Wednesday, May 23, 2018

What happens to 'unfinished business'?

What have I been thinking? For years I have babbled about ‘Becoming’—- telling myself that I can become something more and better than I am, even in October and November. I have tried to make that sound like a noble pursuit, a goal worth striving for. Yet there are times when it doesn’t feel so ‘noble’ at all. Sometimes ‘late-life’ and ‘old age’ seems like a good time to just settle back and coast to the finish line.

I know how it is, those moments when I feel used up, when the tank is nearly empty and I have nothing more to give. Yet thankfully, in my calmer moments, those dark thoughts will pass, leaving me to hope for ways to stay involved in life—-reasons to get up every morning. 

Truth is, all of us October/November folks encounter those existential speed bumps from time to time. Still, most of us find reasons to keep going, each in our own way. It is a very individual thing—-the path we follow, the ways we invest our late-life energy. Seems to me that any hobby, project, or interest that holds our attention and keeps us involved can be a ‘Becoming’ vehicle.

Still, at this stage of the game the notion of undertaking some ambitious new project that leads who-knows-where—-just to prove I still have ‘it’ (Which I probably don’t.)-—is a bit intimidating. Roma keeps reminding me I am no longer the high-energy pup I like to think I once was. I tire more easily these days. My concentration seems to wane by mid-afternoon. All in all, it is hard to get excited about a long-term, highly-detailed project that might require my full attention for weeks or even months.

What then does it look like—an October/November-appropriate form of ‘Becoming’? Well, I won’t speak for you, but I know that for me taking on some grandiose new project that will require all I have to give, and more, is probably not a good idea. To try something like that and come up short might be more discouraging than not trying at all. So where do I turn. I want to believe that I can be more than I am now—-but how?

Allow me to offer what I accept as an age-appropriate possibility. It took a while to stumble onto this approach, but it seems to work for me. You see, over the last few months I have decided to focus my efforts in a new and different direction——taking the time to complete some of the projects I had left semi-finished in the course of my twenty-year retirement.

That’s right, I have returned to what I call ‘unfinished business.’ In fact, once I settled on that sort of ‘Becoming,’ and began to consider all the possibilities that littered the path behind me—-projects I had taken on, then set aside before they were fully complete—-I was quite amazed at how much ‘unfinished business’ I had left in my wake. In my case most of those unfinished projects were stories that I had been willing to call complete, when in fact they were not. Rather than taking the time to do the grunt work required to finish the job, I had been more interested in hurrying on to the next story idea..
That does not mean I am committed to completing every project I have ever started. Some of those unfinished turkeys should never have seen the light of day in the first place. There is no reason to keep dragging them behind me like excess baggage. Perhaps you would agree that October / November readers don’t need another ‘Geriatric Vampire Sex Addict’ story. I just need to let that one go. (If you think you might miss it, you have more problems than I thought.)
There you have it---today’s October/November hint. Rather than hoping to  ‘Become’ more by pursuing some new and daunting dream, why not consider the possibility of returning to your own personal ‘unfinished business’ to resurrect one or more of the good intentions you allowed to get sidetracked before it was complete? 

The process itself is not so hard. It begins by enlisting the secret weapon every one of us possesses----our Imagination? No matter how tired or uninspired you are, your imagination is always alive and well, ready to go to work on your behalf. Best of all, it works just fine from the comfort of your easy chair. 

Why not return to some piece of your own unfinished business and give it a try. Grab hold of some idea that once captured your attention, before you left it behind for an even ‘better’ possibility. Turn your imagination loose on that unfinished business and see where it takes you. 

They say that examples help make a point. With your indulgence I will offer a bit of my own ‘unfinished business,’ and where it has led me. 

For more than a decade I hurried from one book to the next, self-publishing the results before they were fully ready to go public. I knew they were not as smooth and polished as they could be. There were ‘details’ I had left unfinished. The experts stress things like proof reading, cover design, and an upgraded Amazon sales page. But at the time I was happy enough with the stories the way they were. They were the stories I wanted to tell, told the way I wanted to tell them. Besides, there was always another new tale waiting to be told. So why sweat the details?

Long story short---since January I have taken the time to return to each of those books, nineteen in all—-rereading and editing each of them, creating new cover designs, and completely revamping its Amazon sales page. After four months spent dealing with that ‘unfinished business’ I am shamelessly pleased and proud of the resulting products. 
In my slightly biased eyes each of those books is finally finished. I invite you, heck I urge you, to check out the resulting Amazon Author’s Pages. (Just click ‘Here.) And while you are there take a moment to scroll through both pages and the roster of nineteen books. Clicking on any of the titles will provide additional details about that story. Who knows, you may find someone like yourself  in one of those stories.
Finally, in the course of my own ‘unfinished business’ inventory I have come across other possibilities that I hope will extend my ‘Becoming’ journey. Based on my own experience I highly recommend that you consider reviewing your own ‘unfinished business.’ You might be surprised at the opportunities for late-life ‘Becoming’ you’ll find waiting there.