Happy New Year everyone. I hope this finds you raring to go into a new year of reading. For me, it has been a busy holiday season. December kicked off with the release of my first novel, Forsaken. I wrote about it here last month. It was exciting to finally have my own work out there in the vast world of lesbian fiction. Reality hit home when I realized I had not one, but two deadlines fast approaching as we neared the spin cycle of the year’s end. My second novel, Bitter Root, coming your way this summer, was back to me for the first round of edits, and the first draft of Buried Heart was due to my publisher.
Now I’ve been known to function well under pressure, but that was a bit much for anyone. With hang-dog expression and wringing of hands, I went to my publisher and asked for an extension. I was pleasantly surprised to be granted a nice four month extension on the first draft, yay! This meant I didn’t have to spend every minute at the computer, and was able to really enjoy family time during the holidays.
Our family gathering was smaller than usual for Christmas, but was so much fun. We had our traditional night before dinner of shrimp creole, ham and all the fixings. The grands, both niece and nephew were as cute as could be dressed as elves, handing out gifts. Watching with a smile so big it hurt, it dawned on me that I was now part of the senior generation in my uberfam. This is what I mean, I spent my entire life as “one of the little kids”. We self-divided our sibling herd into bigs and littles at some point. Being third from the end meant the label never disappeared. This was a great asset in helping me live young. My place had always been with my brothers’ and sisters’ children, where I got to be one of the oldest.
Now I looked around at the three brothers and two sisters who were at the festivities and realized they weren’t just the big kids, they were the oldsters. They were, for the most part white haired and frail. They had turned into old aunts and uncles. The shock was palpable. The nieces and nephews I used to run around with were the parents of teenagers and the babies I took care of were parents of babies. Ouch. It happened so suddenly, by my reckoning. I’m still a kid, in my mind. Where did my brothers and sisters go, and who are those old people?
Then I looked at my wife, smiling and laughing at the antics of the kids and I realized that it’s not how old the body is, it’s the age of the spirit and the youth of the heart that matter. Staying young isn’t so much about the body as the mind. My dad, who left us in 2011 at age 87, was never old. His heart was young, his spirit, undaunted by time. He left us a great blueprint to a happy life. Just feel. Live a lot, laugh a lot, love a lot. And that’s what I’m doing. Have a great 2016 and keep on reading. It keeps you young.