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November 30, 2008 @ 5:25 pm

Because. I. Can.

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This is one of my 2008 posts from when Life Is Change began on wordpress.com. (See About Me for more information.) I wrote it two months before finding out I have ADD. I didn’t yet understand the reasons for a lot of my difficulties. This was a big turning point for me, regardless.

I never did go back to school for Medical Transcription. A lot of things changed for me in my personal life in 2009 and since, and my work life went in a different direction.

nano17Finishing NaNoWriMo with over 50,000 words this year was about so much more than writing 50,000 words.

Looking back at the numbers from past years, I see that after the first two years, the percentage of NaNo participants who actually crossed the 50K finish line ranges from 14% to 17%. It’s an accomplisment to be proud of, in itself.

But this was about teaching myself that I am capable of deciding to do something and doing it.  I know, that sounds simple, doesn’t it? But for years, thirty-plus years, in fact, I have had a resistence to success. Some people have a fear of failure. Not succeeding is not an option. For me, it’s been the opposite. I’ve worked hard to strive for mediocrity. I’m not completely clear on why. Not wanting to invite a lot of attention to myself, maybe? I’m not sure. I only recently started to admit it out loud.

The last success I had was quitting smoking twelve years ago. Before that, it was probably losing a good deal of weight (though not all I set out to lose) when I was 17 (and then I gained it back, and then some, for reasons I might write about some other time. Maybe.) Other than that, I’ve pretty much avoided doing very much I could be really proud of.

I’ve managed to stick with some things over time. I’ve been at my job for over 11 years, for instance, but I don’t earn enough money to properly cover my bills and expenses. I’m always scrambling to stay afloat and having to forego eating healthy most weeks because there’s nothing left for groceries. I’ve beaten myself up for not staying in college so I could be earning more money now, and I’ve held onto the dream of someday becoming a published novelist and supporting myself with my novels, but have continued to never finish a novel.

Beating myself up for not succeeding, while continuing to avoid succeeding.

Recently, in therapy, the topic of my going back to school came up. No, no, of course I wasn’t the one who brought it up; it had never occurred to me. Not since about six years ago, when I was going to go to school for web design and chickened out after registering, and then spent the years since then believing it just wasn’t an option for me. But my therapist asked me, if I were going to go back to school and go into some other kind of work, what I would want to do. I suddenly remembered having thought, years ago, that I might like to do medical transcription. I’ve always had decent spelling skills and discovered a possible aptitude for medical terminology years ago, when I worked part-time for an answering service and could almost always spell the nano_08_winner_largemedical terms in the doctors’ messages without stopping to look them up. It’s a job I potentially could do at home, and according to the information on the community college web site, I could earn between six and ten thousand dollars more a year than I do now.

So I decided to do it. It’ll take me between two and three years (probably closer to three years) going part-time, and I’m scared shitless, but I’m going to do it. Three years from now, my life will be better for it. I’ll be making enough money to survive and, if all goes according to plan, I’ll have finished one or two novels and be in the habit of completing what I start. I can still pursue the goal of publishing, but it should be because I love to write and not because I have attached all my hopes of being financially independent onto it.

This year, I decided to make winning NaNoWriMo be about taking that first step in teaching myself I can succeed after all. For the first time in a long, long time,  I have experienced how it feels to set out to do something and then actually do it, and you know what? I like it.

Many thanks to Violet Hill for sharing her NaNo icons.

15 Comments

  1. Comment by mullygrub:

    I had so many reactions to your post and empathised with it on a few levels. 50,000 words is a fair achievement by anyone’s standards so congratulaions. Congratulations in having the courage to take a step forward and good luck in making it a success.

  2. Comment by RB:

    Woo-hoo! You rock! 🙂

  3. Comment by birdonthewire2008:

    I am very proud to “know you”… on many counts! Congrats on all of the good stuff!

  4. Comment by thejinx:

    Congratulations! And I completely understand how you feel. I’ve had something of a fear of success as well, and I think it’s wonderful that you’re starting to learn you can get past it. Good luck in your further writing pursuits and in school. Just believe in yourself.

  5. Comment by bloggingexperiments:

    Congrats on your NaNo WIN!!! It is an amazing accomplishment…be proud, be ecstatic, get a good night’s sleep!

  6. Comment by hystericalfemale:

    Congratulations on your NaNo win Tamp, I think it’s amazing! And well done on signing up for the college course.

  7. Comment by davidrochester:

    Oh, this is so exciting. NaNo does amazing things for people, and you’re living proof of that. I am delighted for you, and although this may sound odd coming from a total stranger, I’m proud of you.

  8. Comment by lifeischange:

    Thank you, everyone, for your comments! It really means a lot to me. 🙂

  9. Comment by woundeddeer:

    Hooray Tamp!

    I can relate to the fear of success, but you’ve already thrashed some of that fear soundly!

    I started school in the Fall.(I never went to college and I have wore out the back of my pants kicking myself over it) I was very apprehensive about returning, but man I LOVE it now.

    So you go girl! Bask in some well deserved pride and self-love 🙂

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