On the day I turned 50—my 10-year-old son summed it up with this question, “Mom, can you believe that you’ve been alive for 50 years?” Nope, I still can’t believe it, but with age comes wisdom (in theory)— I’m still growing up as I navigate this earth trying to figure out who the heck I am.
I’ve learned that the thought of turning 49 launched my butt off the couch to embark on a personal fitness journey and that during the process, I lost 19 pounds, revived my confidence and strength, and discovered that the only way to defy and embrace middle age is to write about it, “put myself out there,” and keep trying.
I can do 69 consecutive cartwheels, cross the monkey bars, and do a headstand —three things I never thought I could do over a year ago. I coasted and stayed within my comfort zone for decades, but when I realized that if I live to be 100 — that means my life today is half-over, and I woke up.
I could keep coasting and give in to the fatigue that comes with aging, or I could reclaim myself, fight for that spark I lost and invent my own self-mantra. I chose the latter, and created “Try, Mary, Try!"
When I followed my mantra, it became the “secret power” towards bettering my life through exercise, nature, writing, and encouraging others to shine.
Photo of the author taken by N.J. McMillan.
My first true love is short-story fiction and I've won a few rewards for my stories in fiction writing contests. I've published memoir articles, health and lifestyle pieces in magazines such as Teacher, Westcoast Families, HerStry, Elephant Journal, and a few local newspapers. In the past, I wrote print ads for an entertainment newspaper, 30 and 60 second commercials for a radio station and occasionally talked on-air about community events.
I write about inspiration, creativity, and self-empowerment. My stories are driven by exercise, nature, people, parenting, life lessons, growing up in the 70s & 80s, and humor. When I say “humor,” I confess that my 10-year-old son is way funnier than I am and that my writing reflects on the engaging conversations we have.
Since I joined Medium in 2020, my blog, www.marychangstorywriter.com has transformed into an “organized shoebox” collection of my past stories (pre-Medium) along with links to my Medium articles, as most of my writing time has been devoted to this platform.
My stories have been published in: Age of Empathy, An Injustice, The Ascent, Better Humans, Live Your Life on Purpose, P.S. I Love You (self/personal growth), The Brave Writer, Inspired Writer, The Writing Cooperative (writing/self), Modern Parent (parenting), Fitness and In Health (fitness) The Bad Influence, The Haven, MuddyUm (humor), Feedium, Illumination, Writers’ Blokke (general/writing about Medium), About Me Stories (bio), Counter Arts, For Awe, Snapshots, (photo stories) and self-published (self/life lessons).
I'm the creator and editor of the Six Word Photo Story Challenge publication which was inspired by the popular original 6-Word Photo Story Summer Challenge writing prompt (2021) on Medium. The publication's philosophy and writing style, "Can you tell story in six words inspired by a photo taken by yourself?" has manifested a spark-driven passion, obsession, and creative addiction for many writers.
Since the pub's launch in September 2021, a village of readers and writers are intertwining through the vibrant photographic short stories and have created an intimate web of encouragement and support. My headstand below is the photo that's featured in my submission guidelines, and if you'd like to be added as a writer, please leave a comment there.
"Beach headstand" Photo of the author by author's son.
How I Stay Fit
I'm an active parent (but I still haven't outrun my son during any spontaneous foot race), a fitness enthusiast with a passion for cold wild water swimming, forest hikes, yoga and cycling. But sometimes a brisk walk, good set of push-ups, squats and jumping jacks do the trick to get my mind and body pumping.
I snap a good photo sometimes, am constantly taking photos for ideas for new prompts and appreciate the art of photography, but I'm not an expert. I love creating monthly challenges whether it's related to writing, photography, fitness or food. I do a high jump, cartwheel or headstand every time someone reads my stories! How to Support Mary Chang Story Writer's Writing You can read, clap 1-50x, highlight sentences that resonate with you, and write comments on her stories if her writing connects with you in some way. You can follow her, subscribe to get her stories via email, or read and follow her Six Word Photo Story Challenge publication. To do this, you can create a free Medium account. If you'd like to support Mary Chang Story Writer further, you can sign up for a membership using the referral link below. A small portion of your membership fee directly supports Mary Chang Story Writer and other writers you read. You'll also get full access to every story on Medium. https://marychang-10894.medium.com/membership.
Gratitude for your reading time.
Photo of the author taken by N.J. McMillan