When the mountain came to the baby boomer

Everyone says they want to write a book, especially, because we now have the time and the lifetime to look back on, baby boomers. Well, L. Donsky-Levine of South Florida has done it. Finally! She thinks of the process this way: When the Mountain Came to Muhammed.

Once you get to a certain age (okay, my 60+ age), everything changes. Not just the predictably obvious reminder that youth’s presence and Elvis have pretty much left the building, but those I’m-going-to-set-the-world-on-fire kind of dreams that once consumed us are now being lavished on our children and our grandchildren because we’re just happy to be alive and ride around on their coattails.

Lauren Levine

Lauren Levine

Yeah, I think it’s pretty safe to say our younger selves were very different creatures. But that’s okay, because as we glide into this next phase of our lives, a greater and richer understanding has taken center stage. One of knowing who we are, what we must ultimately accept, and knowing that the need to prove yourself to the world beyond all its hypocrisy, is now a thing of the past. Hallelujah!

Which now means, the only person you have to worry about is you. And worry I did.

Eight years ago, I took stock of my life. I suddenly found myself feeling irrelevant as though I’d missed the accomplishment boat on so many levels. So I decided it was time to write that book I’d been talking about roughly ever since I hit puberty. Little did I know then that despite previous literary endeavors, honing my craft to a more respectable level would turn into the longest and hardest project of my life— next to motherhood.

Months turned into years. And while I continued to pound away at the keyboard in between working a full-time job and the simple challenge of life happening, the manuscript grew without an end in sight. The whole thing was awful. I was exhausted. I was also torn between a ticking clock and the idea that I might drop dead tomorrow. So I put my still-unfinished albatross aside and began working on something a bit smaller, something more do-able. A story I had floating around in my head for quite some time, about a young woman living in New York City who leads a most unconventional life, yet lives it quite alone. Casting her as both a victim and a survivor of societal issues, my character suddenly and rapidly breathed life.

It took less than two months to complete The Bad Girl. Needless to say, I felt phenomenal.

Lauren trying to move ... part of a mountain.

Lauren trying to move … part of a mountain.

I knew this was a piece I could be proud of. Not just because the cover and content were perfect, but because it came from someplace deep about issues important to me. Issues I feel might be raised every day, but are rarely resolved in short heartbeats. It takes mountains and monumental efforts of time to grasp the big picture. It takes the kind of real talk people are hungry for where they knowingly have to open wounds, have to lift back those band-aids with a sense of readiness as they tread on territory they would prefer not to roam at all. These conversations are necessary. How else do we bring about change? How else do we grow?

I’ve come to believe that not everyone can stand up and be counted. It takes courage. Great courage to live your life out loud where things that feel shallow sink and things that feel true float upon the surface as they give voice to all those inner frailties that makes us human.

Look, all I’m saying is that as we get closer to our number being called, and we’re still upright, let’s “grab the bull by the horns.” And if that happens to involve crusading for the homeless, swimming the Atlantic, opening a cupcake shop, knitting sweaters for Etsy, or simply retiring to the west coast of Florida with all your Jujubes intact, then by all means do it!

Me? I’m writing another book. Hopefully.

© 2016 L. Donsky-Levine

22 Comments

  1. Congratulations on completing your book Lauren and wishing you every success with the distribution and sales of the book. I look forward to reading it. Stay happy and enjoy life.

  2. LOVE IT Lauren! YOU GO GIRL!
    I am also 60, but I went through that “I’d missed the accomplishment boat on so many levels…” stage at 49. After losing my marriage, my career and almost my home, I got wise to how this all works. I know, it’s very tough to face the reality of your life up until now, and yet this can become the perfect stimuli to get yourself going in the right direction this time!
    Yes, it does take major courage and faith to move on and do something about it! But I have also learned through a detailed study of midlife psychology, that this is what the middle of our lives is all about. And we are the first human generation to have the time to do this! LUCKY US!
    It’s true, “not everyone can stand up and be counted. It takes courage. Great courage to live your life out loud.”
    So glad that you and I have found that courage!

    1. Super response Laura! And thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing those reality checks. It’s hard enough when those things we thought we could count on decided to do a 360 and head elsewhere leaving us in the lurch to transform ourselves and still be “The Mom” and “The Breadwinner” while trying to figure it all out. Trying to examine whether it’s even possible or not to reach for those forgotten dreams. But like you said: “this is what the middle of our lives is all about. Lucky us!”

  3. I hear you, Lauren.
    I completed my first novel in 1985, burned the manuscript in 1986, and didn’t write another book until 2013. All that wasted time. Still, I’m making up for it now.
    Yet to reach 60 though, teehee.
    You go for it, girl.

    1. Is THAT a snicker I hear? Didn’t you know, age is just a number? And sixty is tne new sixty in my world. And as far as thinking you wasted all that time…not a chance. You simply weren’t ready to be the tremendously productive author you are now.

  4. Love it, Lauren, because you nailed it. I was having a grand old time when I was sixty… now at seventy-five, I still am… Writing, indie publishing my books and having my say–even if nobody listens. Don’t care. I don’t say or write words as beautifully as you do. But I get ’em said. Yep. Life gets in the way of dreams and hopes–all of which is a learning experience.
    All the best to you and great good luck with The Bad Girl. I own it.

    1. Thank you Jackie. You too have much to be proud of. And despite what you think, know this…someone is ALWAYS listening, someone ALWAYS cares.

  5. A wonderful, heartfelt post, Lauren. Thank you so much for sharing. I’ve been working on my first novel, The Necklace of Goddess Athena, since my early 20s but with working a full-time job (for 20 years) it was a slow process. Enter the Greek crisis late 2009 and I found myself at home, lonely and depressed. Writing became a way to pass the time and evolved into the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Today I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. 48 now… and when I was young all the money and luxury hotel stays & business class flights I had as perks with my jobs didn’t do it. So, I feel you. And yes, it’s never too late to find yourself. Proud of you, girl! Keep writing and moving that mountain, a shovelful at a time 🙂

    1. Life IS a process of “finding ourselves.” Some find it though earlier than others. But hey . . . it’s all good, as long as we get there, even if it does take “a shovel at a time.” 🙂 🙂

  6. You hit it. Life does change. I turned 61 recently, but what really changed for me was my husband’s retirement in December. Our world suddenly changed its focus. But for me? I will never retire from this writing life.

    1. We all need to follow our passions. And I believe that’s what retirement is all about. Having that opportunity to pursue them to the fullest. So, P.C. keep plugging away.

  7. I absolutely agree with you, Lauren. If life is passing us by anyway, why not take a chance and get out there?
    BTW, I didn’t even start writing until I was in my fifties, but so glad I finally did. Have never looked back.

    1. For many, stepping outside the box and it’s oftentimes frightening boundaries is crippling. The beauty of getting older, transitioning away from the things that originally held us back (confidence, financial obligations, lack of experiences under our belts from which to draw great stories), no longer appear as daunting. It is a leap of faith and I’m glad Sarah that you eventually found this wonderful path of writing — and have never looked back.

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