Originally appeared on HoneyGood.com.
When I was a little girl my mother gave me my first diary. It was lavender with a lock and a key. It was the lock and the key that made it so special. My diary promised secrecy. I could put down all my thoughts on paper and no one would know. I wrote each night after my mom tucked me into bed and kissed me good night. When she left my bedroom I would flip on my nightlight, open my diary to a blank page and with pen in hand my thoughts and feelings of the day would pour onto its pages. I shared all my dreams, fears, joys and disappointments with my beautiful lavender diary. I began each entry with "Dear Diary" and ended with "Good Night Dear Diary." My collection of entries stopped when I left for college.
Fast forward to 2012. Two women, both named Gail, one a new acquaintance, the other a best girlfriend, since childhood, changed my life. Because of their suggestions and my desires, I reentered the wonderful "world of words."
Here is my story.
Gail and I met by chance in April of 2012. We shared our short time together in non-stop conversation -- a conversation that was life changing. It took place in Palm Springs, California, a resort community, where my husband, Shelly, and I spend our winters. After establishing that my home was Chicago and hers was Palm Springs, she asked, "How do you spend your time in the desert?"
"I play golf and cards and do some charity work." Then adding out of the blue, "I'm really searching for a new purpose. Then I changed the subject asking her what she does with her time?"
"I am a writer and an author."
I was taken back. "You are!" I said.
Hundreds of women, and I mean hundreds, have passed through the doors of my life and not one has been a writer. I was impressed and a little bit in awe. Before I could inquire about her career she quickly added:
"I think I can help you solve your dilemma." I stared at her dumbfounded and listened as she continued:
"Keep a written journal for three months and you will find your voice."
You have no idea the effect and impact those five words had on me! "You will find your voice" kept running through my mind as I drove home. I remember being filled with excitement and wonder. Little did I know I would go from that little girl who kept her secret diaries to a grandmother owning her own company online!
"Shelly, Shelly," I called out to my husband as I raced into our home. "You are not going to believe what happened today."
He listened and smiled as I told him the story of my chance meeting with Gail and encouraged me by saying, "I think you should go for it!" Little did he know how consumed I would become with my "new purpose!"
The next morning I awoke with one thought. I promised myself I would persevere, solve any and all obstacles that might confront me and not miss a day of journaling over the next three months. I kept the vow for three months.
On day one with a fresh cup of coffee and my pooch, Orchid, by my side I opened my MacBook Air and placed my fingers on its keyboard. I remember feeling a physical peacefulness come over me. I was in my own quiet realm with my own personal thoughts. I cannot begin to tell you how happy, content and fulfilled I was over those three months jotting down my daily musings.
My laptop, dictionary, thesaurus, computer tutor and Google became my new best friends! I traveled all over the world with my husband and my MacBook in those first three months. I wrote in Palm Springs, Chicago, Paris, Normandy, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, hotel rooms, airports, airplanes and cars -- never missing a day! I read all my entries to Shelly who became my sounding board. I was hooked. I had found my purpose -- my new hobby. Or what I thought would be just a hobby!
Three months later I was sitting in the park in my "beautiful Chicago" with Orchid and my laptop. The park is one block from our apartment and behind the Museum of Contemporary Art -- a perfect place to write. My phone rang. Another life changing development was about to occur. It was Gail, my best friend.
"Hi!" She got right to the point. "So I have a question. I know you accomplished your goal. I'm just wondering, what are you going to do with your nine billion words?"
"I don't know," came out of my mouth.
"I have a suggestion. I am going to a networking meeting tonight and I think I should ask Harvey (the President) if he knows a social media person because I think you should write a blog and share your nine billion words and thoughts with other women. You just need someone to help you put your writings online."
I played devil's advocate. "I'm not internet friendly. I have never taken a writing course."
"So what! You have read some of your stories to me and I love them."
"You are right. Ask Harvey. Talk later."
Walking home with Orchid I decided I should sit down and read my three months of journals. It took a week.
I realized after turning the last page I was a sage filled with wisdom because of my age and my incredible experiences. I had earned my phD in life! I was a woman with many titles: wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, world traveler, expert shopper, homemaker and last but not least a hip 21st Century grandma with old fashioned values to twenty grandchildren who call me Honey.
My journal was filled with my life secrets. I wrote about the importance of family, love, my responsibilities as the Matriarch of a blended family, about widowhood, devastating illness, friendship, the loss of friendship, suicide, love the second time around, aging parents, world travels, my cherished daughters, delicious grandchildren, my dog Orchid, all types of girly stuff and last but not least the importance of the grandmother figure in a family.
My philosophy: thread your life with sound values; ride the wave of life. See the glass half full, make lemonade out of lemons and turn your dreams into realities.
I listened to the first Gail who told me I would find my voice and to the second Gail who told me to put my thoughts online. Two women named Gail led me down the path to realize my purpose and now my passion.
Honey Good.com (my real name, how lucky is that!) is now two years old, has over 115,000 followers on Facebook, five thousand readers on her email and as my husband and best friend, Shelly, always says: "The best is yet to come!"
With a smile on my face...I know so! I hope this story acts as inspiration for you to fulfill your dreams. Don't let anything hold you back!