On Joy, Satisfaction, and Storage Solutions
One more day of 2015.
Not gonna lie–I’ll be glad to say goodbye to this year.
This hasn’t been the worst year ever, but it’s been far from the best. I’m exhausted from the constant roller coaster of emotions. Not only am I on my own roller coaster, but parenting teens automatically puts me on their roller coasters as well. And then there are the two tweens–one who will enter that mysterious realm of teenagehood in May, the other who will enter middle school in September.
Middle school. My youngest–my baby–will be in sixth grade. This, in itself, is a torrent of emotion. No more elementary school. No more elementary projects. Thank God–I’m on my last fifth grade science fair project now, and it’s as hideous and evil as I remember the last three being. And don’t kid yourself with the whole “this is the kid’s project–they have to do the work” idea. Believe me, I’m not the one doing the work, but somehow, I’m the one suffering as the “coach.”
But I digress.
This is that odd time of year between Christmas and the restarting of school after the break. This is the quiet week. My 12-year-old said this morning, “last week, time went so slow, and this week, it’s going so fast.” Anticipation is a funny thing, lengthening or shortening time depending on our outlook on the upcoming event.
This week is galloping by at breakneck speed, though, and next week, it’s back to routines old and new. And it’s almost January, and I feel compelled to come up with some goals and plans for 2016. So I just kind of let my mind wander a bit (always dangerous) and here’s what I came up with:
Read only what I want to read this year. Some of you know I’ve been trying to wade through a massive TBR list for a few years now. I’ll be honest–I read a lot less when I feel like I have to read stuff. And I find myself grudgingly picking up books that are “on the list” but have no particular appeal because I feel like I have to read them, and then it takes me weeks to get through them. So I’ve already started on a campaign to just read this year–just read as much as I want of whatever I want. I devoured The Help in about three days (brilliant book); I’m working on Cold Mountain now (a slower read–savory, descriptive, poetic). Neither book is on the dreaded list. There may be some books I read in 2016 that are on the list, but they will only be those I want to read. The thing is, I need some joy in my life, and reading should be a source of joy, not a chore.
Declutter and deep clean my whole house. I’ve had a good start with this the last couple of months. All of the rooms that outsiders see regularly are done enough that I’m no longer embarrassed by them. I’m working on the deep cleaning piece, but at least the decluttering is nearly done in those public rooms. But there are other rooms that people don’t see that will take a lot more time–the garage, the three bedrooms, the attic, the closet under the stairs, and my husband’s office. Not to mention my whole backyard, which presents a constant struggle to maintain dominance over blackberry bushes and morning glory vines. Cleaning and decluttering don’t exactly bring joy, but they do bring satisfaction, and it will be nice to actually finish some things.
Improve my physical health. Yes, this partly involves losing weight, but it also involves cooking more, moving more, and generally paying attention more.
Improve my spiritual health. Jesus and I need to talk more. I sometimes fear opening that door, because I don’t always like the way those things go, but I do miss the connection I felt with the Almighty when I was in my dark time. I don’t miss anything else about that dark time, but I do miss that.
Lest you think these goals aren’t very specific, don’t worry–I’ve got firmer plans, but I’m holding them loosely, knowing that life often enjoys winging me upside the head with curveballs.
You know what’s not on the list?
Writing. Finishing Bloodbonded.
I need to pursue joy in 2016. 2015 has not been a joyful year. It’s had a lot of conflict–some I brought on, some I reacted to. It’s been frustrating in multiple ways. It’s been ridiculously busy–so much that sometimes I feel like I’m suffocating. And into that mess I’ve attempted to do some writing and editing, and it’s only produced ambivalence, at best. I would like to have some joy back in my life, my heart. The bitter truth is that writing doesn’t bring me joy anymore–only regret, bitterness, guilt.
And there’s a timeline issue. I had a decent window of time in which to process edits from beta readers and get a new draft of the book ready for one last round, and that window has pretty much closed. With the exception of a few notes from one beta and a few small edits from another, I don’t really have anything to work with. And now my calendar returns to the frantic pace of normal until June, and then it’s summer, and then my next potential window for editing comes sometime around…. I dunno… October? Maybe?
The thought has occurred to me that I probably sabotaged myself. I didn’t make my limited window clear to my beta readers. I told them to take their time, that I was in no rush at all to get the book back. And while that’s true, what I was really doing was giving them permission to use up that narrow window so that I wouldn’t have to face the book again.
I’d also be lying if I didn’t confess that I still think Bloodbonded is a steaming pile. And the fact that two of the three people reading it right now are people who love me more than most other people in the world and THEY can’t even finish it kind of doesn’t speak well of the book… I mean, if it can’t even hold their attention…
You finish the thought.
I think my heart hurts a lot right now. I think I need to pursue joy through some things that can’t be measured, but fill up my heart and soul–good books, for instance. I need to find satisfaction through things I can measure and quantify. You’d be amazed at how much joy and satisfaction one can find in a good storage solution artfully arranged under a bathroom sink.
I don’t want to go dark again, and I’m not planning to, but I’m not sure when I’ll be “back.” I need some time in my cave. I need some salve on my spirit. I need a better year, truthfully. So I’ll be back when I’m back. Maybe tomorrow, maybe next October. Sometime when I’ve found a little joy again.
Take care, everyone. May 2016 treat you well.