I really thought I was done with it in high school. In your teens, you have to find your balance, and you learn that following the crowd is normally a bad idea. I found that when I hit my university years, the pressure was gone. You can be whoever you want, and people at university are perfectly happy to accept you as is. It’s a great experience, and a wonderful place to really find yourself.
In my twenties, I was finding my footing in my career–figuring out what I wanted to do, and how to make a writing career work. I didn’t know any other writers who were doing it for a living, so I had to figure out a lot on my own.
In my thirties, I now had a child at home with me, and I was learning that I didn’t tend to fit in with the regular mom groups anyways. And I was okay with that. I was pursing my writing career, and I didn’t have anyone else who understood what I was trying to do. I pretty much accepted it, and I was the happy odd one out.
And then I hit my forties.
Why is the peer pressure back!? Because it really is! OMG, we all went from taking our own paths to arriving in approximately the same place (a home, kids, spouse, lifestyle) and the pressure to conform and do things like everyone else does is just crushing. Everything from the type of home you’ve chosen, to the type of clothes, to the newness of your vehicle, to the after school activities your kids go to… I don’t understand why that is, but here we are, all over again. The same pressures of adolescence on the shoulders of women in their forties who HAVE adolescents!
I thought I’d matured beyond this!
Enter the pandemic. One of the struggles is that we can’t get together with friends like we used to, but we have learned the fine art of video conferencing. Most of us have, haven’t we? And now, one of my publishers has been hosting some Zoom meetings where can all get together and just chat.
And guess what I found out?
- People’s author photos ARE NOT what they look like on a regular Tuesday morning. (Mine included. 😉 )
- People’s homes aren’t actually as fancy as they look in those carefully cropped social media posts. Some of us are better at cropping than others, that’s all.
- We’re all a whole lot more alike than I’d realized.
And I love that! I love that we’re all just a group of women following our dreams. And our homes aren’t perfect. Our hair is all growing out the gray at various rates, we’re all aging. And you know what? We’re all living our passion– having fun, writing books, editing books in the case of our editors, finding things we enjoy, and loving our families. We’re all throwing ourselves into the thing we love to do–creating amazing books.
So maybe it’s time to relearn that adolescent lesson that we don’t have to be like everyone else. We don’t have to impress anyone, either, because the ones to throw out a snide comment will find something to criticize no matter what you do. We just have to live our lives with passion and heart, and be the best version of ourselves that we can be. That’s it!
And you know what? Brace yourself for the gray, because I’m growing mine out. I’m almost 42. If I can’t own some gray at this point, I don’t know when I can. 😉
Hitting the shelves now!
Do you have your copy yet?