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Have you ever lain awake at night and wondered if life has passed you by?  As I write this on the dawn side of 2AM I can honestly say that I have. Sometime tonight as I tossed and turned in bed, I realized that I’m 43.  This isn’t really a surprise to me. I’ve had 15,821 days since my birth to get used to the concept that I’ve been getting older. However, tonight, I started to wonder if maybe I had more days behind me than I might have ahead of me. What exactly do I have to show for it?

William Shakespeare, photo supplied by Huntington Theatre Company

I’m not talking about big houses, cars and reputation that people will catalog that I have or don’t have at my funeral.  I’m talking about the personal accomplishments that my little-girl-self promised she wasn’t going to let the grown-up me forget about doing.

“To thine own self be true, and it must follow,
as the night the day,
thou canst not then be false to any man.”
-William Shakespeare

Have I been true to myself? Not at all.

As I started to think about all the dreams and to do lists I’ve made over the years, I realized that what I’ve always promised myself I was going to “Do” hasn’t often made it off the list and into my life. I’m actually about to leave this world without accomplishing the one thing I’ve always said I’ve have wanted more than anything in the world since I was a little girl. I’ve always wanted to write a book and get it published.

That’s when an epiphany hit me – hard! All isn’t lost; I’ve just gone off course and gotten behind schedule. I can accomplish anything if I set my mind to it. Isn’t that what my Daddy always taught me?  So here goes, I have to do this or my life *will* be a failure and I will someday die untrue to my own self.

This morning I wrote up a contract with myself that will get me on track for the next three months. If I re-evaluate my true goals every three months I should push, pull, drag myself along to becoming the writer that I’ve always wanted to be.

I’ve given myself permission this morning to be selfish to do the things that will accomplish my personal goal in life. Not to the exclusion of the rest of my life and those I love, but permission to focus on myself with purpose; something I far too often neglect for a laundry list of sorry, lame excuses.

I know that I would much rather go down fighting than never pursuing my dreams; regardless if I ever actually achieve my goal. I just can’t ever give up trying without giving up on who I am as a person.

So here goes. This is my first three month contract with myself:

  • Write every day; whether for five minutes or five hours – just write
  • Join Romance Writers of America
  • Enter at least one short story contest by end of 2011
  • Get new job that supports our household and my writing
  • Get physically healthy & strong so that I can complete these goals
  • Write my blog at least twice a week to build up readership & interest
  • Read one book per month on the craft of writing
  • Read one book per month on a subject completely new to me
  •  Get my prosthetic leg so that I can go on a book tour when I sell my book
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