How does this sound? You’ve cleaned up the morning dishes, cleaned up your writing room (it is the first room in the house as you come in the door and gets loaded up with coats, mittens, boots, nerf guns, you name it), the dishwasher is humming away, the dryer is spinning in the next room. You’ve got a large mug of hot tea by your side, journal and pen in hand, ready to write down your writing goals for 2018. The house is quiet, surrounded in fresh white snow and the family is at work and school and the dog is planted at your feet. Cozy, huh. Continue reading “Best Laid Plans”
Over and over we are told to write down our goals. Make them specific. Make them actionable. Make them accountable. Usually, I’m tempted to go overboard and decide to overhaul everything in my life from diet to exercise to a promise to write every day. I also throw in things like being more patient, showing more compassion to others and being more organized. While these are all good intentions, I think this year I need to be a little more realistic. While I do want to cut out sugar, I know it’s going to be baby steps. While I want to get to the gym more, I’m not going to make a rigid commitment to go every day. Same with writing.
One thing I’m going to commit to is to give other people positive feedback as much as possible. I follow a lot of authors on Twitter and have come to realize that they like to hear when you enjoy their work (makes sense!). I am an avid user of Goodreads to track my reading but have done very little by way of reviewing the books as I read them. I vow to change that this year and already have a couple of reviews under my belt. I realize this is only January 3rd so I’m going to ask a question that has always rattled around in my reading brain – do audiobooks count toward your total book count for the year?
I had a nice reminder from WordPress that today is my anniversary with them. Two years ago, in the mess of my life in early recovery from alcoholism, I decided to blog about my experience. I wrote mostly for myself but if I helped anyone else along the way, I would be happy a million times over. It was a very tough year that included internal struggles, family struggles and the death of my mom just weeks before her 75th birthday.
At the end of 2016, I decided I wanted to create a fresh new start for the new year and locked up the old blog and started anew with iamwriting.blog. It was as if I was locking away my recovery (and the death of my mom) to say that part of my life is done, now onward and upward. But it turns out that is an integral part of who I am now and I thought it fitting to unlock my old blog in case anyone can use it to glean hope after putting away the alcohol. It is a truly worthwhile venture.
I was ashamed for so long about being an alcoholic. Like many others, I denied it and tried different ways to control it on my own and kept silent about it just for that reason and it wasn’t until these past two years of recovery that I’m becoming more comfortable in my own skin. While I don’t shout my disease and recovery from the rooftops, I feel blessed to have been on this path and for the people who have come into my life because of it. I have a new peace today that I never thought possible. I used to be a daily drinker, many times to the point of blackout and even though I said over and over I wasn’t going to drink that day, I would, in the end, and I thought this was just how it was going to be. I’m so grateful it’s not like that anymore.
So in honor of my blogversary, I decided to change the settings on my old blog from private to public and maybe someone who is ready to find their way to recovery will stumble upon it and find some comfort knowing others have traveled that same path before them.
Now onward to 2018.
I am not who you think I am. We present ourselves to the world as we want to be seen, all our positive attributes on display as a freshly unfurled flag on the fourth of July. Privately, when absolutely no one is looking, I let all those ideals go by the wayside. There’s actually nothing I like better than to be on my own in my own house. It’s easy to want this because it’s a rare thing – I love my family dearly but I crave alone time.
What do I do on my own that I don’t want my family to know about? I am lazy. I spend an hour debating whether to just clean the house so I can relax without it hanging over me (because I do love a clean house) or just let it go until the last minute. Often times, I’ll clean up one small space where I plan to plant myself for the day, a book and tea and candy within easy reach. I don’t do the laundry because it’s impossible to ever be done with it, just as it’s impossible to keep a tidy house.
I wasn’t ready for Christmas this year. The outdoor decorations didn’t get done the day after Thanksgiving and therefore did not get done at all save for throwing a wreath on the front door. A week ago we managed to get a tree and string some lights but it sat undecorated until 3 days before Christmas. I’ll admit I wasn’t feeling well and then it turned into pneumonia. I was happy enough to wrap myself in a blanket and read away the hours I should have spent on doing Christmas prep.
I was feeling a little down but not able to put my finger on precisely why. Maybe it was the unseasonably warm weather or that Liam mentioned over the summer he didn’t think Santa was real. Maybe I’m missing my mom more this year than last. Maybe I’ll never feel so joyful about Christmas again. Maybe, maybe, maybe. I was feeling pretty down that Liam didn’t believe any more and even though he hadn’t mentioned it again since that one time in the summer, I went through the season wondering how his “knowing” would change things. Our elf didn’t come either since I’m pretty sure he has a rule about waiting until we were all decorated before making an appearance.
This tweet from Lauren Groff (who I’ve never read but may have to change that next year) resonated with me and where I am at this stage. I haven’t been writing and that’s ok. I used to feel guilty or embarrassed or something that I professed to want to be a writer and yet not write and then I made myself write every day whether it be in my journal, on a random scrap of paper or in the drafts section of WordPress, never to see the light of day. I have over 20 drafts in my WordPress folder if anyone is counting.
Back in October, I was so excited to have Fridays free to write when I went to a four day work week. Guess what? That time began to fill with other things mainly related to parenting and home life. I finished up my Thursday night writing class a couple weeks ago having missed half of the eight sessions because even when I try, I find it impossible to put myself first for fear I’ll disappoint someone else.
I decided to take a few days off from the blog. I’m going through a fanatical reading phase where I go from one book to the next and it’s hard once you get going to break the cycle. I finally finished Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere and while I loved it, I think some of it was lost because I was reading a few minutes here and there and didn’t have time to just take it in for longer stretches at a time. However, I didn’t want it to end and for days I kept wondering about what happened to the characters because it ended without resolution. Maybe she’ll bring them back for us someday. It’s so hard for me to review books because I don’t want to give anything away.
The train ride was a bit of a hassle if you don’t know Spanish, which we didn’t. The day before our trip from Barcelona to Pamplona, we took a trial run to the station, to see if we could navigate our way. July in Barcelona is hot and sticky and if you are twenty weeks pregnant, which I was, it is even more so. But the excitement carries you through because you are in Spain, about to embark on an adventure that has been months in the planning. The trek from the hotel to the station is interminable, but finally, you are there.
The signs on the walls and indeed above the station agents are unreadable and finding someone to translate or help is impossible. After hours of wandering the crowded station, full of hopeful travelers like ourselves, we complete our transaction and are on our way. We are out on the streets of Barcelona again, finding a different route to our hotel. How easy all this would be today with smartphones, digital maps, translating apps. But it’s 2006 and our fancy smartphone purchases are a year away.
Over the weekend we made another quick trip to NYC. I could probably stay a week and still call it a quick trip, there’s always so much I want to do. A couple months ago a friend asked if we’d like to go with them and of course I didn’t hesitate. Our sons were in daycare together and although they parted ways after kindergarten we have kept in touch and get together with and without the boys several times a year.
There was nothing on the agenda for this trip and on the train ride down we bandied around some ideas. A show, the Met and one my bucket list items to skate at Rockefeller Center (the giant Christmas Tree that overlooks the rink was being hoisted on Saturday and the rink was closed). We made our way to our separate hotels which were a couple blocks apart and regrouped at noon to grab some lunch. It’s often hard to make decisions in a group on where to dine but pizza was agreed on and we quickly made our way to John’s Pizza in Time Square, a reliable place to grab a few slices if ever there was one. Their salads are pretty good too.
We are in an age where we can always be connected if we want. I don’t always want to but that’s a topic for another post. Over the past several days I’ve been traveling and have used my phone to create blog posts. For someone who prefers their desktop above all else, this has been pretty interesting. The best part might be using autofill to generate words since I only use one thumb to type. Maybe there should be a new typing class that helps us navigate the smaller keyboard. I see people frantically typing away with two thumbs all the time and I’m always impressed!
This morning I can’t get into my computer which I need to do my job. So reliant on computers are we that we freeze up when we can’t get access to them. But alas, I have my phone and decided to use the time to create my daily (um, multi-weekly?) post.