We all come with baggage. It starts collecting from the moment we are conceived and doesn’t end until the day we die. It’s what we do with that baggage that builds our character, the ever-changing person we become.
We are born with a coin purse full of the beginning events that shape us both physically and mentally: perhaps mom smoked while pregnant, or had a few too many glasses of wine. She may have been in a car accident or had health problems that risked our own well-being when we were at our most vulnerable. There’s our very DNA, the building blocks that not only determine what we look like, but whether or not we will one day fall victim to certain diseases.
As we get older there are the teachers who inspire us and the athletic coaches who terrorize us…or, for some, it’s the other way around. There are best friends and neighborhood bullies. We earn recognition for our accomplishments, are given raises and promotions, awards. We are laid off, or just plain fired, from a job we loved, or perhaps forced to stay in a job we hate. There are injuries, illnesses, and deaths.
Events totally out of our control will change the way we perceive our world, our safety. There are hurricanes, tornados, fires, droughts, and wars. Who wasn’t affected by the events of September 11th? Everything we do now, all the precautions, the long lines at the airport and the travel warnings, perhaps even the way we look at others around us, goes back to that horrible day.
We get married, have children, and maybe end up divorced. Or we might never find that right person and remain single all our lives. There are many couples who desperately want children but find they can’t conceive, and children who desperately want “forever” parents but grow up without.
We all come with baggage, both good and bad. We start with that little coin purse and we end with a trunk-full. What do you do with all those experiences? Do you focus on the horrible, the unfair, until your trunk becomes so heavy you are completely weighed down by it? Or do you push aside the bad and focus on the good so that your trunk goes almost unnoticed? I’d argue most of us fall somewhere in-between, and it depends on the day. Some days it feels like you just can’t win and others you’re on top of the world.
I had one of those extra good days recently. The final judging results for WisRWA’s 2016 FabFive competition were announced and my book Mary Bishop ended in fourth place in the historical category out of twenty two initial entries. I will hear soon whether either of the final judges, an editor and an agent in the historical romance industry, want to read more, but even if they don’t, in my mind it’s still a win.