Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge Day Two #HAWMC

Day two of the WEGO Health Activist Writer’s Month which I have signed up for – a month dedicated to the art of writing about health. 

I am thrilled that two of my favorite writers, Jan Hasak and Yvonne Watterson, have signed up for this challenge after reading my post yesterday. If you’d like to join us, check out more details in the link at the end of this post.

Day Two and I am really up for today’s writing challenge. It fits in nicely with my usual Monday Motivation theme and even better is titled “Quotation Inspiration” – perfect for a quotation junkie like me.  My challenge today is to find a quote that inspires me and free write about it for 15 minutes.

There are so many quotes I could choose from, but then I came across this one by Oscar Wilde and knew it was just what I should write about today.

One’s real life is often the life that one does not lead.

Isn’t it true for so many of us? Do you ever get the feeling that there is another you out there, another life that you should be leading? The life in which all your talents, your values, your heart and soul are aligned to your true purpose.

Your real life is where your heart wants to lead you. We get a glimpse of it in our dreams – not our night time dreams, but those waking daydreams we allow ourselves from time to time.  Often it is a dream from childhood. What did you dream about becoming when you grew up? Who did you want to be?

When I was a little girl, I dreamed of being a writer. I aspired to be Jo March from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women – one of my favorite girlhood books (along with LM Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables). She was a writer, a lover of literature, she was strong-minded, she was unconventional, she was creative, she was feisty and at a time in history when women’s options were limited, she represented the possibility of another kind of life. So, like Jo, I wrote stories for my younger brother and sister, I read constantly and I dreamed of being a writer (unlike Jo, I always planned to marry).

Yes,  I set myself firmly on track to my real life when I was a little girl.  Except, somehow I came off that track at some point. My confidence in my writing abilities was shaken when I left school and went to university. I felt surrounded by so many better writers and thinkers than I was and set myself too high a standard which I couldn’t possibly reach. I decided if I couldn’t live up to this standard, I couldn’t be a writer. I abandoned plans for a postgraduate journalism course, started working in an office and buried my creativity for many years.  I stopped living my real life.

The key to unlocking that creativity and finding myself back on track again came with my breast cancer diagnosis. During the time I was off work for treatment, I fully embraced the opportunity to explore and give full reign to my creativity again. I started writing once more. I wrote from my heart; I wrote for me and not to reach some ideal standard. I rediscovered my love for writing and found myself taking the first steps to leading an authentic life.

I still have moments of doubt, especially after reading another great post when preparing the weekly round up (such talented writers in the blogosphere!) but as I have grown older, I am learning not to compare myself so much. We all have our own styles of expressing ourselves – the most important thing is that it comes from an authentic place.

It wasn’t a straight track back to leading my real life.  I struggled hugely having to return to my regular job, where my creativity was stifled. I felt so conflicted – I knew I wasn’t living my real life, but mortgage and bill demands meant I felt I had no choice. This time, however, I didn’t give up on my dreams. I started Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer, to keep my writing dream alive, and 3 years later, I am closer to living my real life.  Together, with fellow blogging enthusiast, Lorna Sixsmith, I now run Write On Track, a blog coaching and copywriting service, and am a trainer on social media courses. I regularly give presentations on blogging and social media throughout the country and internationally. I tell you all this to let you know that it is never too late to start living the life you were meant to live.

One last thought before I finish….

As a child I was really disappointed that Jo didn’t marry handsome, rich Laurie  and was at a loss to understand why she fell in love with  Mr Bhaer, the much older (at 40 he was ancient in my mind), badly-dressed, unromantic academic. Well reader, I too ended up marrying my very own Mr Bhaer – an older than me, sartorially challenged, academic.. and just like my heroine Jo, he is the perfect life partner for me. And therein lies another lesson for today – sometimes you are leading the life you are meant to live, you just haven’t realized it yet. Sometimes all it takes is a little patience, determination and some creative thinking to bring you closer to to the life you were meant to lead.

Thoughts on Today’s Challenge

I already suspect that today’s challenge shall be my favorite. I loved writing it and discovering that I am closer to leading my real life than even I realized. How about you? Are you living an authentic life?  What small step could you take today to get closer to your real life? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Would you like to join me in the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge (HAWMC)?
It’s not too late to join in the challenge!