Have you ever decided to do something you have never done before, and then without much reflection, went after it? By this, I mean setting a serious goal to achieve something within a specific timeframe. I’ve set some fairly lofty goals throughout my life. I wanted to have children, I had three. I wanted to get my college degree by December of 2001, I achieved that as well. After my kidney transplant, I wanted to reach a healthy weight and stop abusing my body. I did that, too. In September of 2020, I wanted to start a blog and write every single day for a year. I’m halfway there. If I had set out to complete a marathon, I’d be at mile 13. If I had set out to climb to the top of Mt. Everest, I’d be at the Summit. If I had set out to swim the length of an Olympic size swimming pool, I’d be 82 feet right about now. But those last three things I didn’t set out to do, I set out to author a substantial piece on my blog for 365 days straight. I may as well have set out to climb to the top of Mt. Everest! What the hell was I thinking?
My friends, I’m exhausted! I was not prepared for the toll it would take on my daily life! As a ‘night owl’, burning the midnight oil is not that uncommon; however, when it translates to going to bed in the wee hours of the morning on a daily basis, something must be done. I tried to write during the day but it proved near-impossible. I continually got distracted by my husband asking me what I was working on, the dog whining, the radio playing, the phone ringing, or the guilt that plagued me if I wasn’t seeing to getting dinner on the table at a reasonable hour, or taking care of the laundry before it started to climb up the wall, or ‘handling’ any of the endless responsibilities or obligations we, as humans, have. I also need complete silence in order to write; therefore, the only time I can really write is after my husband (aka my little ‘noisemaker’) goes to bed. If that man isn’t humming or whistling or playing the TV at a high volume, he’s drumming his fingers on the countertop or belching loudly.
Because of this predicament I find myself in, I often don’t climb into bed until three or four o’clock in the morning, which is approximately the same time my husband is climbing out of bed. It doesn’t make for a healthy marriage, especially when what I’m doing is essentially ‘a hobby’. It’d be one thing if I was working the graveyard shift somewhere and helping to ‘bring home the bacon’ or my website was actually profitable, but that’s not the case. I’m just up writing about random things that I think about, or my family, or my friends. My goal was to (hopefully) garner interest from a publisher and put a book together but I have yet to hear from anyone at Penguin Random House, Harper Collins, or Simon & Schuster. I even tried the ‘trick’ that Jim Carrey used. I wrote myself a check for $200,000 and placed it on the refrigerator. To date, nothing has yielded any results. Dammit, Jim Carrey, why’d you have to get my hopes up?!
Please don’t get me wrong, I have no intention of quitting altogether. I just think it’s time to reassess the situation. I feel like I’m standing on the Summit of Mt. Everest and after thorough consideration of all that will be required in order to reach the top, staying put or returning to the base seems much more appealing. Have I enjoyed the experience thus far? Absolutely! It’s been a blast! Having said that, I must also acknowledge that it’s come at a cost. Another six months of passing my husband in the hallway as I’m heading to bed for some shuteye (while he’s heading to the kitchen for his morning coffee) is not a great way to maintain a healthy relationship. Because of all the time I’ve devoted to writing, my Spanish has gone to sh*t. I studied an hour and a half every other day for 6+ months and completed the entire Rosetta Stone program. When I started writing every day, something had to give. In this case, ‘Spanish’ got the heave-ho.
I was feeling so good about my studies and everything I had learned! I was rattling off Spanish like there was no tomorrow. Do you want to know how bad my Spanish is now? I actually went to the grocery store (equipped with my coupons) last Friday. One of the coupons was for real butter. It was 98 cents for one pound, that’s a great deal! In the past, just like with bacon, if I can get it ‘cheap’, I buy it. When I was cleaning out the freezer a few months ago, I nearly fell over when I realized how much butter I had purchased (and still had yet to use). It was ridiculous! I think I counted eight or nine (pounds). “I’m not buying any more butter until we use up what we currently have,” I told my husband. I meant it! That’s no reason to let a perfectly good coupon go to waste. Yes, I’m one of those weirdos that hands out coupons to strangers at the store if I have no use for them.
Where was I? Oh, yes! I was at the store with my butter coupon, looking for someone who could use it. I spotted a man and woman (husband and wife?) in the cereal aisle, along with two small children. They were Hispanic and speaking Spanish. “Disculpe!” I called out. They didn’t appear to hear me as they continued to walk, their backs toward me. I called out again. This time they did hear me, and when they did, they turned around. I waved the coupon in the air with enthusiasm and walked towards the couple. The woman started to walk towards me, and when we got close enough, I showed her the coupon. I was searching for the right words and eventually came up with, “Quiere manzanilla?” She looked at me quizzically and then after viewing the coupon, she said, “Mantequilla.” I felt like such an idiot! I was trying to ask her if she wanted or needed butter but that’s not what I said.
Mantequilla means butter. Manzanilla? Well, depending on where you look, it can either mean a small town or municipality in the province of Huelva (Spain), a variety of Fino Sherry, or Chamomile. Why do I bother? The other thing that’s gone by the wayside is my art. I’ve had a painting that’s been ‘on pause’ for a year. An entire year! It sat on my drawing table so long that I had to actually wipe dust off the surface of the canvas. That poor painting has waited so patiently for me to finish it and I cannot ignore it any longer. Once it’s done, I need to knock out a few more. As much as I wish they could or would, those canvases aren’t going to paint themselves! Of course, the fact that it’s spring and the flowers are all emerging from the soil and the birds have taken up residency in the assorted houses we have in our backyard have also factored into my decision to ‘reassess the situation’.
If that’s not enough to convince you, on top of everything else, I now have a lawn to mow and weeds to pull and cedar to stain and an eyesore of a pond to reconfigure. I also want to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather! We have some fantastic hiking trails in our part of the world, in addition to a lovely, paved, well-maintained, 10+ mile bike trail. With all of that in mind, I have decided to make a compromise. In lieu of writing every single day, I’m going to write every other day. In between, I’m going to post some of my original photography and/or art. I believe I can live with these changes and I hope you can, too. Part of me is a little disappointed that I’m not going to complete the goal that I originally set for myself, but I simply can’t keep going at this crazy pace. I have reached the Summit and even though I no longer strive to reach ‘the top’, I’m content I made it this far. I may try to reach ‘the top’ some time in the future, just not today. I hope you continue to join me on my journey.