Wednesday, May 25, 2016

It's Not A Sprint

Well my friends much time has gone by. Life cruising along at top speed as always. I've had a lot of questions lately. Why haven't I been writing? When will I be writing again? Why did I stop writing?

My short answer is; none of your damn business!

The long answer will follow, because as always, I process my life pen to paper and it is time again. I'll share my long answer, in all it's twists and rambles only because I think it's a part of every one's day to day life. I don't think it's specific to me putting words on a page. I could, of course, be wrong here, but I expect then that you will tell me so in the comments. Which, by the way, I'm looking forward to having some of now that I'm firing this thing up again. It is both good and bad to write in a vacuum, but that is a post for another day.

Some of the answers are easy and obvious. For example, writing is work and takes time. Frankly some times it takes a lot of time. Actually it always takes a lot of time. Not always the obvious time of me sitting in front of a screen, but time spent thinking, jotting down notes and ideas too. The time can be a sacrifice of other things I'd like to do. My sacrifice can be as lame as not watching a TV show I'd like to see or as big as not getting something done around the house I need to do or even missing out on time with friends. Part of stopping was to get some of these things back in balance.

Here's another easy obvious one. Writing is hard. I am lazy by nature. I like to avoid hard work, despite knowing the reward that comes from hard work, the way I feel after accomplishing something hard, the lessons I'm teaching my kids by setting hard goals and working for them. The kids watching me work hard and seeing it as the normal way to reach something I desire is important. Learning to balance the hard with the lazy has been a challenge for me. I have always seemed to bounce back and forth between the two. I am the pendulum. All in and working hard or all out and laying low.

I've been learning the balance of hard work vs easing out, oddly enough, by trying to get myself a bit more healthy. Pen to paper processing of my life was becoming too complex. There were too many things happening that just weren't things I could put out here for the world to see. They weren't my stories to tell, being only a minor character. There was also a battle in my head that I couldn't settle. So, I put the pen down and started walking. Just me, alone, birds, trees, silences. Lots of thinking. Eventually the thinking gave way to not thinking and just feeling good walking. That led to a new mental game, could I run?

As life often does, one thing led to another and now I'm well on my way to better health. I have my friends I work out with and do fun runs with. We set crazy goals and accomplish them. I almost feel bad now on days I choose not to work out in some way.

But where is the lesson in balance? Well, it's the same lesson I learned in special needs parenting, foster parenting and regular parenting. Why I couldn't carry it over to all the pieces of my life all at once? I don't know.

Here it is. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

That might be the single most important mantra to have in life.

It's a marathon, not a sprint.

What has worked for me in parenting, focusing on the small things with consistency, goes much further than grasping for the whole giant goal all at once.  The kid struggles in school for 5000 reasons, pick one or two at most to work on, not a massive plan to pull it all together all at once. Stay at your pace and don't worry about all the other kids. That's how it is in fitness for me too. It's easy to get sucked into all the catchy phrases and tips for going faster and further and being stronger and thinner and try to do it all at once. In the end though, it's more important to get moving every day, and try your best every day to be a little better than the day before. There is no magic to it. No one tip or trick will make your kids be the ideal in behavior or sports or academics or spirituality or kindness. No one thing will make you fast, strong, thin or whatever.

It all comes of hard working baby steps taken consistently. It's important to know you will fall off and lapse and not be perfect. It's more important to get back out and take the next steps.

So, writing and that battle in my head. I got caught in a trap, just like anyone else might have. I bought into all or nothing. I lost sight of my success being measured only by me. I forgot that I set my rules and my goals. I don't need to write 8 hours a day or hit 5000 words a day. I don't need to judge my worth by the amount of readers or comments. My stories don't need to be best sellers to be good. I tell my stories because they are mine to tell. The amount of books published and sold by the time of my death doesn't make me, me. It isn't my value or worth.

But it is my job to tell them, to write them. I cheat us both if I don't. I don't know what your thing is, but it's the same, not doing it cheats us both.

And so my baby steps bring me back to the blog, back to dusty half written novels and words on the page.

It's good to be home.


Anonymous said...

Glad you are writing again! I love when you write.

Jen said...

Thank you!!