Someone once told me that to find true happiness I needed to be with people who shared my interests. I never really thought much about it until I decided to start writing after an unintentional hiatus that lasted 15 years.
Life often gets in the way of finding our joy. I spent those years taking care of my family and earning a living. I took more responsibility than I ever imaged possible when I married my husband and became a step-mom. We worked different shifts, so only one of us was home at a time.
I had to make dinner, ensure homework was done, supervise baths, clean the house, wash the dishes, do the laundry, lay out clothes for the next day, and finally read bedtime stories. All of this was done every day after I worked 8 hours at my full-time job. There simply wasn’t enough time for me to do the things that I enjoyed. This was my routine for many years.
An unexpected blessing occurred when my job downsized me. They were cutting costs and reduced my position to 20 hours per week. Of course, I couldn’t afford to work there anymore. However, the shock of this decision on the part of my bosses really made me evaluate what was important to me. I had really felt like a key employee. I was planning to retire from that company. It was a rude awakening to discover that I was completely dispensable.
I found another job without a problem. I enjoyed helping to better people’s lives, and the company benefits were great. While I was somewhat fulfilled, I still felt that something was missing. A yearning had awakened inside me. I need a job to live, but I needed to pursue my passion to be truly happy. So, I started writing again. It felt really good to be writing from my heart after so long. Something was still missing, though.
Those words that my friend had spoken so long ago came back to me, “Find people who share your interests.” My sister and I have always shared the love of a good story, and she had joined the local writers’ group the year before. I called her and asked her to take me to the next meeting with her. I was terrified when I walked into that crowded meeting room and looked around. Many of the members had books that they’d recently published in front of them. I took a seat and just listened to everyone. At the end of the meeting, I paid my dues and became a member of the best group I’ve had the pleasure of knowing.
The first time I shared my work with them, they were supportive, but frank with me. They pointed out my weaknesses. Then they told me about various resources such as books and websites that could help me improve. They worked with me. They brought in guest speakers from different areas of expertise who furthered my education.
I have been a member for nearly a decade. My fellow writers have become very important to me. I look forward to our monthly meetings, and always leave feeling refreshed and inspired. My friend was right that day so long ago. Finding people who shared my interests made all the difference.
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