A few weekends ago, the kids had some good friends over and being a holiday (though, not one we celebrate in the most popular way), I had promised I wouldn't work too much. I never promise a whole day off because I'm a workaholic and a single mother. I also work at home so my work is readily available, but I digress. An opportunity presented itself to wing it, so I did.
Forming A Brilliant Idea
Because we had nothing better to do, I get this brilliant beyond brilliant idea to take all of my kids, both of our dogs, plus some of their friends and an extra dog to the park. I don't have a vehicle, so of course the plan was to walk on the trail that led us to the intended park. Our nature trails can take us to several parks, depending on which way we choose to go. We chose the largest park and headed that way. Yes, I am insane enough to take a walk with six kids and three dogs with only me as the sole adult. Us single parents know how to work it whatever it may be.
Learning the Many Ways To Wing It
The kids wanted to play on the way, of course. So who was going to walk the dogs? Why me, of course. Yep, winging it because I had never walked the extra dog before, nor had she been walked with our dogs and here I was about to hold all three of their leashes together. Thankfully, it worked out well. They had been introduced briefly a few times and apparently that was enough to satisfy them all. In some situations, you just have to go with the flow and let the chips fall as they may.
The restroom and drinking fountain were closed and of course the kids needed both so we made use of a nearby store for both purposes and went right back to playing. The dogs wanted to run around and the kids wanted to use the playground so I found a spot in the field that was next to the playground so I could run with the dogs while watching the kids.
Life Lessons In Winging It For Everyone
Throughout this walk and park visit, many interesting situations came up where I had to wing it. But that's life. No matter how much you plan things, sometimes you just have to wing it and in the end, you may find out that winging it is the both the best lesson and the best fun you've had in quite a long time. It's quite fine to plan things. You have to have goals. But it's also good to just let it go and let it flow.
All of these scenarios could have been stressful and some may not have gotten involved in the whole thing, to begin with. But I've quickly learned in many experiences that if you have an open mind and are aware of your surroundings (and all the many ways you can use them to your advantage), life can lead to some fun adventures.
Just wing it! Your life is waiting for you!
In the past year or so, I have had many changes going on in my life. So naturally, I've been doing some reflecting and I hope it helps someone else too. I've been hurt in the past many times by many people. That caused me to put up walls in many areas of my life. I wasn't open to changing anything or letting anything new in. I let many good things pass me by because instead of seeing opportunities, I saw chances for getting hurt or disappointed.
Thank goodness I changed that attitude or I wouldn't be where I am now. You have to let people and opportunities in to be able to experience certain things. You have to knock down your walls to see what's right in front of you that you may be blocking. It's OK to let go of your safety net sometimes -- in fact, it can be far more than OK if you are willing to let it be.
Is there a person or opportunity trying to present itself in your life right now? Are you afraid of what will happen if you take the next step? Yes, you might get hurt. But what if it would have been the best thing that ever happened to you and you didn't let it in when you should have?
If you have general good feelings toward something, don't let it go.
Don't be afraid to fall and let something good catch you.
Freelance writing and life in general can be full of surprises. While I advise all writers to always have a plan they can execute, I also recommend being open to change.
You can plan, organize, and prepare for your career all you want. But sometimes, that career (or even another) will take you down another (possibly better suited) path. But that can only happen if you are open to change.
Sometimes life puts you on unexpected journeys - things you didn't plan - that end up being the some of the best things that have ever happened to you.
That's what happened to me. I had all these huge plans for my writing and an idea of the direction I was going in. Even though I was happy with that plan and enjoying what I was doing as a freelance writer, something else pulled me in a related (but different) direction.
Because of my own personal successes, I had become a mentor among my peers. In freelance writing, this can happen quite often, as writers tend to be very supportive in my experience.
It had become a natural thing for me to help other freelance writers at the venue I contributed to the most, Yahoo! Contributor Network. While I was helping people, I didn't always think of that as a potential career. It was just something I enjoyed doing.
But eventually, that's exactly what it turned out to be. For the past couple months, I've been enjoying my new role as Community Advocate at the Yahoo! Contributor Network.
Am I still writing? Of course! I'm a writer. It's what I do. But so is helping people - and now I have a position that allows room for both.
Will I still be running all of my websites? Do you really have to ask? You bet I am. While I won't be taking on the majority of writing assignments requested through my two writing sites, not to worry. Jaipi Sixbear (my talented mother) and several independent writers in my circle of professional friends are available to take on those projects.
While my role has changed, I am still the same me, always eager to help and always writing!
When life throws new things your way, don't be afraid to grab on and take a ride. Don’t run from change. Use it to your advantage. Adapt and grow as writer and as a person. You never know where change will lead you. It took me to a very happy place and I am looking forward to whatever's next. How about you?
UPDATE: 10/19/2016 -- Since YCN closed its doors in July of 2014, I've continued my writing advocacy in other ways, such as through the Write W.A.V.E. Media network (as always)! As I stated above, things are always changing and evolving. You just gotta roll with it!
I won't get too personal here. But those who are close to me know that I have been going through a storm of sorts for a while now. That could be an understatement. But still I have the courage to press on.
My family. My career. My life.
Even when things are not going the greatest in your life, there is always hope for the future. No one knows for sure what will happen in a month, a day, or even in the next second. But one thing is certain. The future will hold both good and bad. I will always embrace the good parts and have the courage to sustain the negative.
As George Custer said: “It's not how many times you get knocked down that count, it's how many times you get back up."
It takes an enormous amount of courage to keep getting up, despite what the world throws at you. But remember that no matter what hurdles are in your path, only you have the power to jump them. Once you do that enough times, you will be a powerful force to reckon with. Use that strength to inspire others and give them the same courage. You will be surprised at the courage your experience can help others find.
If You Believe You Can Do Something, it Will Happen
Ever had so many responsibilities drop into your lap that you're too overwhelmed to do even 1 item on the list? Perhaps you're like me and on top of that happening, you're crazy enough to assign yourself even more.
Don't let the stress get to you. Just believe it and do it!
If anyone knows how well this works, it's me.
On top of the normal mom duties, I had to go and make things harder by throwing homeschooling into the mix. On top of that, I had to throw a full time work-at-home career into the pile. I freelance full time, write for and manage my own network of websites (like this one), and even mentor fellow writers just for fun.
Each of these things has its own free list of tasks. Many (or even most) people would have a heart attack if assigned even half of the tasks I do in a day. But yet, I get it all done, most of the time with a smile on my face.
How? Simply by believing it and doing it.
If you sit around all day stressing over where to begin, whether it will all get done, and come up with all these elaborate plans on how you are going to get it done, guess what? You've wasted all your time on worrying.
Just believe it and do it! Trust me, it works!