We recently attended the local racetrack awards banquet in support of my daughter and her 9th place finish this year in her dirt-track racing division. Prior to the banquet, some comments were made that really bothered me. Someone told me they didn’t feel like she "earned" 9th place because she didn’t win any races, didn’t even finish in the top ten in any races this year. She earned points by racing regularly (although not every week) and by finishing her races, which is more than some of the other drivers did. Does that make her any less deserving?
I know my daughter. She’s passionate about racing, and has been since she was a toddler. Racing is all she’s ever wanted to do. It’s different from the other activities she participated in over the years. In other activities, she wanted to do well but she wouldn’t give 110%. She wanted the glory without the guts. Racing has been different, to some degree. She’s worked hard to get where she’s at. Has she given 110%? I don’t know, but I do know she’s trying. She doesn’t always get it right, and she’s still learning. But she must be doing something right because people see potential in her and she is improving each year. Does that make her less deserving than someone who is more experienced and winning races?
That depends. She’s living her dream, which is more than a lot of people can say – myself included.
My dream has always been to be a published writer. I’m twice my daughter’s age and then some, and I’m not there yet. Some would say I only played at being a writer while raising my family. Maybe they’re right, and maybe not. It’s a matter of priorities. I’m a fiercely loving and supporting mother. My kids would tell you I’m overprotective, but hey, that’s who I am. I’ve spent years juggling their events. Writing took a backseat, but it was always there for me in one form or another.
Now that my youngest is a senior in high school, I soon won’t be able to use the excuse of school or sporting events to avoid writing (yes, sometimes I do avoid it). My priorities are shifting. Hubby would like to claim more of my time for us, and it’s important that I nurture that relationship. But I also need to nurture my dream, to push through the fear that has dogged me through the years: what if I become a successful writer and it changes me or it changes my life?
I’m participating by writing and editing, by taking workshops and studying my craft. I don’t always get it right, and I’m still learning. But I need to take a lesson from my daughter and put my passion for writing to work for me, because I’m not a published writer. . . yet. Does that mean I haven't "earned" the title of writer? I don't think so. I may not be living my dream but I am chasing it.