Sunday, October 2
I sit in bed and try reading a book but it doesn’t work because I’m tired. Totally worn out from this and that and the other, from meetings and driving and planning and writing and trying and juggling and being.
Monday, October 3
I sit in the office of my long-time counselor and ask for help. I want to know what to jettison in order to stay afloat, ranking my husband and kids as nonnegotiable but leaving everything else on the table, including this blog and that book.
I’ll give up writing if that’s what it takes.
From my tears he deduces the precariousness of my situation, the ways in which I’ve forgotten boundaries in favor of overdoing and my misguided attempts to be all things to all people, all the time.
Not possible, he declares, and that’s why I pay him the big bucks: to sanction my failure.
Or if not failure then my glaring inability to be anything other than human, which is to say flawed and fallible and sometimes even incapable.
Let’s talk about taking a step back.
- Can I quiet the inner voice that insists I give writing my undivided attention?
- Can I create space for my family and let go of unobtainable perfection?
- Can I surrender my belief that books happen swiftly?
- Can I say no when it’s needed?
- Can I write when it’s convenient?
- Can I calm the hell down?
Tuesday, October 4
I sit in the office of my massage therapist, step one in calming the hell down.
Wednesday, October 5
I walk in the hills near our home, step two in calming the hell down. I breathe the fall air and revel in the wide-open spaces that surround our town. The dog comes with me (of course) running just a few steps ahead before stopping to check on my progress. He never goes far, never out of sight, always pausing to make sure I’m still coming and if I happen to stop he races back to snuffle my hand and I think to myself what if the world could be more like this dog? What if we all cared about one another so much we’d always be aware of the other’s situation? What if we all stopped and rushed back to offer help the moment we sensed a problem? What would that be like? Seriously, what would that be like?
I should write about being more like my dog.
Thursday, October 6
I stand in the lobby of my mechanic waiting for a missing driver to take me home when a stranger overhears where I’m headed and says he’s going my direction, would I like a ride.
This is Boise. That kind of stuff happens.
When the mechanic vouches for the veracity of the stranger I accept and we load into his car for the trip. Small talk inevitably leads to what do you do and I toss out the obligatory I’m a writer.
Oh yeah, what do you write?
I write about aging....and dying.
No kidding, says the stranger.
And then he tells me about his own losses and the ways in which he’s found healing and growth and a totally new appreciation for the fragility and brevity of life and how we must grasp it and hold on tight even if it’s fragmented and we feel broken because none of us is guaranteed another moment, let alone another life.
We reach my street and I am speechless, overwhelmed by his peace and profound insight and I think this is what connects us, connects all of us, forever, everywhere, no matter who we are, and this is why I must find balance and calm the hell down and figure out a way to write and still be fully present for my family because this stuff matters.
This stuff really matters.