I like to think I can have it all but there are only so many hours in a day. Prioritizing is key.
Day job = food, a place to live, paying my editor, travel, exercise.
Writing = sanity, challenge, creativity, insight.
Exercise - sanity and fun.
But none of those things equal living IMO. Living is when I spend time with loved ones and animals. Living is traveling and learning new things. Living is laughing at someone's joke, laughing at my own mistakes, laughing into the wind, laughing with friends... laughter.
Living is cuddling my SO, dog and cat. Living is sleeping in on a weekend morning, meditating when the sun comes up, walking my dog, cooking, eating delicious food, rearranging the house, planning a trip, sightseeing, spending time on the water, spending time with kids, hiking, reading, listening to music, spending a lot of time with friends, watching GoT or other great shows and movies, playing video games...
And yet everything else is needed in order to live. Without all of it, working together to form one cohesive experience that drives me forward, to achieve - there would be nothing.
Without the day job I wouldn't be able to publish books. If I didn't publish books my creativity would stagnate. If I didn't exercise I couldn't remain sane. If I didn't live I wouldn't have fun. They work symbiotically - one flowing into and becoming the next or one needing the other. This is a full life, a life I enjoy, a life I can sink my teeth into.
Every few days I check in with myself and ask - are you enjoying your life? Do you still love what you do? Do you still love your day job? Do you still love writing? Your dog? Your SO? Your house? The state you live in? Your car? Your furniture? etc. and if there's something that I can say "nope, don't love that right now" I move to change it - make it loveable once again.
Most recently it was my furniture. I had the same furniture in the same place since I moved into where I'm living now, 6 years ago. But my tastes have changed. I no longer like being surrounded by dark wood and endless pieces of crap I don't need. I went on craigslist and refurnished my house for a very minimal amount. I don't have a big house! But more than getting new/used furniture - I am getting rid of stuff. Clearing the clutter to make room for spaciousness because that's what I need right now.
I encourage you to ask yourself these questions or similar ones. Are you happy with XYZ? If not, what will make you happy? And then seek to achieve that because this life is short and we deserve to be as happy as we possibly can while we're here!
The saga continues....
My upstairs neighbor issue came to a head this past week when I was finally able to prove what had been happening there by shooting video of it and sending it to all my neighbors, the cops and the girl's mother. The chief of police came out and drama ensued but the girl's mother moved her out.
This weekend I am not home but just received calls from the police and my neighbors saying the girl broke back into her house with her homeless boyfriend and they were caught and removed. The locks are now changed.
The reasons I share this are twofold:
1. This 4+ month drama has kept me from my publishing schedule. It's hampered my writing, my creativity, my sanity, my well-being and my health. But that doesn't mean that I get to stop writing or that I get to give up. I push myself through this, sometimes with only a couple of hours of sleep a night.
2. My heart breaks over the pain and suffering that this girl has caused to all of my neighbors, myself, her mother and herself. This is great material for a writer but it's been rehashed a million times = the drug addict who can't stay clean and destroys herself and everyone around her.
Most people have at least one person in their lives that demonstrates irrational behavior. Do we keep supporting these people emotionally? Love them unconditionally? Or set boundaries and walk away?
One of my closest and oldest friends is a long time using addict. She happens to be in a treatment facility right now for the upteenth time but I know that as soon as she's released she'll go right back to drinking and using and yet that doesn't keep me from loving her. During a time in her life when every friend and family member abandoned her, I was there. I didn't have constant contact, I couldn't do that. But I did tell her that I would always love her no matter what.
We all do the best we can, I believe that. Sometimes others judge our best as not good enough. Sometimes our best really isn't good enough. But it doesn't mean that people aren't trying. I'm trying to live my life, give, create and understand what makes people tick.
First of all, I have to brag - I wrote over 5,000 words today and that was not using dictation - that was actual sitting in front of my computer and typing! I also managed to take my dog on a 30 minute hike, get some laundry and dishes done, clean out a cabinet AND attend a 45 minute meeting a few miles away from my house. Whaaaaaaat?
But on my way home from the meeting I was listening to one of my favorite podcasters, Joanna Penn and she was talking about writing a book based on authors and health. That's her latest non-fiction WIP and I'm so happy to hear it. What a great topic!
I know that a lot of writer's struggle with keeping fit but it's not limited to writers. People all over the world struggle with exercise and diet. My day job parallels that field and people come to me daily with these issues. And, it's an important one.
I'm one of those people that believes diet, in particular, can cure diseases. Now there may be no "one size fits all" except that I've seen miraculous changes from diet alone. I just finished watching the documentary "What the Health" (it's on Netflix right now). And I highly recommend watching it. The film covers diet and health in detail, citing lots of studies and all that good stuff.
But what I wanted to touch on briefly here is exercise. Humans were not meant to be sedentary, I'm sure you've heard this. When we were cavepeople, we roamed around night and day both looking for food and taking care of the babies. We are a species that needs to be moving. And as someone who loves to exercise I have a few things to say about that. I'm not here to preach and say "you have to do this" or "you should do that". Do whatever you want but if you're interested in exercising and find it boring - well then I do have a word...
Find something that's fun for you. Some physical activity that you look forward to! For me it was not the gym. It's not running or swimming, biking or jumping rope. What I found and love to do more than anything is circus. And in particular, static trapeze. I also love handstand classes and circus conditioning classes and at times, silks. But my #1 passion is the static trapeze and I found it quite late in life so I don't do it with any misguided dreams that I'm going to perform one day. I don't want to perform. I do it because I LOVE it. I also recently discovered kayaking and I love that too. What works for me may not work for you but I encourage you to find what does work for you. Try everything. Get a classpass to try a bunch of different fitness funtimes or do it on your own. You can try hula hooping, yoga or martial arts like judo or krav maga. You can try a meditative martial art like tai qi or qi gong. You can try swimming, skiing, surfing (I learned to surf later in life). You can try skating (ice or roller) or horseback riding. There are so many fun ways to exercise - what about parkour or trampoline? Paddle boarding. Rock climbing. Zumba. Dancing. And - if the gym works for you, that's awesome! The key though - is that if you find something you absolutely LOVE, exercise won't be work. It won't be something you "have" to fit in or something you constantly tell yourself you'll put off until tomorrow. I look forward to my circus workouts so much so that I recently bought my very own trapeze! Now if only I can find a place to hang it :) So stop sitting on your ass and find what lights you up!
Is that even possible? I mean, how many people do that? Get it right the first time? Not me! Not by a long shot.
I often use the analogy (though not original) of building the wheel whenever starting anything new - or new to me. It takes time, hard work and discipline but it also takes tenacity. As I've shared in another blog, I am the kind of person who just keeps going - sometimes to the detriment of myself. With my last business for example - it was a brick and mortar and even after it started failing, I threw in everything I had and yes, it still failed. I do this so I can look back and say "I tried everything" and not wonder - if I'd only done XYZ maybe it would have worked. By "beating the dead horse" (I hate that idiom) I'm not left with that niggling "what if"...
Do I believe that some things can be done right the first time? Sure - I believe anything is possible (almost). For me, however, this is rarely the case. I can't even think of anything I've ever done right the first time. From when we are infants all the way through - we have to learn it all first and that learning more often than not comes with a price. And usually a test as well.
Testing our character, strength and resolve at the price of time, money, our integrity and willingness. I believe that's one of the key elements - willingness. Having the willingness to learn, fail, pick yourself up and try again.
I'll be trying to think if there's anything I can point to that I got right the first time and I'll report back. Would love to hear if others can think of anything they got right the first time as well.
I kind of like the little blog/musing I put in my newsletter today but in order to offer NL readers something exclusive (even though I've never actually come out and said that before now) I won't copy and paste it here. The NL musings are one-offs, for now.
Plus I can't imagine that what I say makes all that much difference in the world. I can only hope that I am able to offer an escape, bring a smile or a nod, maybe drop some words or phrases that resonate. It's all we can hope for really.
When I was in something - was it back in acting school or when I was an English teacher... ? Who knows, it all blends together now. But there was that saying "if I can reach one person, it will have been worth it". And that still holds true but now it's with writing. Plus I'd have to quantify the word "reach" - what does that even mean? Touch? Influence? Help? All of that?
This is where my mind wanders when my upstairs neighbor pulls her all-nighters, which is pretty much every night. They say she's sick and suffering but for someone who is supposedly too sick to work, or leave her house, she sure has a lot of friends over partying on a regular basis. A tangent? Yes and no. This is what I'm currently living with. My invisible tormenter. And I realize this is par for the course in a way. You see I've worked since I was 14 years old, sometimes doing 2 jobs - hell I have 2 full time jobs now and only one that earns me a living! So I have a little resentment toward people who don't work. Let me qualify that - I'm not referring to stay at home moms, artists or creatives that do work but don't get paid for what they do. NO, I'm referring to people who are kept. I know several people like this (other than my neighbor) - why they all happen to be women I'm unsure of. But these people don't have to work, they're fully supported, some by men or in the case of the woman upstairs, by her parents. I could spend endless hours wondering what that would be like or hating them or just resenting them... but what good would that do? Because the other little fact they ALL having in common is that they're all unhappy. Miserable even. Suffering. Who could envy that?
Is it the people who have to work their butts off (like you and me) that actually get $h#% done? Is it because we're disciplined or is because we don't have another choice? Or do we get so much done because we have so much on our plates? Are we overachievers? Leaving the party animals upstairs in the dust? Or are we just forced to learn how to manage time.
Author Chloe Adler
Here are some musings - Nothing fancy - no outline and no editor - just some stream of consciousness. If you're looking for the Journey of Rain Star (blog/story) you can find it here. If you want to read my books, please go here :)