January 2022–The Year of Living Authentically

Welcome to my website. This is where I will be writing my reflections, thoughts, and pithy screeds from here on out. I will be continuing my author newsletter to keep people abreast of my professional appearances, publications, and so on. However, I’ve decided to replace The Crone, my Substack publication, with reflections in my blog in an effort to streamline. I can link to these things in my social media, and there will be less overall duplication this way.

Or, I guess, work smarter, not harder. Plus, you can leave (moderated) comments here, as long as that continues to work in the age of the troll.


There’s nothing like the third year of a pandemic to get you to really reflect on what matters, and this year I’m keen to stay in the zone of what matters.

This past week I’ve been sick. Not with Covid (and I have the test to prove it!), but with a thing that affected my ears and kept me on the couch for literally four days until I staggered into town on Friday to hang out waiting for the doctor for a literal three hours. My reward seemed understated–a bottle of hard won meclizine, but I’ll admit I was able to do things more like normal today, albeit much more slowly.

During the last several days I’ve been watching a lot of television. One of the shows I’ve completed was Canadian comedy Kim’s Convenience. You never know where life lessons are going to come from. Here’s the situation: Mrs. Kim was making a list for what she would do after Mr. Kim died. Mr. Kim was not planning on dying any time soon, and he was affronted that Mrs. Kim had many things she wished to experience when he was gone. He started making his own list, and the couple’s daughter suggested that maybe the time for both of them to do these things they wanted was when they were both alive and could appreciate the delight of them.

Oh. Well, yeah. Sure. There’s that.


I always mean well, and every year I make more progress. And every year, eventually, I get caught up in the agenda of other things where I am less authentically myself. It’s all the stuff I tell myself about what matters, and the relative worth of a variety of things, and expectations I manufacture for other people. I have made progress. Long ago, I gave up living for the college, and I write and publish my own fiction now, rather than waiting passively for a dream from others who give me the thumbs up to write. I am a work in progress and I’ve been making progress.

It’s just…well, why shouldn’t my whole life be satisfying? I know I can’t be happy all the time, that’s not what I’m saying. What I’m looking at is a general sense of well being and a general sense of contribution. I’m trying to make sure that purchases, actions, social life, all these things are based on who I am, rather than who other people think I should be, or more to the point, who I think other people think I should be. That’s some messed up headology there, but that’s the legacy of being the pleaser/star kid. You know, I’m pushing 60. Time to be done with that.

My goal this year is to lay out who I am, the pieces that I know, and the pieces that I have yet to know. All of me, as complicated as I am, with my gender shifting, my love for costume and theater, the living of my writing, the need I have to give back. All of it. Whatever I do this year needs to come back to who I am, and I have to feel my choices are the right, honorable, authentic and true choices.

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

One thought on “January 2022–The Year of Living Authentically”

  1. I liked your thoughts you shared. I too, am nearing 60 and also tend to be a pleaser at home & work. Don’t want people upset with me or think I didn’t do enough. You’ve given me something to ponder.

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