A couple of days ago I received a surprise message through a business app from a former work colleague.
I worked with him for four years. (I believe he was a part time employee at the time). We always had a nice chat when we met up in the lunch room or some other work-related space at that office. Easy banter back and forth during coffee breaks, that sort of thing. The environment I worked in was often frantic and very busy, so having a fun conversation with someone injects a little bit of upbeat energy into an otherwise stressful day, right?
I left that job less than a year after 9/11 so it’s been about twenty years since I’ve seen or talked to him.
He must have been lurking on some of the content I sent out across various apps, including a few I don’t use very often (LinkedIn, for instance). I had recently, since the launch of my book, started to use all my apps more efficiently as a way to share and promote, and LinkedIn was one of the more neglected ones.
I never saw any evidence that he was reading me. He didn’t like or comment on anything I published on the public platforms, which is completely fine. There are probably a lot of people who prefer to read (consume) and not write (create) themselves. It’s alright to be a lurker, is what I’m saying.
But. Something must have touched him enough to cast a line toward me, so to speak. And when he did, his message touched me in complicated ways. Of course I was flattered he was reading (all writers love their readers), but I also felt validation and acceptance. For the past couple of years my dominant sentiments were fear of judgement… 🙄
Side note: the only review I got on my book touched me in a similar way. The man who took the time to write about my story, The Man from the South, left me feeling all warm and fuzzy, and, most importantly, encouraged me to keep on this path of development. I don’t mean just the writing, but all the rest of it too (self-development etc). If you want to see the review, it’s on my pseudonym Smashwords page.
Another thing my work colleague mentioned in his message was that he was impressed with my midlife awakenings, referring specifically to some of the erotic stories I published on various platforms. I shared some on LinkedIn a while ago which is probably how he found me.
He also said being honest and self-expressive can be hard. (Yes, very. I still struggle and it’s been two years.)
He is not the only one who thinks this way. And certainly, I have reached that point as you all know. For two years, since I’ve turned 50, I have rambled on about my mantras. Let me remind you:
If Not Now, When?
Your discomfort does not inhibit my creativity.
I have received personal emails from readers of all walks of life regarding some of the erotic content I published. Some of them have been men, and they often seem to reflect on their own youth, a time when they felt shy or inhibited and as a result less inclined to pursue what they really desired in terms of work and relationships. (I know plenty of women who are the same, including myself, but I receive less emails from females than I do from men for some reason…)
Hindsight is a strange thing, isn’t it. It’s a theme in one of my books, an anthology which I will release at some point in the not too distant future, and continues to run through my mind regularly.
Another thing he mentioned was that he recognized how aging through midlife has changed his perspective somewhat. He feels himself become less inhibited as he gets older, and even remarked that there is nothing wrong in expressing ourselves when the walls are down.
For me, this has been through erotica and similar topics, but also other self-reflective thoughts translated into articles, many of which are blog posts. And, my tarot journey has helped me tap into my intuition, which I wish I had known how to tap into when I was deep in child-raising/house-renovation/financial-debates during my 40s.
The tarot cards with their clever symbols have taught me how to be more intuitive, how to let go of what doesn’t serve me, and also how to do this compassionately and with respect.
I can honestly say I am no longer submerged below the surface. I have emerged like a mermaid in turbulent waters, ready to swim toward new (and calmer) opportunities, fresh perspectives and a new phase in life. After all, if I don’t do this now, when will I do it?
My new project over on Medium is taking shape. Perhaps I will even merge this article over to that platform and use it as a jumping-off point.
When I’m ready to finally submit some content on these and related topics, I will send out invitations to contribute. I will find a way to make this happen even if you don’t have a Medium account. I have no intentions of leaving this blog, and will cross post some related content.
I hope you will join me in reading, commenting and contributing.
As always, thank you for reading this post, and see you in the comments!