Monday, October 27, 2014

When "I wish I could do what you do" works both ways

Earlier today, while I was commenting on a friend’s blog, I paused before adding a link to my website. This particular friend has often shared with me how she has been inspired by my work in getting so many books written then published. As I pondered adding a link to my site just then, I felt a tinge of guilt, as though my including that site would remind her of all those books I’ve been involved with (either authored or co-authored) since they are on that site. I often tell people “it’s not always going to be like this” because that is true. Things change. Life changes. I may have books removed from the market. Or, I may stop writing and publishing books like crazy because I’ve moved on to other things and want to slow down with the writing. (That is actually happening right now – more on that change later!) But the truth is, I’ve done it, it’s there for all to see, and in the meantime people have either commented or grumbled over this accomplishment of mine.

I won’t feel guilty or regret having accomplished my writing goals thus far (well, except for two goals not yet met!), but I do feel bad when people get upset over it when I talk about it. I’m not TRYING to rub it in!

But at the same time, going back to my friend, I look at what SHE has done with her work and I get all wistful, too. If she were to say something like "I wish I could do what you do," then I would say, "Me?? What about YOU??!" My friend is a professional artist but I suck at art. She has sold her art while mine has been the object of many jokes. She has been successfull in managing her finances and keeping to her family budget while I have been stumbling along to do just that – and meanwhile draining my wallet every time I buy groceries! This particular friend has sold enough of her work to have to pay taxes, while with me, it’s not so much. (This year has actually been better in earnings for my writing, but my friend does well with sales Every. Single. Year.) Plus, my friend gets to have visits with family members but I haven't seen my family for years.

So, you see, we each have things about each other that we wish we could do ourselves. My friend wishes she could write so many books and get them published and I wish I had my friend’s financial smarts and sales success. (And being able to draw better wouldn’t hurt, either!)

Thinking on this, I realized that this could be the case with a lot of people. One person might say “I wish I could do what you do” and the other person would say “I wish I could do what YOU do!” 

We each do our own thing. We each have our own skills, our own talents, our own schedules and interests. There’s nothing wrong with trying to be like someone we admire, but I think that when you instead focus on what YOU are good at and what YOU can do, and what YOU want to accomplish in life, you’ll find there’s actually a lot more to take pride in rather than wishing that it was in the form of someone else’s life. Who knows? Someone might notice what you're doing and start commenting how they wish they could do that, too.

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