Oh, What a Difference a Decade Makes

As some of you know, I have been charged with the monumental task of going through my parents’ house and all their stuff. They have both moved on now (one to heaven and the other to assisted living), leaving all their worldly goods behind. As I sort, I’ve been setting aside things of sentimental value – family photos, for example, and also the Christmas letters my mom wrote every December since 1963. Lots of them are missing, unfortunately, but the ones I do have comprise a pretty good slice of my family’s history.

I’m also coming across some Christmas letters I wrote myself in more recent years – saved by my mom along with lots of other stuff.

“Was his letter a long one? Does he give you much account of what he is doing? Is it Christmas gaieties that he is staying for?”  (Mansfield Park, chapter 29)

I’ve been following that tradition for quite awhile now, composing a newsy letter to send out to family and friends at the holidays. More recently, I’ve started making the letter into a card by printing a piece of my own artwork on the front. (See examples here, and read related post: Christmas Cards)

20141130_144442Anyway, when I found my letter from 2004 a couple months ago, I had to take a few minutes for a stroll down memory lane. I enjoyed re-reading what I’d written about my oldest son’s graduation that year, my younger son’s various activities, and what totally un-exotic places my husband had been sent for work. As usual, I had saved my entry for the last paragraph. This is, in part, what I had to say on that subject:

… And, with more time to myself now, I’ve been able to do more reading again. I have been enjoying the challenge of straining my brain and expanding my vocabulary by reading some of the “classics.” I just finished all of Jane Austen’s novels. So, in that vein, let me close by saying that I have not the smallest scruple in wishing you joy this Christmas, the barest minimum of vexations, and considerable felicity in the year five-and-two-thousand.

20141130_144530I was sort of amazed when I read this, thinking to myself, “Wow, what a difference a decade makes!”

Ten years ago, I had only just recently discovered Jane Austen. I still had no idea that, inspired by her, I was about to embark on a second career as a novelist (It was only a month or so later that I sat down at my computer one day and started to write The Darcys of Pemberley). In fact, the bit above is my very first recorded attempt to translate my thoughts into “Jane Austen speak.”

So, I guess I’ve come a long way since then. Just goes to show you that life is full of surprises, and you never know what’s around the next corner. I feel I’ve been very blessed to have been given something new and interesting to do at this stage of my life, and to have experienced more success in it than I could have imagined.

Where were you and what were you doing 10 years ago? How has your life changed in unexpected ways since then? Are you flourishing in some new role you hadn’t foreseen?


Updates: For those of you who read the previous post What Should I Write Next?, I wanted to let you know that I’m actively pursuing both option #4 and #5 at this time! Also, I’m planning on doing a promotion for The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen in December with sale prices and prizes. Stay tuned for details!


About Shannon Winslow

author of historical fiction in the tradition of Jane Austen
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4 Responses to Oh, What a Difference a Decade Makes

  1. Cozynookbks says:

    Ten years ago I was settling into our new home in NC (from NYC), and shortly after welcoming my mom and grandma to our neighborhood. Grandma was exhibiting signs of Alzheimer’s at age 83. I was working for a chocolate company and learning how to live a more country life. Ten years later I no longer work outside of the home and it’s a blessing. Unfortunately grandma is very ill presently at 93. Like yourself I’ve become acquainted with Jane Austen within the last 10 years and I’m elated to have found the most wonderful author. Incidentally I read your book The Darcy’s of Pemberley and it was superb. Right now I’m enjoying reading more than I ever have, and social media has brought me so much joy because I can communicate with wonderful authors such as yourself. My motto these days is One Day At a Time.

    • Thanks for sharing, Cozy! Yes, each day holds enough joys and challenges in itself, doesn’t it. Sounds like your life continues to change and evolve too. Wishing you blessings wherever it takes you next!

  2. Pingback: Christmas Cards | Shannon Winslow's "Jane Austen Says…"

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