Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I'm letting myself go. Really.

I've barely worn make-up in almost 3 weeks. I've literally worn nothing but sweats and t-shirts for that time, too. I haven't worn my good bras in weeks. And there are days I say, bra? What bra? I don't fix my hair, just slide it up in a clip. I don't set my alarm. I barely have a routine. I don't even eat at regular meal times.

On vacation? Hiatus? Just don't give a damn anymore? Well, no, no and no. I'm just in recovery. No, not THAT kind of recovery. From surgery.

And during this recovery, or my makeover as I joked to a few of my friends, I have learned some things about myself, my life, and my writing.

1. About me. I'm a busy person, normally. I work 9-10 hours every day at the office, come home, and start into writing work. Writing work means either promotion, updating sites, networking with other writers, or actually writing. When I'm not in the office, I'm traveling. Leaving on a jet plane. I average about 2 week-long trips a month. So being at home these past two weeks I have learned that I can get, ahem, bored. I've longed for the time to stay at home and just write. But I've learned this past few weeks that I may need more in my life that just being at home writing. So, when I start getting those six-figure contracts, I may still quit the day job, but I might have to work as a Wal Mart greeter or something in order to get my fix of human conversation once in a while.

2. About my writing.
I have learned that I can write all day long. Not the way I thought I might, but I can do it. Of course during the recovery, it was difficult to sit at the computer for long periods of time, so I developed this sort of sit and write, get up and wander, sit and write, go check the laundry, sit and write, go water the plants, sit and write, go fix the dinner, sit and write... You get it. It's a different pattern than when I felt I had to get-it-all-down-at-once-because-there-was-little-time. And besides, keeping moving is good for us, right? I mean, we writers sit a lot all day long and you know that they say about women's butts when you sit all day long. It ain't pretty.

3. About routine.
Does it take discipline to be an all-day long writer! Uh...hello? For two weeks I couldn't figure out why I wasn't getting anything done. Of course, we'll dismiss latent anesthesia reactions and really good painkillers. But why was I so...out of whack with it all? It took me a while to get into a routine and that was weird. I thrive on routine. But viola! then it started to naturally find itself. I had to wonder. Is this what it will be like when I retire? With no routine? With no discipline to my life? Ah...well...once my life sorta began falling into a routine, I started to love it. Without the alarm, I started getting up naturally around the same time every morning. I'd check email. Have breakfast. Take a walk. Come home and take a shower. And start writing. Nice little routine. And it would take off from there. The discipline of that is good. When I retire, I know I'll have to have some sort of routine. They say kids thrive on routine, I think grown adults do, too.

4. About my neighborhood.
As I said, I'm gone away from my home a lot. And rarely home during the day when I am home. I've lived in my present house for about 1 1/2 years now. What's pitiful about that is that I know two people in my neighborhood -- my neighbors on both sides. Oh, I wave at the young family across the street and the guy directly across and I've met a few dogs on my evening walks. But the past couple of weeks I've been able to experience day-living in my neighborhood. I've learned that there is a beautiful young black and white cat who is very skiddish and haunts the neighborhood. I haven't figured out who her family is yet, or if she has one. I've noticed that the vast majority of the households are young families with small children. The moms and kids walk a lot during the day. I've noticed that it is quieter during the day that in the evening and that very few people who don't live here wander through. That's a good thing. I've noticed that some people take better care of their yards than other people and that I like to compare my yard to theirs. I rank them in my head. I've noticed that people walk on the streets rather than the sidewalks. While walking, I've actually met and talked with quite a few more people on my street. And I've noticed that we have a healthy variety of birds that live here -- blackbirds, redbirds, bluebirds, robins, cat birds, doves, orioles, hawks, and the occasional soaring buzzard. Once I saw a mother deer and her twin fawns on an early morning walk.

So, am I really letting myself go? I think not. I'm taking this time to clear my mind and open it up to some different ideas and ponder what it would be like to live every single day as a full time writer. I know I would love it. I'd find plenty to occupy my days. I also know I will need human contact. Maybe I'd have to teach a college class or two rather than be a WalMart greeter, but I would need to do something. I know I'd fall into a routine, and I'd figure out what that routine would be. And I know I would be productive.

Until then, however, I'm content with my hectic life. I'll be back in it full force in a couple of weeks. And rather than constantly think -- I wish I was home writing -- I'll embrace my job and my travels and my experiences with a new gusto and realize that all of it is part of me, and makes up who I am, and provides me with the things I need to be the person I am. It's where I am in life right now. And it's okay. Because I know I can let it all go when the time is right. And I'll be fine. And a much better writer for it.



Sloane Taylor said...

Great post, Maddie. Congratulations on finding more to life than work.

Anonymous said...

Don't you just love discovering new things about yourself and your surroundings that you never noticed before? Great post!