Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Eve of The New Year

I started writing a deep and thought provoking post about motivation and momentum, but I lost it when a virus descended on my computer. I spent most of last night trying to get rid of the darned pest. By the time I did, my motivation for anything but sleep was long gone. That's the last time I search the web for snowblower parts, I'll tell you that much.
Part of the post I was working on when the virus arrived talked about how last year seemed to lose momentum and how it took me until not very long ago to realize I was letting "life" interfere with writing - letting it suck away time and letting it alter my view. "Life" probably isn't the right word. Normal life isn't a problem - it's supposed to be there. You have to live, take care of and spend time with the people who are important to you, pay your bills, feed the dog, change the cat litter, buy food. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the things you're supposed to brush off and move on from. Let's call that "stress", okay?
Normally, I'd be the first to say "suck it up and get to work" and "quit whining", because it does sound like whining. It sounds like an excuse - a really stupid excuse.
But sometimes those things "stress" pile up and before you know it, you're buried pretty far underneath. You don't realize how you got there either, or what it's doing to you, your life, your relationships, your precious writing time. All you know is that you feel like crap and you don't know why. You sit down to write, but you feel like the creative synapses in your brain have all fused together. Then, you make excuses - "I'm tired", "If I don't do the laundry, we'll all be naked" - stuff like that. You think it's "life", but it's not. Not really. Because under normal circumstances you have a semblance of balance, at least occasionally.
Stress is what makes you look at everything through broken glasses. It makes you forget to see the good things in life. Stress sucks the joy out and makes you feel small and broken. We all deal with stress, and it's relative to what you're used to. I'm used to the chaos of four children and our huge dog (I'm not saying I don't get stressed by my house at times). What I deal with, happily, on a daily basis might send a seemingly normal person to their knees in tears. It's relative to what you're used to.
When you've already got a ton of abnormal stress in your life, you're like a "stress magnet" (currently, my picture should be beside this word). Things tend to pile up around you constantly - one after another until you think you might collapse under the weight. It happens sometimes. I think you know what I'm talking about: flat tires, broken appliances, sick children, ect. that all happen on the same day, and then the next day is even worse, the day after that as well.
I don't have any advice on how to deal with that. I wish I did. I wish I knew the magic secret to banishing stress, and depolarizing the stress magnet. That sure would come in handy around here. Unfortunately, no one really knows the answers, and if they tell you they do they're probably selling something. Especially for the stress that seems to drop out of the sky like baseball-sized hail. Dealing with it is personal and situational. What works for me won't work for you and the other way, but sometimes trying another persons way helps you find your answers.
Though, I think recognizing your stress and what you're letting it do to you is part of the way to cope. There are simply some things you cannot change - no matter how hard you try, or how much you want things to be different. It's easy for other people to say "let it go", "don't let it rule you", but since they're not walking around in your soggy shoes they really don't know what you're dealing with. They don't know how hard it is to continue to put one foot in front of the other when it feels like you're wearing flip flops in a blizzard. Not that they don't mean well. They do.
My point? Gee, I'm not sure I really have one. Or maybe the point is that sometimes we all get buried under the pile. No one can pull you out, though they can help you find your own way out. Maybe just knowing you're not alone is enough. Life does go on though. You have to decide if you're going to let stress paralyze you or if you're going to swing off the rope and dive into the water with both feet and deal with what might happen when it happens. Sometimes you'll stay safe on the shore, and other times...
Well, that's another post.
And I think that's all for now.
Celebrate safely tonight, and...