Thanks so much to Nicki for yesterday's post. Today we have the wonderful Jeniffer Lane in for a visit and to talk about her journey of maturity and writing.
Please make sure you are reading the guest posts thoroughly as there will be a contest at the end!!
40 Is the New 30: Birthdays and Writing
My mama told me when I was young
We are all born superstars
My mama didn’t give me the above advice—Lady Gaga’s mama apparently did. But what my mother did communicate was that aging is a stressful, awful process. I disagree! And for Hannah’s birthday, I want to share all the wonderful things about aging.
Sure, there are some downsides to turning 40 for me. I hardly ever went to a doctor before age 30 but now I’m on a quest to end my hip/lower back pain that’s been plaguing me for years and preventing me from jogging. Physically it’s a drag not to bounce back as quickly from injury, and I’m finding it takes me longer to warm up when I exercise.
But there are so many benefits to aging! The big one for me is confidence. Do you remember the paralyzing worry about others disliking you when you were in your teens and early twenties? You had to wear just the right clothes and say just the right things, or they labeled you as a dork. I’m happy to say I really don’t care as much what others think now. And it is so freeing. I know myself better now, which also boosts my confidence.
The second major benefit of aging is life experience. When you’ve “been there, done that”, there’s a sense of peace knowing you can make it through difficult situations. There’s a wisdom borne from horrific mistakes, painful events, and loving encounters.
Such confidence and life experience have decreased my relationship drama as well as helped my two careers as psychologist and author. I remember sitting across from my first therapy client when I was 24 years old, overwhelmed by this individual staring at me, expecting me to help her. I’d had over a year of training at that point but I was still thinking “What the heck can I offer to her?” After 16 years of working as a therapist, I have so much more to give my clients (much of it based on what my clients have given me over the years). I have more expertise about what works. I feel relaxed, putting the client at ease and allowing both of us to benefit from the healing power of laughter.
As an author, I hope I can draw on all the relationships and experiences over the years to create realistic and compelling characters. For example, I actually dated a man who told me he worked as a “fertilizer technician”. When I told my swimming friends about him, one said, “No sh*t?” I had to use that line in my novel With Good Behavior when Sophie’s friend Kirsten dates her own fertilizer technician, hee hee.
I definitely have a point of view as an author now. Sometimes I had trouble writing papers in college because I didn’t really have much to say. I guess that’s changed given I seem to crank out manuscripts with 200,000 words now. (Talk about the need for editing.)
I can’t wait to get older, hoping these benefits of aging keep accumulating. So Hannah, enjoy your birthday, including the confidence and wisdom that come with this special day!
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Thanks for stopping by Jen, and thank you for the birthday wishes. I'm starting to look forward to the maturity that I know is coming.
Our next guest poster will be the lovely Carol Oates, so check back on Monday.