Life as I know It

My photo
San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What I Expect of Myself


Me and my best friend Hans Lovejoy


Years ago I stopped doing what other people expected of me and started doing what I expected of myself.

 The 21st century needs another Mark Twain

It wasn't only teachers and counselors trying to dictate my choices, but also my family. "What Sharon? You are an art major? What will you do with THAT major? You need to learn how to type and take dictation."

"I can't believe you're not going to accept the job with the school district. You could retire in 20 years and THEN do what you want."

Twenty years? Really? Wait 20 years to do what I want?

Right around that time I met a woman in an electric wheelchair. She was proud to tell me she once trekked all over Britain, but now? Now she blew on a mechanism to make her chair work. Her words to me? "Don't waste any time, don't put off doing things, follow your heart. I was waiting to retire before I did so many things. I retired at fifty five, but look at me now."(She was 56)

 Oh how I love the wisdom of Eleanor Roosevelt

I chose to take chances. To start businesses, some of which thrived, one which didn't do well. I chose to devote myself to drawing and painting and to learning everything I could about the critters and the gardening I loved. I chose to write, well, maybe I didn't choose it, it chose me. I knew that whether or not anyone ever read my work,  I wanted to try to touch other lives and open doors of understanding and build bridges between me and my readers.


So, I didn't learn how to take shorthand, but I did learn how to type, thank goodness. It makes my life so much easier. Mom was right about that one.


I guess what this final blog posting for the swiftly fading 2015 is all about, is believing in yourself and always trying to live up to your own expectations. It is impossible to have expectations of others, you never know when people are going to do a 180 degree turn from what you think you've figured out. But, if YOU know what you're going to do and how you're going to live your life, you're on your pathway. You are "honoring your calling," as author Elle Luna says in the following quote.
Because I honored my pathway (despite the bumps, wrong turns, and dead ends), my life is richer and more joyful. Because I honored my pathway, I am sometimes broke, sometimes frustrated, sometimes on fire, and sometimes sitting alone under a dark cloud. But if I hadn't taken the chance and expected more from myself, well, I'd finally be ready to retire and start living.

I'm living now–what about YOU?

My generous editor and publicist at Workman Publishing have offered TWO copies of Elle Luna's book to my readers. Please leave a comment and we'll do a drawing around January 15th of 2016 (Don't hold me to that). Workman Publishing will ship the books directly to the winners.


 







 













54 comments:

Rebecca said...

Oh, please! Even at age 67, I am not giving up on unrealized dreams...
Thanks for sharing the inspiration.

Denise Schryver said...

This explains the richness of your life, your daily posts, your deep appreciation for beauty. You've followed your North Star which is attached to feeling from our depths imo. The best way to really live. Denise

Lindy Barnes said...

I can't believe there are no other comments here. How I would love to win a copy of "The Crossroads of Should and Must".

Lindy

Nellie said...

What an excellent post, Sharon! I wish I could find the words to express how appropriate it is at this point. We've a daughter who seems to keep asking herself some of the same questions! We are not sure what responses she is hearing as we say very little. We always told them they could do and be anything they wanted!

The best of wishes to you for a healthy and happy New Year!

xo Nellie

Lori said...

Happy New Year Sharon! I for one am so very glad you took the path that you did!❤️

Bonnie K said...

I have been blessed. I always wanted to teach the children that nobody else wanted. I grew up on a reservation where expectations were low and I knew better. I am grateful that I have enjoyed a rich life thanks to my children and the people I work with. I am glad you stuck to your guns! It makes life worthwhile.

GrammaGrits said...

Just found you from Coffee Tea Books and Me. Loved you post!

Bernideen said...

Lots of inspiration and food for thought here!

Jan said...

Thank you for the joy and beauty you bring to us. ♡ Your lovely words are just what I needed to hear right now. ♡ I'm a late bloomer, but better late than never!

Vee said...

What an interesting book. I will put it on my wishlist as I did with your book Running Out of Night. It took nearly a year, though it was ordered for Christmas and given as a gift. Wonder if I could borrow it back? A wonderful New Year to you!

lilykim said...

Thank you Ms.Sharon! OH REALLY THANKFUL TO WHAT YOU POSTED.I have been struggled between what other people expected me and what I expected of myself.I will stop doing what other people expected me and srart doing what I expected of myself. 2016 will be a whole new start for me. WISH YOU ALL THE BEST!!Happy Happy Day!Happy New Year 2016☆
LOVE

Casa Mariposa said...

How sad it would be to live someone else's choices. Life is too short not to follow your heart. :o)

Patty A said...

How inspiring! Would love to win a copy. Great start to the new year.

lilykim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lydia K. said...

Looks like a lovely book! Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy. :)

klk said...

Thank you so much for those words. It was as if you knew exactly what I needed to hear as I move in 2016. I find you an inspiration always, but particularly so today.

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

What a wonderful and inspiring post for this last day of 2015 and for the start of 2016. You've just given me a shot in the arm/heart. Thank you. I'd love to be one of your winners of this book and just maybe, I will be.

Whoever wins will enjoy it.

Have a wonderful 2016 dear Sharon ~ FlowerLady

Julie Marie said...

Oh how I love this post Cousin Sharon!... as long as I have "known" you, since back in the days of County Living and Country Living Gardner where I first "met" you, you have always been your own person, the real thing... honest and open and when we found out we are "distant cousins" my heart sang!... you tell it like it is and are not afraid to dance to a different drum... I try to follow that pathway in life as well... years ago, I tried to please everyone else too... and was not happy... it reminds me of the lyrics to a song by Faith Hill:
"She was daddy's little girl
Momma's little angel
Teacher's pet, pageant queen
She said "All my life I've been pleasin' everyone but me,
Waking up in someone else's dream"

You are such an inspiration to me!... through your emails, your photos, here and on instagram, your books,your art,your love of nature and gardening... your sincerity, but most of all, because you are YOU!... and I love you, xoxo... Julie Marie PS The photo of you and your best friend Hans is priceless!... would you mind emailing me a copy of that?... xoxo... I don't ever just snatch anyones photos...

Julie Marie said...

P.S. Please disqualify me from your generous giveaway... and I wanted to wish you and Jeff a very Happy New Year!!!... xoxo... Julie Marie

La Table De Nana said...


You have the same little face..Lovely inspirational post Sharon..Happy new Year!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing this post Sharon. It is a great reminder for a mom/wife in trying to find herself in the busyness of everyday. Becky in Texas.

taylorsoutback said...

Your post is filled with much wisdom and sound thinking and I could not agree more. My family and even a few friends cautioned me about a business start up in my late 40's. I always replied that when I reached 65, it would not reflect on - "gee - I wish I had done that". Being a wife and Mom always came first and still do but having my own shop was one of the most satisfying experiences of my life. What I took away from that and the priceless friendships that continue to this day have made my life rich beyond compare. Our son carries a similar dream now of being self employed. Along with his wonderful wife (who is the most precious daughter-in-law) I give ongoing encouragement. We must have dreams and goals and always try even though against great odds.

teejay said...

Wonderful publisher! How well I understand this--"waiting for retirement": I became widowed a little over a year after my husband retired. On my own I've found new ways to find joy, but never feel as if I'm doing much more than treading water. I want to be useful. My part-time job is helpful to others in a large sense, but I certainly feel the need for my life to make a difference now. Finding that niche is my goal.

-Sue

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Beautiful, dear Sharon! Honoring our calling--nothing more important and more honest than that! Happy New Year to you and your family! xoxo ♥

Jeri Landers said...

Gosh Sharon, I just loved that! You know, I was the crazy one in the family that trod the unconventional path. I never regretted that decision, even when my choice of occupation made my livelihood and up and down affair, often filled with uncertainty. Being broke, making a splash, struggling and picking it all up again. That has been the way of my life, as it seems has yours. But, I always did what I thought I was meant to do. It has really made me stronger and happier than I could have been otherwise, and I hope, the people around me as well. Love you! Cheers to the New Great year! Jeri

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Dear Sue,

Hope you find your special niche and enjoy every inch of it!

Happy new year.

Sharon

Beespeaker said...

Dear Sharon,

Thanks for your generous blog, and for pursuing your passion. The quotes you've shown us from the book remind us that we've got to get back to the gardens in our hearts as well as in our back yards.

Happy New Year!

Lori aka Madame Beespeaker

Aisling said...

Ah! Love this post. You are an inspiration!

Sue said...

What an inspirational post to encourage us to make the most of our opportunities in the new year. I've been enjoying your fun-filled gardening books over the years picking them up here & there, making sure to share a few in our Little Free Library for others to discover & enjoy

Anonymous said...

Oh how lovely it would be to win this, crossing my fingers.


Terry C

Darla said...

What a lovely end of year post to mull over as we start a fresh new year! Thank you for all you do in sharing your many talents and wisdom.

Mir stella said...

That's a lovely and relaxing and enjoyable and inspiring post. SO glad you didn't learn dictation...and certainly agree with you on the typing! Happy 2016!

Anonymous said...

What a great blog post Sharon! I am going to forward this to my younger son. I think he should read the book too!

I will start a new gardening expirience this year, as I have moved back to the Cape Cod of the Mid-West. I am now in Door County, Wisconsin on a wooded lot quite near the Bay.

I see you have a dirty hands club. That is right up my line.

Margot B.

Rhiannon Le Fay said...

Thank you for your post, Sharon. As a young person who just graduated college it is a daunting time to make these big decisions but advice like yours is an important and necessary reminder. The book looks amazing too!

Gardeningbren said...

So uplifting...I needed Eleanor Roosevelt's (and your) encouragement today and there, you posted these wonderful words. Thank you.

Lori ann said...

i love this photo of you. LOVE. and i love every bit of inspiration you've brought to my life (and sooo many others). thank you sharon dear, and thank you workman publishing, this book looks awesome!! put my name in please!
xoxo lori

kj said...

Me me me me me! (Afterall, why not me?!)

Of course I love this post. And why wouldn't I after the week I've had: disneyworld where 2 year old reesie met 'Winnie poopie' and 4?year old Logan met 'taco bell' I couldn't stop laughing

I love you, my friend Sharon honey 💖

rush said...

Still trying to find my passion {again?}. I struggle daily. Thank you for the opportunity to win!

Averyl said...

I just found your blog yesterday and have bookmarked it to follow. This is a lovely and timely post for me to read. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

This book looks wonderful and what a good read to go into 2016! I have to confess that I DID learn shorthand AND to type and many times in my life regretted those skills. Yes, they were a great help to get a job but firmly kept cementing me to a type of work that was not creative and that I didn't love. Now in retirement I am re-inventing myself and I will say I wish I had pushed the creativity I had within me versus the typing and shorthand speed which was simply a quick nerve reaction. LOL! :-) Pat at npmofjeldf@comcast.net

Emily Darling said...

Dear Sharon,
My daughter and I have just been discussing this topic today. I am 57 and she is just 16, an artist, musician, and writer. We are blessed to be homeschooling so she has all the time the day offers to follow her passions as she wishes, but even so, she often gets caught up in other pursuits that she "must" do. I was sharing my own experiences with her of the putting off of my dreams and passions to complete my daily responsibilities and the regrets that I have now. The moments turn into days and only too soon into years. This book would be a delight and inspiration to both of us, I'm sure. It's never too late! Thank you for sharing!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Emily,

Your words really hit me. You are absolutely right and I am so happy that you are sharing this with your girl. It sounds like you are raising her beautifully. May she always follow her passions!

All best,

Sharon

Marina McLeod said...

Thank you for the reminder that we must follow our own hearts, fan the flames of our inspiration, and have the courage to cling to our creativity.

jms.prtlnd said...

Sharon, I love the thought and reflection in this post so much! As a teacher of young children I have found my passion in nurturing my own professional life through my daily experiences with them. My hope was that one day I would have money to travel about the world and nurture other parts of my soul. However, in the past 8 years I have been struggling with ever increasing mobility issues. The thought of getting on a plane and trekking about in the world seems overwhelming to me. Don't wait! Move! Live to the fullest each and everyday!

JanW said...

What an inspiring post! I love looking back and seeing the twists and turns my life has taken. Now, if only I could see what lies ahead!

Janice

Kimberly Busby said...

I am new to your blog and needed to read, just THOSE words today. I am a 48 year old divorcee and am standing on the cusp of a new chapter of life. I feel so tugged by the words SHOULD and WANT. As I try to figure out what I want to be when I grow up, I will keep your words close...

Cathi Lamoreux said...

There is so much to life that we tell ourselves we can't reach - yet. Well, yet is now!

Betty said...

Thank you for this post Sharon. I wish I had read it 20 or more years ago. Now, in my 70's I am finally doing the things I have dreamed about. Just hope I can fit them all in!:)

Pondside said...

Funny.. but a friend and I were having a conversation about this very subject at lunch today. I'm with you - start now - don't waste another minute! When I look at my parents' in their old age I am so happy to know that they lived fully and loved what they did. A great example to all of their children.

Janet Conn said...

What an inspiring post. This really hits home. Thank you!

Janet said...

Your post was so inspiring. Thank you for the lovely thoughts and please enter me in the drawing for the book.

Thank you!

janetconn@msn.com

Val said...

Happy new year, and this was a timely find of a post for me. ♥

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Speaking of "Timely." I know, I know, I NEED to write a new posting, but I've been working out of town and now am trying to play catch up.

Forgive me? I'll get to it asap.

Sharon

Tracy Jones said...

I am just seeing this blog after a respite from the computer. You have given me such hope and joy that there are better things out there for me. Thank you. xo