Back to Joy

I’ve been a dreamer and a make-believer as far back as I can remember.  Honestly, I always thought I was just a late bloomer, that my mental maturity developed at a slightly slower pace than my peers.  Then, during a talk with my mother shortly before my graduation from grad school, I told her how anxious I was about being a real adult and how I was afraid I was still so behind my friends in terms of “real world achievements.”  Instead of assuring me that I was completely normal and that I had nothing to worry about, however, she told me, “Well, maybe you’re just different.  You have always marched to your own tune.”

At first, I really wasn’t sure that was a compliment, though now that I’m older, I’m pretty sure it is.  I like being me.  I like the things that I do and the way I see the world.  Somewhere along the line, though, I’m afraid a vital part of me got lost.  Even though I’ve made it a priority ever since I was a teenager to hold on to the dreams and ideas that have always brought me so much joy over the years, I can feel the harsh demands of money and status and reality striving to pull them away.  Above all, the artistic soul craves freedom, and in a world where money and power are the Alpha and Omega, true freedom is hard to come by.

Like several new adults, I’ve let the idea that “I have to do this” and “I have to do that” in order to be successful get in my head.  Guess what?  It’s made me miserable.  That’s not how it’s supposed to work, is it?

I’ve never believed that there was only “one true path” to success or happiness, though I’ve met several people who begged to differ.  I’ve decided that I’m going to take the next few months to see if I can prove them wrong.  The new book (the title of which I will hopefully be able to reveal soon) will be out on July 1.  Along with editing, formatting, and working on new manuscripts, I’m going to try to get back to what it means to be joyful, to be confident, and to live each day the way I’m meant to live it.

To be honest, I don’t really want too much out of life.  I like being outside.  I like blue skies and green fields and forests and rivers and oceans.  I want a good book to read.  I want to get healthy, in mind and in body.  I want to do good and take pictures and write.  I honestly don’t care if anyone knows my name or if I get a fancy car or designer jewelry (though a lake house would be AWESOME).  Or maybe the truth is I want everything out of life, it just doesn’t seem like all that much by today’s standards.

Regardless, I’m going to try to make it all happen.  Wish me luck!

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All Photographs Copyright © Jacqueline E. Smith 2014

Small World

I often find that when I try to be deep and philosophical, I start out with good intentions, but then I end up nonchalant, careless, and, to be quite honest, eager to get done.  Something that comes with being a writer is passion, and to write passionately, you have to feel passionately.  I’ve got to tell you, it can be exhausting trying to put your most emotional thoughts and feelings into words.  You want so much to convey what you are feeling, because you feel that if you do, then your readers will somehow begin to feel the way you do.

This isn’t really going to be one of those posts.  I’m not even sure how that paragraph evolved to be honest.  Yeah, what I’ve been thinking about recently is sort of deep, but it’s nothing like I’m-going-to-crawl-into-the-street-drop-to-my-knees-and-invoke-the-Heavens passion.

It all started the other day when I overheard the familiar phrase, “Oh, what a small world!”

Of course, we use that phrase to make note of shared acquaintances, coincidences, and similar ideas and experiences.  However, it got me thinking about the notion of a “small world.”

Naturally, one of the first things to come to mind when you hear the phrase “small world” is the Disney ride.  It’s actually one of the few attractions I did not get to experience.  But of course, we all know the song.

I understand the point that the lyricist is trying to make.  It means even though we all live different places and we all have different lives, we are all part of the same world, we are all family members in the human race, we are all the same.  Speaking in a matter of humanity, it’s true.  We are more alike than we are different.  We all deserve to be valued as equals and treated with respect.  Location doesn’t matter.

However, I also believe that when we say the world is small, we are inadvertently limiting ourselves and our perception of what’s going on around us.  When I was younger, I was so aware of how many new and exciting things were waiting for me out in the world.  I thought all the time about everything I wanted to do and see and experience.  As I’ve gotten older and more aware of the world around me, however, I’ve begun to suspect that life and experience tends to have the opposite effect.  There are times that, because of everything going on around me, I find my point of view narrowing considerably.  Whenever I become aware of this, I go back to songs and memories I loved as a child, trying my hardest to hold on to that sense of awe and excitement, but it can be difficult at times.

Just the other day, I found myself disappointed over something very small and trivial.  I sat around moping, drank a glass of wine, and just felt sorry for myself.  The next morning, I was still a little down.  However, on my way to work, I listened to a song that reminded me of the path that I’m on, namely my books and my ultimate goal, and I realized that that little disappointment was nothing.  It didn’t effect my longterm goals in the slightest.  I know what I want out of life, and I can’t let anything stop me from going after it.

It’s so easy to get distracted, to let the little things get you down.  It’s easy to be seduced by everything society tells you you need in order to be happy.  It’s easy to compare yourself to everyone around you and feel like a failure or a loser.  I know.  It happens to me all the time.  It’s times like that when I need reminding that the world is so much bigger than my piddly little problems.  

I think our problem as a society is that we have become so absorbed in our own little worlds that we forget what else is out there.  We become blind to possibility, to learning, to experiencing.  I love how it feels to get out of my own mind, to go beyond my own world, and to experience someone else’s.  It’s something I need to do more often.  I’m trapped in my own mind 24 hours a day, and let me tell you, it’s hectic in here.

I’m not sure if this post has made any sense at all.  I try to be articulate and eloquent and all that good stuff, but it is very likely that I just come across and rambly and crazy.  Oh well.  It wouldn’t be the first time.

As for Cemetery Tours, it sold very well in this first week!  I’m so thrilled!  I had, of course, hoped it would do well, but I’m not sure I was expecting this!