Part III: A Date in the Future

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

I said I was going to stay consistent. I said I was going to post on Saturdays. I said all of these things to myself. And it’s not that I lied. It’s that life happened. As it does. And then we as the responsible parent of ourselves is on the hook for making sure we do the thing we say we are going to do.

I am currently in my rebellious teenage phase of adulthood. Probably because I never got to have a rebellious teenage phase as a teenager when it was age appropriate. But I say all that to say that some of the things I am rebelling against are alarm clocks, saying yes to things I don’t want to do, and saying yes to things I know are good for me. Like writing. Like sitting down and doing the work that I know will help me mentally as much as a good long walk does. I’ve also been rebelling against mental health walks that I know will 100% help my anxiety. But apparently my rebellion doesn’t want to make any sense.

Next week, I’ll be writing a post about mental health and my anxiety. But for now, let’s chat about the final writing prompt of the Catapult class.

I think I failed the assignment. Because, again, my rebellion was like, “I don’t want to write about that.” Petulant child that she is. But I did write about it in a way. My writing piece became an ode to my former self. To my 13 year old self. Who feels as real to me now as when I was living in her body some 24 years ago. Or the 22 year old version of me who, during her first year of teaching, cried every day and wished for a life that felt entirely impossible.

Turns out the life that I wanted wasn’t impossible. But what it took to get here was hard. There were sacrifices and tough decisions that needed to be made. And then there was the nuclear fall out from those decisions that I never could have imagined. I wanted to tell her, that 22 year old me, that we did it. We’re on the other side.

So, the prompt was this: Choose a date in the future and write what happened up to that point.

This is what I wrote.

After the novel class ended, we wrote every day. It started with 10 minutes. Then 15. Half an hour. Until we hit the sweet spot. Until we wrote past the corner we’d painted ourselves into. And then we rewrote. And we edited. And we found our spark. Our sparkle. Because you spent so much time comparing yourself to others that you shut off your ability to tell stories.

You redefined success. And redefined what it meant to be a writer. And found the fun again. Because what you thought it could give you was never really what mattered. What mattered was that the 13 year old version of you who spent Friday nights writing stories on her typewriter got to live her dream. Because the 22 year old version of you who thought she’d never leave teaching, did. Once you dropped the pressure to perform, everything fell into place.

Remember that for if it happens again. Success is measured in units of happiness. And writing will always bring you joy.

Until next week friends. I hope you find happiness in the days to come.

Published by Robyn Neilsen

I am a writer and educator based out of New Jersey. My creative nonfiction essays and flash fiction stories have been published by Thought Catalog, Vocal Media, and On Mogul. As a lifelong learner, I enjoy honing my craft through writing workshops with LA Writers Group, Gotham Writers, and The Moth. I am currently querying my first novel and am actively working on my second.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: