Thursday, July 5, 2012

Feast or Famine

I am an “all or nothing” kind of gal.  I tend to embrace the philosophy of “go big or go home.”  I am “all in or all out.”  (Apparently a lot of clichés define me…that can’t be a good thing.)  I realized (about five minutes ago…and I immediately decided that I should share it) that either I am writing madly…or I am mad about not having written.  My desk is either immaculate…or overflowing with papers.  I am either riding high and full of energy and ideas and enthusiasm…or I am struggling along, sapped of strength, getting by on sheer dumb luck.  There is not a lot of middle ground in my life. 

This tends to make things…dramatic.

I wonder how much drama in life is chosen and how much is beyond our control.  There are certainly some things that fall into our lap…car wrecks, illness, loss…but there are also things that we bring on ourselves.  Whether it is from a thoughtless comment, a long-held grudge, or an impending deadline long-ignored, we do have a hand in quite a bit of what happens to us, whether for good or for ill.

As you may be aware, the countdown has begun for my 40th birthday.  In fact, it is in exactly TWO WEEKS.  I had hoped to have my rough draft completed by now.  I don’t.  I have about three more chapters to finish.  Maybe four.  Possibly five.  But I can’t rush it; I don’t want to compromise.

One of the reasons that I decided to blog about this whole book writing process was that I needed some structure, some deadlines, and some accountability.  Also, turning 40 seemed like a turning point, and I wanted to make sure that my life was headed the direction that I wanted…toward a life where I can write for a living.  Whether that actually happens or not, I don’t know; I suppose time will tell.

Also, I hate birthdays.  Not in that Oh, woe is me, look at the wrinkles!  I have squandered my youth! kind of way, but because (as of 2005) the day that marks my birth also happens to be the day that marks the death of another young woman.  On my birthday, in 2005, my uncle walked into a diner and murdered someone.  For those who don’t know that story, you can find more on that here.  I have gotten somewhat better about my birthday the past couple of years.  I no longer want to spend that day in bed with the covers pulled over my head and refrain from any outward demonstration of joy, but I do think about it.  Probably more than is healthy. 

Sometimes events in the past tend to entangle us.  They keep us from moving forward, from changing, from growing.  Sometimes dramatic things happen, but we don’t have to keep feeding the drama.  Sometimes, we have to let things end. 

Good and bad…it all settles down eventually.

For me, I hope to set down this particular burden this year.  I have carried it around too long.  This is the year of change.  The year I disentangle myself from so many things that have hindered me. 

I am ready for change--not just with how I handle birthdays, but with how I handle life. 

When I look around, I see such possibilities.  There is so much that I want to do, and I don’t want to look back someday and realize that the only thing that was ever really holding me back was me.

So I will end this rambling jumble of thoughts with one more cliché:  Feast or Famine. 

I can see the possibilities, and I realize that I have gone without for long enough; now is my time for feast!

I don't mind a rocky path
as long as there is beauty along the way.