What would you do with one year’s paid leave of absence?

That subject line in my email inbox made my heart kick up a notch for just a few seconds one day last week. A quick glance at the sender’s name, however, informed me that the accompanying message wasn’t my current employer offering me the opportunity to take a year off with pay. {sigh}

Even though my budgeted time for dealing with email was limited, I was intrigued. The question was, to some degree, related to the question that has been the focus of my life and of my writing the past several years: “What am I going to do with my new, unexpected life as a widow?”

I was intrigued enough to open the email and read further. I wasn’t surprised that the message had numerous links to videos and workshops and resources. Altogether, they comprised a well-constructed and attractive labyrinth of paths, each leading to the proverbial cheese: an 8-part webinar workshop for a “select number of very special people” (presumably including me) who are ready to “discover the secrets of unlimited wealth through passive income”.

This email, along with the handful of others that had somehow escaped my spam filters, was deleted.

The question, however, hovered around the periphery of my mind for days.

I knew what the answer was. It was the same answer that I doggedly gave grade-school teachers when asked, “What do you want to do when you grow up?”

(Well, there was the one time in 1st or 2nd grade that I cheerfully asserted, “Become a nun!” to the surprise of my non-Catholic pastor, who was visiting my parochial-school classroom. But that’s a story for another day.)

What would I do with one year’s paid leave of absence?

I would write.

I would stop dabbling and dancing around and saying I’m a writer and playing at writing and attending conferences. Instead, I would write.

A book.

And so . . . I will.

Alas, I won’t be taking a year’s leave of absence. I won’t be closeting myself in a drafty garrett to write, hunched over my laptop; nor will I retire to a beach cottage where the sound of waves pounding the sandy shore provide a soundtrack to hours of writing fueled by oversized mugs of hot Earl Gray tea.

No, I’ll be here in my small Southeast Missouri home, writing in bits and snatches as my job and other necessities of life allow.

I hope you’ll join me here every Tuesday morning as I sit back with a mug of hot tea (or glass of iced sweet tea once this wretched cold weather is past) and take a break, share how the journey is going, and provide snippets about my work in progress.

I’d love for you to join in the conversation by posting a comment.  What would you do with one year’s paid leave of absence? I can’t wait to hear your response.