I thought Spring Fever was a phenomena belonging only to those living in Northern or Midwestern states, but my girlfriend here in sunny SoCal said her son was feeling it this morning, and my son has mentioned it in the last couple of days, too. I guess March 1 is March 1 whether you live in Michigan where we hail from, or Southern California where we live now.
Of course, the weather in Michigan this year hasn't been nearly as extreme as in years past. My friends in the southwest corner enjoyed a 65 degree Leap Year bonus, and there were celebrations all over Facebook...and then it snowed that evening. They've only had a few good sledding days, and at times their high temperature has just about matched ours in San Diego. Yesterday, in fact, it was higher.
I find myself feeling nostalgic for spring, but for springs past; for the crocuses poking up through crusty snow; for the fresh smell of loamy soil; for the annual laugh among neighbors at the one couple who shoveled their slowly dwindling snow piles ONTO their driveway about this time each year. Of course I'm nostalgic for anything at all to do with Michigan, except perhaps for that one set of crazy inhabitants of the old neighborhood.
I didn't come willingly to San Diego. It wasn't a choice on my part, except to keep my children's parents together, which is of course the worthiest of choices. Were it not for San Diego, however, I don't think I would be taking the steps I am to follow the dream I've had since middle school of being a writer. I would have likely remained complacent with my Michigan life, and done nothing but continue to dwell on an empty dream.
Here I am faced with so much time alone, that I have no choice but to look inside and ask what I hope to be. Here there are a bevy of choices in what classes to attend, workshops, writers groups, and it seems more accepted, even expected of someone to want more for herself. Whether it's near obsessive exercising, botoxing or shopping, many of the moms here seem to make no apologies about focusing on themselves during their children's school day, and I'm beginning to admire it and even strive for it.
Maybe it should be our time; my time. After sacrificing clothes, a social life, income, job advancement, and risking the dreaded hole in our resumes, isn't it about time we think about what we want to be when we grow up? I've been a mom for twenty-five years, for nearly all of my adult life, and of course I wouldn't trade it for anything. But I have my last child at home, and if I don't work on myself now, if I don't take the opportunities that are available to me and use this time being on the complete opposite side of the country from both of my girls; the very essence of who I have been only so much more, then I'm not only cheating myself, I'm cheating them when they become mothers and must struggle with some of the same challenges.
But why is it so hard for me? It's hard to believe in myself and my dreams, it's hard to justify sitting at my computer all day spending the time writing. It's really tough to spend the money on classes that may or may not pay off one day. And most of all, it feels damn near insurmountable to even imagine submitting anything I've written and risk certain rejection, let alone actually do it.
I'm afraid I don't have the answers. Maybe I just have to accept that doubting myself is a battle I will continue to fight every day, and make myself do it anyway. After all, I did take that creative writing class last fall, and it went very well. I'm currently taking an online class on Internet writing markets, and I'm signing up for Creative Writing II, with the same instructors I adored from the first session. I'm friends on Facebook with Margaret Dilloway, a local San Diego author who wrote the delightful, "How to be an American Housewife," and who frequently posts great pieces about writing that I'm finding inspirational and informative. In fact it was she who lead me to seek out the classes I'm taking.
Perhaps I haven't come very far from The Poky Little Puppy I was dubbed by Mrs. Wisebrook in kindergarten, but slowly and surely, I'm fighting my way to becoming a local San Diego author, too.