Column #3: Diary of a Twenty-Something
I had a realization the other day. Before I delve into all that, let me start with this: when I was in my last semester of college, I read a book called Winter Birds, written by a local author. We’d studied it in class and analyzed why the book was titled as so, and we’d come to the conclusion that the main character was in the “winter” of her life––a time when the bitter cold trapped her indoors and she was, essentially, settling into the idea of dying.
While I’ve found myself looking forward to the warm mornings and beach sand between my toes, I’m trying not to forget what the cold months offered me. You know what I remembered? That at this time last year, I was wondering what life would hold for me a year from now. Well, here we are.
Dear diary: M. M. here.
I’m speaking to my past self, who was still––at 22––figuring out how to “twenty” (yeah, I just used “twenty” as a verb).
I figured it out. The answer? There is no answer. But I had a realization a couple weeks ago. It was about life. I’d thought there was no answer to it––and there’s not––but that in itself was the conclusion to all my questions. I’ve spent the past three years trying to figure out how to move forward after college without feeling stagnant. Really, all that “moving forward” was right under my nose the entire time.
The ground-breaking moment I keep talking about was this: I was driving my car and thinking about my career, my finances, and how I sustain myself. Then I had this beautiful thought.
I’m a writer.
I’m a full-time writer.
It was fulfilling to think that the thing I’d grown up wanting to be was right here in the flesh as me, myself, and I. In the past month, I’ve had a successful Barnes&Noble book signing, I’ve seen my novel on shelves with that sticker that says “signed edition,” and someone at my 9-5 journalism job said I added some pizzazz to the office. Also, I’ve got a new novel in the works with my publisher.
I’ve spent 23 years trying to pave my path to this moment in time; meanwhile, I’ve been sitting in a winter season considering what’s next. There’s so much beauty in slowing down and seeing what’s around you. There is always, always an opportunity for growth, even in the smallest of ways.
Readers, even though I’m not experienced with full of wisdom to offer, I hope I can sometimes inspire. For those who are in their own personal winter season, hear me out––spring is just around the corner. This is a stunning time to rest, regroup indoors, find yourself, and get ready to blossom.
M.M. Cochran is the author of YA novel Between the Ocean and the Stars and has an educational background in English and creative writing. She has worked in the journalism industry, as well as the agenting and publishing industry, and she is currently a news reporter for The Greer Citizen. M.M. can be found collecting coffee mugs, slipping into an oversized sweater, and hanging out with her standard poodle. Her debut novel, Between the Ocean and the Stars, can be found online at Amazon.com or Barnesandnoble.com. To keep up with her writing journey, follow her on Instagram @m.m.cochran_writer.