In the third season of the Roseanne sitcom, Roseanne’s 37th birthday wish is for time, specifically to write. Turns out that she loved to write as a young woman, but raising a family took priority and as she gets closer to age 40, she wants to make a change.
As a gift, Roseanne’s husband builds her an office in the basement and the kids give her pencils, notepads, and reference books. They then leave for the afternoon to give her one more gift – time to write.
The following scene is a montage of Roseanne “writing”: wadded paper litters the floor and Roseanne passes the time thoroughly cleaning the basement. [I had to laugh as I tend to get a lot done around the house on days when I am avoiding writing. That, and I can’t imagine writing without my laptop.]
I was 37 years old when I decided to change my life. It started with my husband saying that if I came home from work one day with a box under my arm because I had quit, that would be okay. The stress of what I could not change about my job had become a heavy load for both of us. Not until that moment did I realize that changing my life was a real possibility. I began to plan, with the goal of completely changing my life by the time I turned 40.
Guess what? I did it.
By the end of that year (2010), I had started this blog. Within six more months, I knew for sure that I wanted to write for a living. All along, I made time to write, to study, and to plan.
A year ago, I quit The Job for full time freelance writing. A year ahead of schedule.
The episode of Roseanne continues with Roseanne feeling defeated and deciding that her writer’s block comes from too many years of too much else to do to allow space in her brain for creativity. The final scene is Roseanne telling her son a bedtime story. He asks if the story comes from a book. She says no, because it is a story she made up for him.
I will turn 40 in a few days, and I can’t think of a birthday wish. At the onset of middle age, as this birthday is often labeled, all I can think of is that this is what I’ve been moving toward my whole life – this time of writing for a living. What more could I wish for?