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Who or What Inspires You?

January 7, 2023

Another Way for week of December 30, 2022

Who or What Inspires You?

At year’s end, we look ahead, right? We’ve got to explore the hope and joy that may fill the New Year, especially after the last couple years we’ve had. Yes, sure, there will be trauma and drama in the year ahead but let’s leave our imaginations soar for a few minutes.

What do you envision for your year ahead?

A lot depends on your age, your health, your family, for sure. If you are blessed with working a job (or cursed if it’s a job you hate), your life certainly revolves around the demands of getting up every day and driving off (or secluding yourself) in a home workplace. The title of my recent book, Memoir of an Unimagined Career may sound like the opposite of this theme “imagine” but looking back, I can see how as a teenager I began to imagine bit by bit what I could maybe work at: a job that involved writing, which was one of my loves.

Back in the day when an electric typewriter reigned.

A lot of us who still read daily newspapers—especially in the newsprint format, are retired. So we get more choice in how we spend our days than driving off to work at 7:30 a.m. or, like my husband had to do for a number of years, leaving around 4 a.m. to make it to his 5 a.m. job.

One of the opportunities on my job for almost thirty years was writing a newspaper column as a very small part of my work on my employer’s dime. Then in 2016, my wonderful boss, a woman, asked me to take on the role of managing editor for the publishing arm, and that would mean not writing my column on company time. So that’s when I spun off to “syndicating” my own column. It has worked out well. So although I don’t have to go to “work,” I’m happy to continue writing.

Some of my 1820 newspaper columns from 35 years. I tried not to do re-runs and estimate I’ve only repeated columns 8-10 times. I did use guest writers from time to time.

They say that the happiest people in retirement are ones who have hobbies, or volunteer, or have side gigs that keep them energized and involved. Probably the happiest people are ones who have learned all along the way that what you do or become in life is something you are responsible for. Succumbing to boredom, drugs and chaos brings discord and pain. In some ways, we make our own destiny, although many have illnesses, disabilities, or mental challenges that affect our journeys greatly. We marvel and take our hats off to those who’ve dealt with loss of limbs or paralysis and persevere in having a happy life. We salute the service men and women who experienced lifelong sacrifices from disability or illness.

I’ve had the opportunity to twice interview a local man Josh Sundquist, who lost his entire leg to cancer at the age of nine. Eventually he became a motivational speaker, a skilled writer/author, a comedian at clubs and on YouTube, and is now married and lives in southern California. Recently he became the director and producer of an Apple TV video series “Best Foot Forward.” It features another amputee who lost his leg at the age of nine, and explores what kid encounters with this huge loss of a major limb, at school and out in the world where stares and prying questions are commonplace. 

I personally cannot imagine living with one leg, and pursuing such a career as Josh has. He in turn—and the young real-life boy who only has one leg as well—are giving us all a bigger idea of how we can live with the trials that face us.

Who inspires you? What do you want to do in this precious year—perhaps find a new skill, hobby, or pastime? The year is yours!

***

So …. I’d love to hear your stories.

Or a fav story about someone else, if you have permission to share or change the name.

Or, what do you want to do in this precious year?

Comment here or contact me at Another Way, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834, or email at anotherwaymedia@yahoo.com.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of ten books, most recently Memoir of an Unimagined Career. Another Way columns are posted at FindingHarmonyBlog.com a week after newspaper publication.  

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3 Comments
  1. As I read your post, I thought of the idea that when you sustain trauma (or perhaps a near-death experience) your life passes before you eyes. It occurs to me that authors, especially memoirists, experience life twice, seeing and evaluating the vast sweep of decades as you did in Memoir of an Unimagined Career. Brava!

    I did not know Josh Sundquist’s story, a clear illustration of turning lemons into lemonade. Thanks for that.

    You are well aware that I’m pushing for my memoir #2 to be published in 2023, so I’m very much looking forward to having this book finished and done with, but then there’s marketing too. (Sigh!) I also adopted my word for the year, Breakthrough, which I’ll elaborate on in another blog post.

    Best wishes and good health for the new year, including Stewart’s complete recovery.

    • I always say that writing about things I’ve experienced helps me process those things: like my year in Appalachia, the book I wrote from that helped me put into place what that meant for me, for those I worked with, for my future. Just one example of how the gift of being able to put things into written word is something we can treasure, Marian. Your example in your forthcoming book of how you and Cliff have worked through your problems or issues … will bring new understanding to others about their relationships, we hope!

      Thanks for your faithful commenting, and being my friend! Thanks for “recovery cheerleading” for Stuart! 🙂

  2. Right now, Cliff and I are side by side, he with InDesign script on the computer and me with 353 printed pages of another round of edits. If we survive this, I believe it’s safe to assume our marriage will also survive. Ha! Ha!

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