Decades Come and Decades Go

Janni Lee Simner
4 min readAug 23, 2022

Or what I’ve been doing the past ten years

Recently, when I told an extended family member I had work to do, he snapped back at me, “What work? When was the last time you wrote a book — ten years ago?”

His response says more about him than me, of course. I’ve gotten “come on, you’re not really working reactions” from the occasional person near to me at every stage of my career-though less and less frequently over time-and I’ve come to know this response as a sort of leveling, a way of saying, “Don’t think too well of yourself.”

I’ve also come to understand that most people don’t bother saying “Don’t think too well of yourself” unless they’re feeling badly about their own selves, and are looking for some way to soothe that insecurity.

And yet. I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t an inner voice in my own head, too, after so many years, that also sometimes chimes in to say, “Come on, really, who do you think you are? What do you think you’re doing?

When that voice speaks up, the answer can seem like, “Not much.”

So I’m writing a post to push back against that inner voice. I’m writing a post to list out something of what I actually have been doing this past decade. Because from the outside, these might look like quiet years, but from the inside, they look really rich and full and challenging and significant and wonderful, and I need to remind myself of that.

Along the way, maybe this post will help some of you reading it to push back against your inner voices, too. Because whatever you’ve been doing the past ten years, it matters, and it’s enough, and you have every right to be proud of it.

And in the end, really, whatever we do or fail to do, whatever we achieve or fail to achieve, isn’t the entirety of who we are anyway. Every single one of us is bigger and more wondrous and more wonderful than that.

What I’ve Been Doing, 2012–2022 Edition
(An Incomplete List)

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Janni Lee Simner

Novelist = Creator of impossible worlds. Blogger = Trying to understand and improve the possible world we humans share. https://www.simner.com/fiction/