I’m skeptical about the word “awakening.” I think it implies a transformative moment — a shaft of sunlight through the clouds.
In my experience, I’ve never had the romantic Hollywood version of awakening in my life. For me, it’s been incremental and often not immediately rewarding. In terms of character, my growth has entailed learning to do what I don’t want to do. For instance, I don’t want to walk up the stairs to my office and write today. I’d rather do anything else. But I committed to it, and I’m going to do it regardless of what I want or don’t want. That’s not sexy or glamorous, but it has been immensely gratifying. It has shown me that I’m strong and that I have worth and tenacity. I think that my process of awakening has stemmed from a realization that all this talk about the pursuit of happiness wasn’t really all that valuable to me, and that I’d much rather have a life infused with meaning than happiness.
That’s not to say I haven’t found a whole lot of happiness along the way, it’s just not my goal anymore.
And that has been my most profound awakening.
Nowhere am I more keenly aware of my being “awake,” or not, than I am in my writing. In my newest book, Everything You Ever Wanted, there were so many things that required me to be radically honest. Complex ideas of identity and reinvention came to the forefront as I tried to share the story of how my family came together and why, who we are as a family, and how strong my desire was to awake to a second act in my life.
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