Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.
In the last couple of weeks, I began singing a refrain from a song I never really knew: “Ain’t nothin’ gonna break-a my stride/Nobody gonna slow me down/Oh no, oh no, I got to keep on moving…” My piecemeal recall of the song by Matthew Wilder surfaced abruptly as my husband and I walked our dogs and the little fuzzy on my leash kept stopping without warning and planting his feet so he could sniff the bushes…when I was struggling to move uphill. I leaned on the song as my gas pedal so frequently, my husband began to complain. He wanted me to either learn more lyrics or find a new song. But I didn’t.
Groomed as a people-pleaser when I was bounced from one high school to another by family moves, I spent years being an over-achiever, trying to win friends and influence people with my skills. Bad choice. Remember the annoying Diane Chambers in the TV series CHEERS? I should have learned overachievers turn people off. However, my recent discovery of magic lyrics shielded me. I sloughed off criticism leveled at some of the choices I made in my newest novel. All I had to do was start mentally singing what had become my invincible force field, and I didn’t care whether everyone loved me or my work or not.
One offshoot was I decided to say yes to invitations I would normally have pushed aside. (My inspiration was a brief glimpse of the film THE YES MAN with Jim Carrey.) I agreed to write human interest features for a local newspaper. No, I’m not a natural journalist. I step over details as often as possible in my creative writing, but to feed my aging brain I need to do things that don’t come easily. Journalism qualifies. At our first news meeting, I felt like a llama at a horse racetrack. (Aren’t I too mature to play the dork anymore?) To date, I don’t have access to the editors making decisions about my work, which is probably a good thing, so I keep churning out little biographical glimpses into local residents, terrified I’ll be handed more complicated assignments. So far, the feedback that reaches me is positive.
Another invitation I would normally have designed elaborate rationalizations to avoid was an invitation to a day of retreat with other women. My history of clashes with other women is peppered with unfortunate experiences as well as less common life-affirming ones. My response has been to limit my exposure. Why take chances? But my song reassures me, so I went to the retreat. Of course, I was utterly wrong, had a wonderful time and made new friends. The moral of my story is don’t let other people break your stride. Follow your instincts and be the purest form of yourself you can be. Why not? You gotta keep on moving…