Patricia Mann chases happiness as the Age is Just a Number series continues

I’m thrilled to welcome Patricia Mann, author of Is This All There Is and the newly released sequel, Is This What I Want? to close out the Age is Just a Number series. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did!

I recently discovered that not only is Patricia a fellow author with Booktrope and a friend of mine, she’s a sorority sister! Yes, we’re both sisters of Alpha Xi Delta. I enjoyed Patricia’s insightful post about learning to chase happiness instead of goals.

Turning forty-six last month left me wondering if it’s finally time to stop chasing the next big high. I’ve done so much, but none of it brought the kind of happiness or sense of fulfillment I anticipated. That’s okay, because I learned unexpected lessons and am now working to find pleasure in the little things that I once saw as too ordinary or boring.

At twenty-four, I had a master’s degree on the wall, a shiny new wedding ring on my finger, and two years of teaching at a university under my belt. I felt ready to take on the world. My long list of goals to accomplish before turning thirty included buying a house, launching a consulting career, and having my first child.

In case this seems like bragging, let me share a tiny bit of backstory. I was a troubled child and teen. I did not do well in school and did all sorts of unsavory things. My Type A personality disorder didn’t surface until I was almost twenty. Extremes have always been my strong suit.

I reached every goal I set out to achieve by the time I turned thirty, yet the night of my thirtieth birthday I found myself in a deep depression. Is This All There Is? I wondered. I have so much, I should be beside myself with bliss, I thought. But I wasn’t. So, like my son’s hamster, who runs around and around her little wheel, appearing to expect some grand treat to magically appear if she just keeps going, I decided to set new goals. In the next decade, I ran a marathon, had a second child, continued to teach while also starting my own consulting business, and began working on my first novel. Not surprisingly, the title of that novel would ultimately become Is This All There Is?.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew I was blessed to have a loving husband, wonderful kids, and a rewarding career. I tried not to take them for granted. But I always felt this gnawing pressure to do more, to take things up a notch. Looking back, I wish I had allowed for more time to stop and fully enjoy everything in my life. Like a true addict, each accomplishment immediately resulted in the need to go after something new, searching for that greater high. At forty-six, I think it’s time to break the cycle.

On my husband’s last birthday, his forty-fourth, I gave him a card with a simple message on the front in large, colorful letters. He put it in a spot where we’re both guaranteed to see it every day. I can now admit that the card was for both of us, maybe even more me than him. It reads: Do more of what makes you happy.

Wow. At forty-six, I’m forced to realize that I kind of had it wrong. Maybe it’s time to stop doing all the things I think I’m supposed to do. Maybe my need to over-achieve and impress people was actually fueled by a misguided desire to heal the shame of my shiftless youth. None of it worked. The recipe didn’t quite turn out right. Yet, I’m left with all the ingredients for a truly fulfilling life. Really high-quality ingredients, in fact. All I need is a new recipe.

I think I’ve done a pretty good job of meeting everyone else’s needs. Now I want to start honestly looking at how to better meet my own needs.

I have no big goals to achieve by the time I turn fifty. I mainly want to do more of what makes me happy. Having romantic dinners and laughing with my husband makes me really happy. Spending as much time as possible with my kids, listening to them talk about how they navigate the challenging teen years, playing games with them and watching funny shows together is pure joy for me. Cuddling and playing with our dogs is heaven. Work still makes me happy too, but I need to stop trying to prove myself and settle into feeling confident about what I have to offer. Having fun with friends makes me so happy. I need more time with my friends. Going to lunch with my mom is one of my favorite things to do. I’m often too busy and put it off for long periods. No more. Running with my dad is our special time together and it means the world to me. He would drop everything to go more often, all I’d have to do is ask.

Last but certainly not least, there is writing. I always wanted to write but didn’t find the courage to do it until later in life. If I am truly going to do more of what makes me happy, making more time to write is probably the biggest step I need to take. Not because of a deadline and not because I’m naïve enough to think it’s likely to result in money or fame, but because it makes me so, so, so very happy.

I suppose it’s up to me to keep adding to my list of what makes me happy on my own time, rather than making this post way too long. So I promise I will. I want you to promise me that you will too. Whatever age you are, it’s time for you to do this now. Say it out loud with me, okay? “I will do more of what makes me happy.”

TIATS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My website: http://www.patriciamann.me

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PatriciaMann11

Facebook friend page: https://www.facebook.com/patricia.mann.969

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Patricia-Mann/325125214262516

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/patriciamann14/

Is This All There Is?

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Is-This-All-There-ebook/dp/B00J6ELEX8/

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/is-this-all-there-is-patricia-mann/1114038095?ean=9781620153581

Is This What I Want?

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/This-What-Want-There-Series-ebook/dp/B00OMNR6CQ/

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/is-this-what-i-want-patricia-mann/1120586709?ean=9781620155806 Author Bio: Patricia Mann is a university professor and consultant. She lives in California with her husband, their two kids, and two sweet, silly dogs.

 

 

 

 

Coming soon:

How Do You Know (December 2nd)

What if you were approaching the end of your thirties and all of the life milestones you took for granted in your youth suddenly seemed out of reach? On the eve of her thirty-ninth birthday, Maggie Piper doesn’t look, act, or feel much different than she did at twenty-nine, but with her fortieth birthday speeding toward her like a freight train, she wonders if she should. The fear of a slowing metabolism, wrinkling of her skin, and the ticking of her biological clock leaves Maggie torn between a desire to settle down like most of her similarly aged peers and concern that all is not perfect in her existing relationship. When a spontaneous request for a temporary “break” from her live-in boyfriend results in a “break-up,” Maggie finds herself single once again and only twelve months from the big 4.0. In the profound yet bumpy year that follows, Maggie will learn, sometimes painfully, that life doesn’t always happen on a schedule, there are no deadlines in love, and age really is just a number.

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Blog Roll – My Writing Process

I’ve been tagged by Samantha Stroh Bailey, author of the fabulously fun novel, Finding Lucas, co-founder of the equally fun and fabulous BookBuzz author/reader mix and mingle, and one of my closest friends and confidants to participate in the Blog Roll – Writing Process. In the post below, I have answered questions regarding my writing process and at the end of the post, I have tagged three authors to answer the questions too and tag three more authors and so on and so on and so on.

Question: What am I working on?

I currently have two works-in-progress. The first is almost ready for submission to my publisher and is about a thirty-nine year old woman who is struggling with the impending end of her thirties having not reached life milestones like marriage and children typically reached at an earlier age. I hope my publisher, Booktrope, will release this novel in late 2014. The second is a sequel to my third novel, Blogger Girl. It is twenty-nine pages and counting!

Question: How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My books are inspired by real life and the characters I create are, sorry to possibly overuse this word but “real.” They do not have dream jobs, closets full of designer clothes, regular invitations to hot restaurant openings and parties, and boyfriends with perfectly chiseled bodies. But they are not typically underdogs either. They have a lot going for them. They are intelligent, attractive, down-to-earth women who struggle with (here comes that word again) “real” problems. They do not always act with the best judgment and are often misguided. They feel emotions that women typically do not like to admit experiencing, like insecurity, jealousy, bitterness etc. and, yes, sometimes they drink too much. Some readers have complained that my characters can be whiny and insecure at times but others (most people) applaud them for letting their “flaw flag” fly. Show me a woman who has never whined or experienced insecurity and I’ll flash you my boobs. Seriously! I dare you.

Question: Why do I write what I do?

I write real women’s fiction with humor because it comes naturally to me, probably because I’m a real woman who happens to be quite funny. I’ve made many mistakes myself and I want to speak for women like me to let them know they are not alone. Life can be very challenging sometimes, but even in the most trying of times, someone will make a joke, spill something, trip on the sidewalk etc. Laughter lightens even the darkest moods, even if only temporarily.

Question: How does my writing process work?

I work a full time job and I must make an effort to carve out time each week for writing. Whenever I do not have plans after work, I go straight to my favorite writing place—The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf—where I write for a couple of hours. Additionally, I use most of my lunch hours to do some light writing, like blog posts. I also try to spend at least one afternoon of every weekend writing. So far, this routine has enabled me to release approximately one novel a year.

Question: And the other part of this question, how does my writing process not work?

What doesn’t work is comparing myself to authors who write more quickly and release multiple books a year. Some of these authors do not work full time jobs, but some of them do and yet manage to write more quickly. That is them and this is me and it’s okay. I try to keep my life as balanced as possible, which means having a social life, an on-again/off-again love life (the “off” part is not by choice), working out, and simply zoning out in front of the television. Messing with the balance I strive so hard to maintain does not work for me.

Who’s next?

I am tagging the following wonderful authors below:

Mary Rowan, author of Leaving the Beach, a gritty story about illusion, reality, and the odd ways that music can blur the lines between the two.

Patricia Mann, author of compelling and thought provoking Is This All There Is. Quote from one reader, “This book, quite simply, was stunning.”

Sheryn MacMunn –bestselling author of Finding Out, a story of love found and lost, true friendship, and how the human spirit endures.