It hasn't been an easy couple of weeks. Nothing terrible has happened, just a general feeling of malaise, which happens to be a side-effect of a prescription medicine I've been taking. I plan to have the feeling disappear with a little POP when I swallow the last pill in three more days. In the meantime though, I'm seeing my world through blue-colored glasses, which isn't a bad thing to do from time to time.
I read a blog post this week by a mom whose children are just entering the busy stage. She wrote about the process of discovering how much busy-ness is right for her family. If you've ever been there, you know what a hard question this can be, since the answer affects not just the present, but your children's futures as well. This mom was obviously leaning toward simplicity, and she posted a link about the benefits of becoming un-busy.
Although far from their original purpose, in my blue-colored fog, these articles pointed me to a truth about myself that I hadn't thought much about:
Writing has been my main hobby for five years now. For about half that time, I was writing my first novel. I didn't have much experience with writing then, and I made a lot of crazy mistakes that I don't make anymore. My writing has improved, and I should feel pleased and joyful at the realization.
But the fact that I've been writing for five years has settled like a weight around my shoulders.
Do you have any idea how many other dreams and aspirations I've put on the back burner so that I can write? Myriads.
That little niggling idea that I might homeschool my children at some point? Vanished.
Being crafty enough to have a beautiful house? Ha.
At least a clean home? Weed free lawn? Haha.
Impressive resume? Hahaha
That published book??? Sigh.
It's a fact of life people: You can't do everything. Every time you choose one thing, you un-choose other things. Un-choose carefully. Notice! If you choose not to do something this week because you're writing, chances are you'll be choosing not to do that same thing five years from now.
So I'm here at my own little crossroads, looking back at the path I chose five years ago. It's littered with other things I would have enjoyed doing but left by the wayside.
How does one even stop being an author? Is it possible? Its like deciding to stop breathing. And how does one decide to be an author less often? That's like deciding you're only going to be a mom for a few hours a day. You don't just stop being a mom because you send your children to school. You ARE a mom, no matter where they are. Same with being an author. You can't stop just because you refuse to turn the computer on one day.
My friend Karen sent me this fantastic article that explains the way I'm feeling lately, which says, among other things:
"No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others." (Martha Graham)
Am I more alive than the others? That sounds like a nice trade-off, but I'm not sure its true, at least not today, though again, I can choose to blame that on the medicine.
This morning I opened up my e-mail and found this blog post by Lisa Takeuchi Cullen (on The Happiness Project), entitiled "I Am Constantly, Compulsively Worrying Over The Choices I Have Made." I guess I'm not the only author who has ever suddenly stopped and wondered, "Wait a minute. Why am I doing this? Is it really worth everything I've sacrificed along the way?"
Five years from now, I'll definitely be making some money at writing. Who knows how much? Hopefully at least as much as I make at my part-time teaching job right now, which is aiming pretty low, I suppose. My dream is that my writing will add some goodness to a world that is slipping, and that it will touch hearts in need of touching. But I also hope I'll have figured out how to pick up a few of my other dreams I've let fall by the wayside. It's way past time.