Recently, the notion that we’re reaching the end of the decade has been popping up all over my newsfeed, together with the invitation to reflect on what we have achieved during those ten years…
I don’t like the word achieved. There’s a certain amount of pressure riding on the meaning. Who defines what counts as an achievement? And if I didn’t achieve enough according to whoever’s definition, am I a failure? Either way, I thought I might still look back, recollect, maybe dwell a bit on all the things that happened. There were some really awesome things among them. Maybe even an achievement or two.
Here we go, in not much of a particular order.
- Had a fun pregnancy, with drama doctors who sent me, as we say in German, from Pontius to Pilate panicking over kiddo’s size and weight and insisting I needed a C-section because such a weak, tiny child would never survive a natural birth, completely discarding the less than weak way she was kicking around inside me, or the fact that low birth weights are normal in our family. In the end I cancelled all the extra ultrasounds but accepted the C-section. Side note: C-sections make for a very interesting experience when the anesthetics don’t work. I spent a good part of that surgery hallucinating, and missed my daughter’s birth. She turned up half a kilo heavier than expected and perfectly fine, proving all the crappy measuring wrong, which was how I completely lost patience with everybody and released myself and her early from the hospital.
- Finished writing the book my brain had been toying around with ever since something like 1991. Sent it to the one German publisher I would have liked to be published with. Got rejected. I still have the letter somewhere.
- Thought I might do the Cambridge Advanced Exam, did a prep course, got told to try the Proficiency Exam instead, did that, somehow managed an A.
- Realized writing might be more fun in English. Went and translated my book, rewrote it once again in the process. Joined an international author community, expected to be ridiculed and torn apart, got accepted instead. Learned a lot, made wonderful friends, polished the book up and published it myself.
- Got a dog.
- Lost a cat and promised myself to never, ever get another. Got two about half a year later. Did a drawing of one of them and am almost proud of it.
- Experienced what it feels like to want to get into your car in the morning only it’s not there anymore because someone came around at some point during the night and stole it. Got a new car. Still pissed off, because some of my favorite tapes were in the glove compartment.
- Experienced what it feels like when the emergency light starts flashing on your dashboard and the car suddenly slows while you’re doing 130km/h on the highway. Twice.
- Saw both kids off first to nursery, then to elementary school. Saw one of them move on to secondary school.
- Wrote and published another ten books, and three themed anthologies together with other authors. Book #11 is already written, but probably won’t see the light in this decade anymore. I’m waiting for the beta readers to get back to me, and then there’ll be another round of editing or two, or thirteen, but at least the cover is as good as done, the dreaded blurb aside.
- Got a niece.
- Tried to make it as an English teacher. Found that I was horrible at it, because I can only explain stuff to people whose brains apply the same off-kilter logic as mine, and I have no patience at all.
- Started working as a translator.
- Met my heart sister and soulmate, who takes me travelling whenever the two of us need a break.
- Went and visited in real life some of the author folks I met on the internet. Found them to be great friends and awesome people I wish lived a lot closer.
- Decided to stay in Germany at least as long as the kids go to school here. Don’t want them to have to leave all their friends behind.
- Flew a helicopter.
- Got a tattoo.
- Aged ten years. Turned 42. Have all the answers now. Not.
There’s a good chance I forgot something, or someone, really important…
Anyway, all in all, I guess it was a pretty awesome decade, so here’s to the next. May it be good to you.