We all have ’em and they usually pop up unexpectedly: family emergencies, day-job crises, and anything else that’s intent on throwing us off plans we’d meticulously put in place.
I’d already been leaning too hard in one direction for a while, starting around the first of this year. Much of 2019 has been spent pushing my writing career forward, neglecting quality time with my son, not fully supporting my wife in her own artistic endeavors, and also being lackadaisical concerning the security of my day job (read on) so that I can still pay the rent and medical bills (read on) for the foreseeable future.
In the end, I was pretty selfish as I chased my dream, pretending I could do it all.
Back in the middle of March, I realized that doing it all wasn’t reality. I don’t know about you, but I’m shocked (Shocked! I say) to find out that life doesn’t align perfectly around our desires. And can you believe the notion that self-improvement and progress doesn’t stick to a steady incline? Such nerve!
Yes, folks. There are dips, bumps, and hillocks all along the way.
Just over the past month, my company let my fellow employees and I know that they’re going to be outsourcing quite a few of our positions. We’re all in limbo, not knowing who’s going to be affected, but we’ll find out over the next couple of months.
On top of that, a sickness of plague-like proportions hit our family a couple of weeks ago that left us, for all practical purposes, walking dead. My son’s illness developed into full-blown pneumonia which required multiple visits to the ER and pediatrician.
He’s doing much better now, thank God, but my wife and I are, how can I put it–a little more mature in years–and our bodies are taking a little longer to recover. Dealing with a sick child is difficult enough when one’s healthy, but we’ve had our share of sleepless, cough-filled nights and endless days while trying to keep it all together.
Anyway, I promise you, I’m not here for a pity party. Things could be much, much worse.
All of this is to say that, believe it or not, I see a smidgen of silver lining on those dark clouds, and to add to the cliche bucket, a ray of light at the end of the tunnel.
Whenever my son and wife have been catching up on sleep, I’ve been able to spend some time at the keyboard, writing more in the past week than I have in two months.
I’ve also been able to read more as we’ve been shut-ins. I’ve gotten through a novel and several short stories. All inspiration for the well.
And last, but not least, I had a potent reminder yesterday of why I even bother to put so much pressure on myself:
I was invited about a month ago by my favorite mom-and-pop bookstore to participate in a local authors event. I only prayed that I would be well enough to attend. Luckily, I was. To spend time with fellow authors and talk to prospective customers about my work, even under an antihistamine haze, is a pleasure that’s hard to replicate.
Through this life-roll, I’ve had bits of reaffirmation–a few extra kicks in the pants that I need to keep coming back to the writing.
So, even though I’m not exactly writing at warp speed at the moment, I’m building up to it, knowing full well that the next bump or dip is somewhere around the corner. That’s OK. All the more reason to use the momentum available and appreciate the little gifts of time as they come.
May your own bits of reaffirmation reach you as well. Keep up the good fight!