Six weeks at home has given me plenty of time to reflect, slow down, and explore the innermost parts of my brain. Like many others, my world has been put on pause. I’ve had time to breathe and to just… be.
In addition to writing, I’ve picked up painting as a creative outlet. Its a nice escape from screen time, which my eyes need desperately. I sit in my garage for hours, always after dark, listen to soft music, and attempt to create art.
Recently, I painted a fig tree. This fig tree is deeply personal and often floats through my thoughts. In fact, the fig tree changed the way I live, and I’m now feeling the courage to share its story.
About five years ago, I was stuck in a web of wanting too many things. Too many ambitions. So many in fact that I was unable to give anything the time it deserved. I had already started writing and was about halfway through my first manuscript. However, I also wanted to start a travel blog, run a successful instagram account for my dog (yes, this is a thing), start a consulting business, learn new languages, and become a certified yoga instructor. Of course, I had hardly made any progress because it was all too much.
One day, in the midst of my unfocused chaos, I read a passage about a fig tree from The Bell Jar by the late literary icon, Sylvia Plath:
Now, this passage hit me like a ton of bricks. I decided I wasn’t going to let the figs in my life shrivel up and whither away. But if I didn’t choose something and focus, that’s exactly what would happen. I knew deep down that writing made me happier than anything else. After all, this passage by another writer moved me, and I hope to one day pass on inspiration of my own and connect with others through writing. To me, that would be the ultimate success.
From then on, I started pursuing my writing career with the passion it deserves. I finally finished my first manuscript, wrote another manuscript, got into PitchWars, signed with an agent, and am now working on my fourth manuscript. If I was still trying to do everything else, I never would have gotten this far.
I am now studying a language, but started after I established a disciplined approach to writing that allowed enough time for second major endeavor.
The figs on the tree I painted– my figs– they represent the life choices I’ve made. My figs are more than just writing. They represent my family, the experiences I’ve had, my goals, and everything that makes my life special. But these figs will not turn black and die. They are plump and juicy and their stems turned to gold.
I don’t worry about the figs I didn’t choose.
So, if you are struggling to choose a path in life, just pick a fig and don’t look back.