I should be writing right now. Finishing those damn last two chapters of my novel. I’m at 100,000 words now, and it still isn’t done. Even though I wrote over 5,000 words again yesterday, there’s still these few scenes to do and they’re in fact the most important ones. And I really look forward to writing them… that is, if life wasn’t so messy right now.
I’m drowning under work at the office, under work at home, I wake up every once in a while and remember that I have to do the tax papers this week as well, and then stuff just continues adding up, making me want to close my eyes and wait until it all goes away. Not exactly what one would call a very adult reaction to everyday stress.
And then I read an article about slow living today. And I thought to myself “Huh, yeah right, like anyone’s got the luxury to do that.” I know it’s all about the priorities you put yourself, to avoid anything that simply eats away your time without any real outcome, bla bla bla. I know. But there just is no way that I can even fit in reading a single chapter in the evening because I’m so exhausted, that I simply fall into bed, only to wake up the next morning feeling like I just had a micro nap. The worst thing is, that I do need a lot of sleep, which is absolutely not practical for someone like me, who is chasing dreams constantly, multi-tasking and jumping between convincing myself that, “yes, I can do this, I just have to get it all done” and “this is crazy, I am crazy, what the hell was I thinking to start any of this?”
It is quite tiresome to have a brain that works non stop, stumbling upon new ideas every minute. The worst part about it is that it’s not only about ideas about stories to write. No, that would make just one area to try and prioritize. No, my brain goes like this: ooooh, I have an idea for a sweater, which would be inspired by the picture I saw in a magazine recently, but I’d have to find another pattern for some other idea I have in my mind, and then I’d have to make the calculations to see what would work and find the right wool, but then, if I do go to the craft shop, I could also buy the new fabric I saw there, and once I’m in the shop, I’ll buy three sewing magazines and get out with at least 10 new projets to sew before spring. And then I’ll go upstairs to my crafting room and realize that I still have that blanket I was working on and remember my promise to myself to first finish the projects I had in mind a year ago as well as find something to do with all the fabrics I bought just like that for no obvious reason. And then I’ll see my office and remember the taxes… And in the evening I think about an idea for a children’s book (I’ve never even thought about writing for children, hell, I can’t even finish a somewhat okayish novel!).
So you’ll maybe see how tiring all of this is… and this is just the tiny part of my very very private life, that takes place when I get up, from 6 to 7 in the morning (I start work at 7 a.m.) and then again takes over in the evening at about 9 p.m., once everything’s cleaned up and the kids are put off to bed. Which would be ok if I was a night owl that didn’t need any sleep. Unfortunately, I’m quite the contrary, so I’ll fall asleep with all these ideas in my mind, trying to scream one louder than the other. Also, I’ll end up with drawings of pattern ideas, of mind maps for stories, of ideas for jewelry, …
Today, I had my day when I usually try to squeeze as much work as possible in those 5 hours (instead of 10 hours on all the other working days) then hurry home in time to get an hour of workout done in our very basic gym in the basement, then go through my mails again, make some urgent calls and leave to get the kids at school. As I don’t have any time to write during the day on Tuesdays I thought I’d skip the fitness and do it in the evening instead, and try and write as much as I could to get the novel done.
But then, a foreboding of spring came along, with sunshine and 16 degrees (Celsius). It was pure bliss. I thought to myself: If I ever have my own company, I’ll force my staff to take their day off on days like these and go outside to get some sun. It felt like exactly the thing my body and mind needed. So I decided to do something that would give me a bad conscience and more stressed out nights: do nothing. I baked a cake for the kids as a surprise when they would get home, put some laundry in the machine, but then, I simply sat outside with a stack of women’s magazines that I never seem to be able to get through. I didn’t write. I didn’t do any fitness DVD. I didn’t even go out for a run. Nothing.
I realized that it would be really stupid to not take this perfect moment for relaxation and try to get a moment to breathe fitted in the schedule, when the entire nature’s forces were doing everything to make you feel good. It didn’t feel right to go into a basement without any windows and where it’s always freezing cold and work my ass off. It didn’t feel right either to sit down at the laptop, which I obviously wouldn’t be able to take outside, as the sunlight would make it impossible to work.
It was in the end maybe only some 30 minutes, but they really were worth it. Ok, so the entire thing together with a glass of champagne and nothing to do all afternoon would have been even better but… everyone’s got a real life and work to do, which is quite fine, actually. I did manage to cross off a number of things this afternoon, such as finish setting up the second raised vegetable bed to get it ready for spring, prepare the small pots for he new seeds to start this week, get three laundry machines done and dried outside in the sun, and fed the kids, prepared lunches for the next days and had a little quality time with the children. And the kitchen is for once not a mess when I go to bed.
All in all, not too bad. And although I really should be writing now, I feel like I can’t. I’m looking so much forward to these two last chapters, but I’m also feeling that I’m rushing it all, trying to tick off all the boxes in my check-lists that simply keep growing and growing and pulling me down and burying me under their weight.
And so I decided to write this little post instead. Because what I realized today, is that at some point, you have to learn to live your life according to the seasons. And I don’t only mean the seasons of your life, such as when you’re still single, or when you become a mother, when your children grow up…. no, I really mean the seasons of the year. Right now, spring is around the corner, and if finally after weeks of rain and grey clouds hanging low and making everyone moody, the sun breaks through for once, you just have to let everything rest on hold and take a break. Do the things that one should do in such weather. Prepare the garden if you’re into flowers and vegetables. (yes, another of my newly acquired passions that I’m just as much a novice at as all the other stuff, yet refuse to give up on). When the rain returns next week (which it will according to the forecast), I’ll have lots of time to go and do some fitness in the basement or to do the taxes or some cleaning inside the house that is just as urgent as many other things around here.
After all, we’re all aware that we should try to eat seasonal produce instead of strawberries in the winter, and things like that. Why don’t we realize that our bodies and minds maybe also need to follow that circle? It does make sense, considering we are part of this same nature as animals and plants are, doesn’t it?