I don’t like complaining … in public, anyway. And I don’t like making excuses. Unfortunately, complaining and excuses seem to go hand-in-hand for me. The thing about complaining is that there is always someone worse off than me, which should give some perspective. And the thing about excuses is, nobody cares. We all have excuses. We all have reasons why we haven’t done this and why we’ll be late in doing that.
Lately, all I’ve been doing is complaining and making excuses: to my husband, my coworkers, my cats. Because of that, I haven’t been writing for my blog. I want to, but when I’m being tormented by the demons of Angst, well, I don’t think my writing is very entertaining or fun to do.
You see, I have very little to complain about. […]
In fact, I just deleted two whole paragraphs where I complain about … something. This is my desire for privacy kicking in. My deep-seated belief that some things just should not be shared publicly. Not that anything awful has happened. No, no, no. It’s just the usual issue of balance and I’m not talking about yoga.
So let’s be positive. Or, rather, let me in this blog post try to retake control of my life. The thing is, I’m getting too old for this, among other things. I want to slow down. Everyone seems to want to speed up. I want to simplify my life. Everyone seems to want more and more things, more bells, more whistles, more distraction. I want to minimize the distractions in my life. And I write this after having sent out a slough (for me, anyway) of tweets.
Maybe I want others to feel my pain. Maybe my use of Twitter and Facebook isn’t so much because I want to “connect.” Maybe I just want to assault people with the same brain-numbing bombardment of tweets, pokes, comments, Likes, and Mentions that I experience after one of my WP posts goes live. But that’s not true. For one thing, I don’t receive that many tweets, pokes, comments, Likes, and Mentions after any of my WP posts. And I can choose when I respond, should I choose to respond. So what’s the problem?
You see, there really isn’t any problem. When I write down my angst, it suddenly seems so trivial.
A couple of decades ago when I was a doctoral student, I fell into a depression. A mental one. I once literally fell into a depression and sprained my left ankle. It occurred about the same time. Anyway, I digress. I was seeing a counselor at the university, a wonderful woman recommended by another student. During one session, she asked me what was the worst thing that would happen if I dropped out of the doctoral program. How would it ruin my life? I thought about it and realized that my life would not be ruined if I left the program. I would be fine. Although the program was a big part of my life, it didn’t contribute to my happiness … like my husband did, or my knitting, or my friends, or my cats, or my writing, or my walks in the neighborhood. That one question changed my whole perspective. I had control. I could decide to stay, or to go. I didn’t have to let the program rule me.
Eventually I secured a “real” job (that is, one with better wages than that of the lowly student research assistant), finished my coursework, and simply drifted away. I admit I toyed with returning to the doctoral program on occasion. But deciding not to return is a decision I’ve never regretted.
So, what is this about? Just that I do have control. I have some control over how things run my life, or, perhaps I should say, whether things do run my life.
I think of my counselor and that pivotal moment in her office, and I ask myself, what is the worst that can come of this? What are my priorities? If writing a blog post is not in the top five of my priorities for the day or even the week, what bad will come of that? If I choose a morning yoga practice, reading The Hypothetical Girl by Elizabeth Cohen, grooming my cats (alas, they have fleas even with Revolution), going to the gym with my husband, and (finally) knitting while watching a movie with my husband, all of that ahead of writing a blog post, who is there to fault me? Do you think I’m spending too much time with my husband?
Yes, there is so much writing I want to do. I started working on a revision of Clemency a few weeks ago. And I’m writing book reviews in my head. But there’s time, isn’t there? Does everything have to be done now? Taking control means that I believe I have all the time in the world. It means that I don’t live as if this day may be my last. It means that as long as I enjoy what I am doing when I am doing it, then I am having a good day. And if that means I don’t get to my novel that day, well, you know, I think I’ll live.
And what about you, dear Reader and dear Friend? Have you found a balance between living your life and writing? Share any and all secrets 🙂