JoAnn Gometz

Writing | Editing | Content Strategy

Once and Future Plans

I started to write this week's post and wound up composing a musing that annoyed me and reminded me of a time I felt powerless. It was "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." So saith Shakespeare.

I'm working at characterizing myself for some chapters of the book, per my masterful mentor's guidance, though. That's a difficult task, and some self-reflection is in order. It got me thinking about self-determination and timing. Although sometimes it feels like nothing ever changes in my world, I've actually changed in important ways since that powerless period.

While not completely unencumbered, I have only five have-tos in my life now. Support myself (thankfully, I'm a pretty cheap date). Write my book (and do all the work that entails). Pay for grad school (little by little, day by day). Recover fitness (the goal is zip lining, because it scares me). Keep tabs on the parents (hi, Mom).

Beyond those, everything is negotiable. This was the state I wanted to achieve when I was finishing college with dreams of writing for National Geographic and traveling the world in cargo pants, a t-shirt and a leather jacket, with a backpack, a camera and a notepad. Of course, reality intruded, in the form of all things financial. Distractions and obsessions, many of them invaluable, cropped up and tripped me up, too. 

Then, one spring just more than eight years ago, I found myself enveloped in a fleeting and fragile, buoyant and happy bubble. I've never been more enchanted and intrigued, awed and intimidated. And ultimately, I had never been more powerless. I was in the midst of "grown-up reboot" and was far away from a material sense of freedom and boundless choice. When your feet are on the ground, there's no way to keep up with a bubble on the wind and trying to hold onto it only crushes it.

I spent a lot of time thinking and praying in the months that followed. I felt like I had a small life, lacking purpose that had once seemed like destiny. I was missing something wonderful and irreplaceable, and certain I was missing out on all good things everywhere. Dreams happened; there were ninjas involved, despite their contextual and cultural misplacement. It wasn't pretty. So I made changes, made plans, made progress. Got distracted, got back on track, got serious. Got too serious. Got brave. 

As I look at where I am now, it occurs to me that powerless is no longer a word that defines me at all. My have-tos are portable. My plans are flexible. I'm confident in my ability to battle dream-ninjas and comfortable being carried on the wind. To steal a line from Juliet, "My bounty is as boundless as the sea..."