Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Let's Hear It For October Boldness

Do you ever wish that your October Years came with a crystal ball. If you’re like me, by this stage of the game your time and energy are a bit limited. It would help if you could see around the next corner of your life-path---to have a better idea of what to expect and how to prepare for it. Alas, like every other time of life, October does not provide that kind of foresight. 

There are times, of course, when each of us indulges in our own form of looking around that next corner. How often have you said with conviction that “I am definitely going to do this or that” or “I’ll never do this or that again”? Were you intending to predict the future? Probably not, though you may have wanted it to sound that way. In the end, however, it is the choices we make, along with a host of circumstances we may or may not control, that will shape our future. 
Perhaps you know someone who is weighed down by October realities, who seems to have given up on the future. Maybe you have been in that space yourself---where what you can’t see has already defeated you. What could be sadder than the person who decides that a productive change of course, at this late date, is simply not worth the effort? Seems to me that using our October status as a reason to cease “becoming” is to sell ourselves short.

Months ago I mentioned in these pages that I planned to call my next novel October Bold. Now, having completed the first draft, I find that name still fits. It's a simple tale of a sixty-something couple---each of them still dealing with the loss of a spouse, while realizing that a new relationship will require a change of course and attitude. 

The necessary changes will require a dose of October Boldness. After all, the questions they face are daunting and decades removed from the last time they were asked. To be sure, the October Boldness I advocate is not a matter of daring adventure or great physical risk, but rather the risk of hurt feelings, embarrassment, or head shaking snickers. It is a willingness to venture beyond one’s comfort zone, and learning that a sometimes fragile ego can deal with those insults and injuries. 

More to the point, October Boldness is a frame of mind---a conscious decision, no matter how timid, to act in the face of all the reasons we have created for not acting. It’s about taking chances. After everything we’ve gone through to reach October, haven’t we earned the right to be bold---in an October sort of way?

Perhaps someone will buy my books. Maybe they won’t. My blog may be read---or not. Either way, October Boldness allows me the opportunity to be true to myself. As a storyteller I create change in the lives of the characters I imagine into being---leading them toward a hopefully more desirable future as they adapt to the never-ending change we call life. Just like those stories, life ought to be lived with the future in mind.

It’s what I call ‘becoming’---the process of moving toward a future that is always changing. It may be good, or bad. But there will be change. No one stays the same. Yet, while there is no avoiding that reality, we can influence those changes. An important part of our October reality is the small voice in our head urging us to become the person we are meant to be.

So why not scrape off the limiting barnacles, the ones that hold you back, and be more open to taking those chances? Who cares if you end up looking silly or out of place? If you’re like me, you’ve been there before. To hold back or hesitate because of what someone else may say or think about our feeble efforts strikes me as a cowardly and very unbold reason for not acting.

Finally I pray that you can be bold in your own October way. If there is something you want to try or do, and nothing more than your own timidity is holding you back---then give it a try. What are you waiting for? Will it be easier next year?

As always, if you’re so inclined I’d appreciate your comments. Beyond that, if there are folks with whom you’d like to share this October Years post I hope you’ll pass it on. It’s an easy thing to do. Just click on the “M” at the bottom of the page to email the post to any address you choose.