And for my next act…

365 Life ShiftsYesterday, Jodi and I (along with over 250 contributing authors) launched our new book, 365 Life Shifts: Pivotal Moments That Changed Everything. I am so grateful to everyone who contributed to this collection (the third volume of the 365 Book Series), the hundreds of people who promoted it (which helped it become an instant #1 bestseller on Amazon), and the thousands of people who will read it and open their hearts to these true stories of transformation.

As I reflect on this project, I realize that it came about at a perfect time for me, although it didn’t always feel this way. In fact, for much of the process, it felt like the absolute worst timing imaginable. The bulk of the editing needed to be done in October, November, and December — when my mind was largely preoccupied with the U.S. elections. And the final proofs had to be reviewed in late January and early February, when my mind was largely preoccupied with the consequences of the U.S. elections (as it still is).

Frankly, I found it rather hard to focus on the niceties of grammar and punctuation when there were so many pressing issues throughout the country and around the world. In the grand scheme of things, did it really matter whether I used a comma or a semicolon when there were Syrian refugees being turned away from our shores and legal U.S. residents being separated from their families despite valid Green Cards or work visas? When the EPA and National Parks were being threatened, park employees’ voices censored, endangered species threatened, and animal-rights abuses being covered up by the government? When we faced environmental disasters and nuclear threats? When civil rights were being trampled upon and LGBT rights were being ignored? When Muslims were being…well, you’re no doubt aware of the quickly growing list of grievances.

So, what does all this have to do with Life Shifts? A LOT!

Although I’m not sure what exactly…yet. I just know that I’m ready for a life shift. A big one. And reading these 365 true stories has reaffirmed that, yes, big life shifts can and do happen. These stories also offer reminders that positive shifts can emerge from the most unpleasant (or even tragic) circumstances, such as those who made positive shifts as a result of injury, illness, or loss of loved ones. Reading them, I’m reminded that shifts sometimes take many years to manifest, but they can also take place in a single moment — often with the decision to make a change.

And that’s where I am right now — deciding to make a change, even though I don’t know what it will be. I’m not at the end but at the turning point in my own story. I feel a shift brewing, but I don’t yet know the specifics of my “next act.” Perhaps I’ll end up offering my time, money, and/or services to groups that promote the freedoms I cherish, such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of choice. Perhaps I’ll make a more concerted effort to express myself and live in a way that better reflects the values I wish to promote in the world around me — to “be the change I wish to see.” Perhaps my life will take a more overtly political focus, or maybe I’ll just be more passionate about creating works of art that I feel are worthwhile, thoughtful, and (hopefully) uplifting and beautiful.

Yes, the uncertainty of this “TBD next act” does feel a bit unsettling, but I’m OK with that. I’m OK with allowing myself to sit in the unknown, allowing the gestation process to take place in its own time. And I’m OK not knowing what exactly is going to be “born” from all this — partly because of the reassurance I’ve received from so many others who have found themselves at crossroads, oftentimes facing bleak situations, only to emerge stronger and healthier and happier than ever. Which is exactly what I want for my own story-in-progress…and for yours!

In any case, in light of the big changes I feel brewing within me and already taking place all around me (as well as all the significant changes that so many others have gone through — including the ones described in this book), yes, those punctuation issues do seem rather trivial. But, on the other hand, they’re still important to me. It is important for me to embody, to the best of my ability, the traits that I wish to see more of in the world, including intelligence, attention to detail, and heart-based professionalism.

And if my only way of expressing that, for now, is to use a properly placed semicolon, then so be it.

***

What about you? Have you gone through any major (or minor) shifts in your life? Are you going through one right now? Do you have a good idea of what it’s leading to, or are you still in the thick of it? I’d love to hear YOUR story, too! 🙂

(By the way, in case you were wondering — and I sincerely hope you weren’t — the big comma-vs.-semicolon issue was: Which punctuation mark should we use before a coordinating conjunction when at least one of the independent clauses they join contains an internal comma [especially if the comma is in the sentence’s first clause]? After much back and forth — and consulting numerous, and oftentimes conflicting, style guides — we decided [largely guided by Garner’s Modern English Usage] to use commas except in rare instances in which they could lead to miscues, ambiguities, or other reading difficulties. And you thought I didn’t lead an exciting life — ha!) 🙂

P.S. This is the second day of our month-long blog tour related to this book. If you’d like to read posts by other co-authors, here are the posts that went up yesterday and today, as well as those going up tomorrow:

Feb 21

Feb 22

Feb 23

P.P.S. I also hope you’ll check out the book itself — as well as the 70 bonus gifts you’ll get for FREE if you buy your copy now. You can learn all about the book and the gifts at www.365lifeshifts.com.

365 Life Shifts - Available Now!

One thought on “And for my next act…

  1. Dan, it takes one to know one. I totally “get” your conundrum about semi-colon use. I wrestle with this type of problem all the time — and I love it! I also love any rousing discussion about proper grammar.

    I believe that all of our experiences are fodder for future writing, so what you’re going through now will stretch you in new ways and eventually find a voice. Good luck!

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