Catching My Bearings
It was a summer of Many Things. I’ve known that since late June, but last Sunday I ended up on a two-and-half hour plane ride where the entertainment system was broken. I spent the entire time with my notebook simply writing down all the stray thoughts that went through my head. Earlier that same day I’d talked to a friend about how I’ve been in a very strange brain space for months. During all the writing I figured out why. I made a list of all the ongoing life experiences which require significant emotional processing. These are the kinds of things where they happen and I have to sort out how I feel about it over the next days or weeks. My list took up three pages of closely written text. There were thirty-eight distinct Things to Process. Some of them happy, some stressful, some grieving. Thirty-eight in the span of about twelve weeks. That averages about three per week. Except during those twelve weeks, I also had two week-long conventions and a fourteen-day-long writing workshop and retreat. I also had weeks of manual labor as I worked to restore our house to functionality. When I remember those facts, I realize that my list of thirty-eight things only included experiences that I’m still processing. Not on the list were things I processed and let go of. Or things that I boxed up in the back of my brain to consider later.
I frequently use blogging as a method of processing life experiences. I find it very telling that in the last twelve weeks I’ve barely blogged at all. So today I write this list of things I’d like to find time to blog about:
1. A description of a writer’s group that I currently attend which has a unique structure designed to help writers nurture each other and help each other grow instead of being focused on critique.
2. The things I am learning about helping non-neurotypical adults adapt to college, the resources available to them, and where I need to step back so I don’t interfere with their growth.
3. How I feel about having two adult children who are launching into adulthood and greater independence. I may yet get to experience an empty nest someday, though I’ve already adapted to the idea that my home might always be multi-generational in one way or another.
4. Detailed posts about all the summer construction. Including the carpet tear-out we plan to launch next week and the dishwasher that leaked and buckled hardwood flooring two days before we left on a twelve day trip. (We’ve been hand washing dishes for weeks now.)
5. The ways that social anxiety affects me and my ability to believe in friendships. I’ve had to put a lot of conscious practice into believing that I am wanted/loved/valued even when I am not visibly useful.
6. Details on a new professional focus which I may be launching. Several friends suggested that I take some of the presentations I give at conventions and turn them into online lectures that people can purchase. I know I need to be establishing additional sources of freelance income and this may be one of them.
7. The epiphany I had about my novel in progress which requires me to fundamentally shift it away from some of the original concept that prompted me to write it in the first place. Yet even as I let go of an idea, I recognize that the idea still informs what the novel will become and the novel will be better for it. It couldn’t become what it needs to be unless it first spent time being what it needs to stop being.
It seems that the Tayler clan is in a very transitional phase of life this year. Many joyful and beautiful moments have happened mixed in with all the physical renovation and stress. I want to unpack and share more of it than I have. I want to be able to show how the good and the hard are all mixed up together and how so much of the good is made possible by the hard.
Life is good, even with the financial stress and physical fatigue, and too many things scheduled.