January 2012. Since then, he’s retired, then been called back for two stints at his law firm to fill in for another attorney on maternity leave. He bought a boat and has become comfortable with it, using it primarily to patrol with the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Our son had not yet met his girlfriend (I don’t think) six years ago, and in this time period, he’s had at least one move from city to city. Our daughter had begun work as an associate for her law firm a few months before January 2012, and now she’s been promoted to the firm’s next level up. Both kids have acquired dogs, and our daughter has also bought a house. They’ve matured considerably in the last six years.
Six years ago, my mother still lived at home with my father. She didn’t move into assisted living until a year later in January 2013, and died eighteen months after that. Six years ago, my father was still alive and active. He was on a homeowner’s association committee, he did a lot of volunteer work with his church and with a small college in Washington State, and he cared for my mother. He died suddenly three years ago in January 2015, so I can think of my six years of blogging as being bifurcated by his death. For a year after his death, much of my time was consumed by dealing with my parents’ estates.
My working (proof) copies of my three historical novels
I launched my blog about the time I published a short anthology as a test foray into self-publishing. Since then, I have published four novels—one under a pseudonym and three historical works under my own name. While I’d already drafted the first three novels by January 2012, they were not nearly in final form yet, and I didn’t publish them until 2013, 2015, 2016.
By contrast, I didn’t even start the newest book until October 2016, and it was ready to publish this month. Am I getting faster or better or was this book just easier? Probably all of the above. Maybe the next six years will answer the question.
This six-year period is a little less than ten percent of my life. Do I feel good about this ten percent? Yes. I’ve begun to see the fruition of my decision eleven years ago (18% of my life) to retire from the corporate world and to start my life as a writer. Although one can always wish that success came sooner, I can see the progress I am making as a writer and feel good about it. Although I would have liked for my parents to have seen me publish my Oregon Trail historical fiction, both of them were able to read the first book in the series, and my dad read a very early draft of the second.
And although I might want a better integration between my writing life and other aspects of my world (meaning, I want more time to write), I have managed to carve out an existence that I enjoy and that holds me accountable primarily to myself and to my family. I have a good life.
My father said many times to me in the last few years of his life, “We [my mother and he] had a good life.” He said it after she’d been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, after she’d moved into assisted living, and even after she died.
I sometimes have to remind myself that I and my family also have a good life. We have been blessed in many ways. Blogging allows me frequent opportunities to reflect on life, my accomplishments, and the passage of time. I do so today with gratitude.
What milestones and measures do you use to assess your life?