On October 31, I was anxious about NaNoWriMo starting, excited about my idea.
On November 1, I stared at the blank screen, wondering if I was maybe just kinda sorta stalling some more on my actual in-progress project. I typed zero words.
On November 2, I pushed back from my desk and climbed into bed for the second day in a row, my shoulders screaming, my lower back twitching. I’d only been working for an hour.
Rest. I keep getting this message over and over. Stop starting new things and instead finish the unfinished. And then rest.
So, with 3 client sessions still left to finish, as well as another draft of the memoir, I backed away from the distractions, logged out of Facebook, shut my phone off (as often as possible), and tackled my TO-DO/FINISH list.
I was talking to my chiropractor while she was fixing me about how hard rest is. I want to do, I want to be busy, I have deadlines! But she said what I come to realize every single time I get knocked off my feet: This is a sign to rest.
I push and I push and I push. I go and I go and I go. I assign myself days off, and then I fill them with everything I can. Eventually, I collapse into a squirrely ball of surrender. And I ask myself: Who are you trying to keep up with?
Last night I attended my eldest son’s police academy open house and afterwards joked with him and his girlfriend that I needed to find a new career. The enthusiasm in the room and on my son’s face as we watched a video of the previous class’s 6 months of training was contagious. I gotta get me some of that, I thought. That sparkle in the eye, that grin that can’t be wiped away, that low buzz of excitement you can feel from all the recruits. Passion. Feeling. Joy. Who wouldn’t want to tap into that?
A great many hours have been spent with me in bed or on the couch, staring into space, trying to sort out my feelings, my thoughts, my hopes, my own passions. Where is my joy? Why do I try so often to find it wrapped up in someone else’s joy? Why does another’s race to 50,000 words infect me with the desire to do the same … for all of about 24 hours? Why do I get caught up in the idea that my own journey isn’t good enough?
I try on so many different ideas to see if they will fit me. I wonder if my passion is hiding behind this new direction. If my joy can be discovered if I go left instead of right. If I finish my education, will that change me? If I go to church more often, will my heart swell with more compassion? If and if and if?
So I lie there, staring at the sky, the wall, nothing, my life, and I wonder about the choices I make, and I wonder if I’m alone, and I wonder if anything I do will ever matter to me, to others, to God. What I know is different than what I feel so often that I spin my wheels and doubt my choices and seek a new addiction, a new idea, a new path, hoping this time, this time everything will change, that I will change. My journey will take me somewhere new, somewhere where joy is no longer so elusive, somewhere where once again my feet hit the floor in the morning and I’m raring to go, excited to see where my journey takes me next.
What I know is that my passion and joy will not be found in your journey. And I believe when I can finally give up the idea that I have to be you or you or you, I can just be me, accept that my talents are mine, and my passions are valid, and my feelings matter, and my ideas are okay to try on and then discard, maybe then I can be content. Maybe then I stop chasing, stop pretending, stop dressing up as you, and then just start living. Maybe then I can accept rest…