What now? It’s the question I ask myself increasingly… and not because the new year if fast approaching. It’s the same thing I wonder every year as I reflect on another year of life.
I’ve always had a plan; one I’d often write down and take a look at year after year, hoping I’d cross enough things off my list that I’d feel I’d accomplished enough to feel satisfied with the previous year. Yet, I find it more difficult to feel pleased with my station in life, my achievements and even my relationships. I suppose that’s because unlike a carefree twenty something, I am middle aged. It struck me the other day that I’d reached the mid-point in my life. It’s half over and I still believe there’s so much to be done. And, those tasks are harder to complete.
I don’t feel old every day, unless I suffer an aches or a pain that I hadn’t previously. Sure, the gray hairs on my head should also be a huge clue that I am getting old. Honestly, I don’t pay that or the changes in my body very much attention. Overall, I’m pleased with my outward appearance. My spirit could use some work.
On an ordinary day I function the same as always. I walk a mile and a quarter to the train the morning, I work a nine hour day, make the commute home, make dinner, and then stay up working on stories, errands and whatever else needs to get done. Despite my chronic illness, I am usually able to decide on my own when to go to bed and when to rise in the morning.
It’s my mental decline I notice the most. I take rejection more personally when it comes to my so-called friends; their absence is noticed every day when my phone doesn’t ring, my email doesn’t bing, and my Facebook posts don’t get a lot of like checkmarks.
I ponder more often if I’ll ever have a child of my own. Even though I’m aware doctors told it might never be possible, I still watch the clock, chart my periods and hope every month they’re wrong. I spend money and time at the fertility clinic hoping modern medicine can give God a boost. But, with every passing birthday, I know the odds are not in my favor.
I feel more disappointment when I check my sales online for my memoir, Misdiagnosed: The Search for Dr. House and find that the story I believe I was compelled to tell isn’t resonating with a large audience; it isn’t making a difference the way I thought. The failure of its success evokes fears that I’ve mistaken believed in my talent and have nothing to contribute to the world.
Of course, I write for a living at work. I like to say my days are filled with death, destruction and mayhem. I profit off the misery of others. And, while I’m glad that I get paid to do what I love which is to write, I hate the former statement is true. The only trouble is this is all I know how to do, sometimes want to do.
Trust me, I’m not complaining about my life. I’m grateful for every day above ground, for my ability to walk, talk, eat, see and hear. I’m appreciative of the love I’ve had, the stories I’ve told and the job I get to do each day. I just realize I need a new plan for my future. One that will allow me to be happy with all that I have and all that I am, rather than focusing on what’s missing; one that will allow me to create new attainable dreams.
So, what’s next for me? Forging forward, rewriting my list and looking ahead to four plus more decades of life.
About the Author:
Nika C. Beamon attended Boston College in Massachusetts. Beamon published her first memoir, Misdiagnosed: The Search for Dr. House in 2014. In 2009, Chicago Review Press published her well-received non-fiction book: I Didn’t Work This Hard Just to Get Married: Successful, Single Black Women Speak Out. In 2000, she published her first mystery novel, Dark Recesses. In 2002, her second mystery novel, Eyewitness was released.