New Year – New Perspective · 2 January 2010

The new year is often a time to set new goals and make resolutions. We start diets and try to be more disciplined in the way we live. But in order for any changes to really stick, we need to have a different mind-set. We need to change our perspective.

My friend, Tim, suggested that I make a perspective change a few months ago. He said that I should think of myself as a writer who teaches to make the ends meet. Instead, I told him, “I am a writer who loves to teach and coach.” He thought it would take me time to make the transition, but to his surprise, I made it almost immediately. At least it seemed immediate to him. He just did not know that I had been making the thought shift for years.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I decided that I was going to be an electrical engineer. I was going to make my fortune and become the next Andrew Carnegie and change the world through my philanthropy. I prepared myself for college by taking rigorous courses. Along the way, I found that I liked to write almost as much as I liked to do physics problems. One of my teachers, Ms. Reid, encouraged my writing, and it stuck. I have been writing ever since.

In college, I stayed the course and finally did get my electrical engineering degree. As part of my degree requirements, I had to take a couple writing courses. Instead of taking the standard freshman writing course like everybody else, I took an alternate course that met the requirements and fit my needs – short story writing. I never finished a story during the course, but I learned a lot. And the course made me want to write more.

I continued to write, after I graduated and got a job. I wrote short stories, poems, and even a song or two. Sometimes, I wrote special poems to my youth group kids or for a special occasion. Sometimes, I wrote just to write – just to keep up the habit. Just to hone my craft. I no longer wanted to be the next Andrew Carnegie. Instead, I had grandiose dreams of being the next Stephen King, one of my favorite authors. Even though I still had not written any piece longer than about a page or two, I kept writing and kept dreaming.

I changed my life dramatically when I quit my job, went back to college, and started teaching and coaching. I met the love of my life and got married. Although family and work were demanding, I kept writing. There were lulls when I did not write very much, but the pen and keyboard kept calling me. As the head freshman football coach, I wrote game summaries which I sent to our school staff. Some were even published in one of the local area papers. I wrote about life at home. Sometimes, I wrote about nothing. Still, I wrote.

When Tim told me that I needed to change my perspective, I knew he was right. For years, I had been telling people that I was going to be a writer in my next career. I never really thought of myself as more than an aspiring writer. But as I sit at the keyboard or take pen in hand, I know that I am a writer.

I am a writer, not because the Google ad revenues are pouring in or because my first book is selling like hotcakes. I am a writer because it is one of my gifts. I am a writer because I must write. It is part of my being. I do not just put on my writer hat when I write anymore than I put on my dad hat when I parent. I am what I am, a writer.

As I look back on the past year, I realize that my change in how I see myself took many years to accomplish. It was like getting fit – nothing happens overnight. As I look forward to the new year, I welcome the challenges. I do not know whether I can change my perspective enough to eat right and stay healthy, but I do know that I have changed my perspective enough to boldly declare that I am a writer. I hope that you have the courage to change your perspective if need be. Happy New Year. Have a great 2010.

© 2010 Michael T. Miyoshi

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