Spun Like a Possum
Well. That month went by fast.
Or not too fast. I guess it depends on one’s perspective.
A few weeks ago, I was coming home from the grocery store after dark. I was waiting at a busy intersection and saw something kind of fall out from under a car crossing the intersection in front of me. The thing tumbled around, righted itself, shook its head, and got hit from another direction. Amazingly, it only got dragged a bit, tumbled from under the second car, and ran into the bushes. When I saw its long hairless tail, I realized it was a possum. Somehow that dang thing survived a crazy busy intersection and two cars driving over it–at least long enough to dash into the bushes.
(I have no idea what happened to it after that. If it had been a cat or a dog or a kid, I would have stopped. I do not stop for possums. And I figured it would probably be pretty angry. Angry possums are not a thing to encounter voluntarily.)
That’s kind of my perspective–the perspective of that possum sitting in the shrubbery going, “what the hell just happened?”
It’s been that kind of month.
Everything started out with a rather rushed good-bye to my daughter-in-law and grandson. They were able to join my son sooner than expected, so we tried to squeeze in a few extra dinners with them and some time with the boy to get as many hugs as we could. I miss them, but they’re together now, and I’m glad they are able to settle in as a family.
We’ve also had the typical crazy end-of-the-school-year madness–field trips, final projects, AP tests and weird schedules, and all the other stuff that comes with the final weeks of school. Plus the attitudes of the end of the school year… It’s such a weird mix of emotions. The 8th grader is SO DONE with middle school. The senior is SO DONE with high school. The sophomore is… a 16-year-old boy. Oh yeah–he had a birthday this month and got his driver’s license.
On top of all that, the graduation preparation–my daughter will graduate in about 1.5 weeks, so that’s been a distraction. There were announcements to mail, senior award night to attend, last minute submissions for the newspaper, arrangements to make for transportation to and from the graduation (which is a lot more complicated than you might think owing to schedules, locations, grandparents, and limitations of cars)… And I also need to throw together a little party. I reserved a place–I just need to order food and buy some cheap decorations and enlist some help.
I thought this week might be a little calmer, but no. It was ridiculous. Nothing was normal. Between home repairs, new furniture delivery, wisdom tooth extraction, an overnight field trip, and a last-minute editing project, I have been spinning all week. And to top it all off, my husband accepted a new job, so he’s been starting the transition from old employer to new employer, which has been… distracting.
So… Here I sit on Friday, May 31, with a glass of wine half gone at 5:00 p.m., looking around and thinking, “what the hell just happened?”
A few things that didn’t happen:
- I did not finish Unquickened this month… but I came close. It’s now sitting just over 150,000 words. I am struggling with the ending. I know what happens–I just don’t quite know how it happens. And I don’t want it to happen, so I’m kind of reluctant to write it.
- I did not get back to my 8-minute running mile… but I am closer than I was a month ago. I think it’s safe to say my hamstrings have healed. Basically. I’m running again, but I’ve lost some conditioning, so I’m definitely slower than I was. But still, I managed four miles yesterday at just under 9 minutes per mile (on average–first mile was over 9). That’s pretty good. Definitely better than I was a month ago.
- I did not get as far as I wanted to get with my business… but I did make some progress. I wrote a lot of draft blog/newsletter posts and a couple of draft lead magnets. I have to start getting better at prospecting, though. That’s the big focus for June.
- I did not practice my habits very well… but neither did I completely fall off the habit wagon. I’m counting that a win. In the past, I would have just said, “well, I’m not perfect, so screw it–I give up.” Instead, the kinder, gentler Amy says, “well, I’m not perfect, which I knew, so I guess I just keep practicing, and maybe I’ll get better, or maybe I won’t, but at least I’m better than I was, and I’ll try not to go backward.”
So some things I wanted to happen didn’t happen, but a lot of things did happen that advanced some general goals. I’m trying to be generally satisfied with that.
I have such a hard time with contentment. Or happiness. Or satisfaction. Or something.
The thing is, if I focus on only one thing–like Unquickened, or commercial writing, or kids, or home, or fitness, or… anything, really–I end up with tunnel vision.
You know what else gets tunnel vision? Possums.
You know what gets run over by a car when the vision of running across a busy road supersedes all other thought? Yeah, that’s right–possums.
And sometimes the possum is lucky, and he just ends up spun around and a little disoriented, like I am right now.
And other times… well, you’ve seen those, I’m sure.
Looking ahead to summer, I don’t see that I have a lot of space to develop tunnel vision around anything. There’s too much stuff on my calendar, too many projects to launch or finish, and too many competing interests that have to at least be addressed to hyperfocus on anything. I understand the value of hyperfocus–it’s possible to get a lot done when one has the ability to hyperfocus on one particular area.
But at this point in my life, that kind of thing just isn’t possible.
So in the interests of not being spun like a possum between now and September, here are my modest goals for the next three months:
- Get through the end-of-school-year madness without losing my everlovin’. This means making sure the senior has all of the experiences she wants and is able to have a decent celebration of her accomplishment.
- Finish the first draft of Unquickened by the end of summer. Honestly, it should be done by now. I just need to put a little time into it. I don’t know if I’ll publish this year at this point, but I’d like to at least have a second draft done by December. I’ll revisit that goal in September.
- Push the prospecting, marketing, and sales of my commercial writing services as much as possible. I’m not going to get specific about those plans here, but suffice to say that I have specifics in mind.
- Take the new graduate to college in Montana in August. This trip will involve an extended vacation with the younger two as well. I don’t anticipate a lot of writing getting done in that window.
- Try to not go backward with the habits. That’s it. Just try to not go backward. That’s all I can expect this summer.
Every week, I look at my calendar and think, “oh, next week should be a little more normal,” and it never is. I think it’s time to abandon hope of “normal,” at least at this point in my life. The only normal is crazy. I guess I just need to embrace the crazy and try to not run out into traffic.
And maybe try to update y’all a little more than once a month.