It’s that time of year again. The part of the year where I have to wake up in the dark and somehow find the energy to get up and get my daughter up and start our day. The part of the year where I may not see the sun until after my daughter has been dropped off at school.
I would happily stay in bed until there’s actual daylight outside. This getting up in the middle of the night (that’s what 7am feels like right now) is insane. I’m pretty sure humans were originally intended to sleep through the dark and be up with the sun… or at least whatever is passing for daylight.
And then Daylight Savings time will end. (Why do we even still have this in a society which has us up at all kinds of strange hours anyway?) And it will be dark outside by the time I’m taking my daughter to her late afternoon/early evening classes.
And then we’ll reach the winter solstice and it will be dark when I get up and dark when I’m making supper. And all I’m really going to want to do is hibernate. Seriously, why don’t humans hibernate? I would much rather do that than deal with the dark and the deep cold and the deep snow and ice.
Here in Canada, Thanksgiving falls on October 9th this year. A date which is rapidly approaching and I find myself calculating what more needs to be bought for dinner and when I have to pull the turkey out to thaw.
Turkey dinner is all fine and (usually very) good, but the point of Thanksgiving is to pause and express gratitude for the harvest (originally) and all the things we have. A time to stop and take stock of how much we really have in our lives.
Gratitude has become one of those words. Overused, too often to try to sell some service or thing. And when a word becomes one of those, it’s actual meaning seems to get lost in the buzz.
Because Gratitude is actually very important, provided it is combined with sincerity. It’s easy to say (or post) that you’re grateful for something or someone or some event. But are you actually feeling it? Are you really grateful for what you claim to be? Or are you merely caught up in the latest self-help trend?
What we are sincerely grateful for we are far less likely to take for granted. We’re more likely to remember to acknowledge its affect on our lives.
I know some things (people, events) are hard to feel true gratitude for. Blessings do come in some really obnoxious/unpleasant/upsetting disguises. Sometimes it’s a matter of doing the best we can now and finding the sincere gratitude in hindsight.
What are you sincerely grateful for in your life?
For myself, I’m incredibly thankful for my husband and all the ways he supports me and my work; for our beautiful, active, strong willed daughter; for my high strung fuzzball of a Bandit kitty; for all the resources I have to draw on to build my life and business; and for Life in Jesus Christ.
I’m attempting something new this year.
For the past two years, I’ve been driving my daughter to and from school, for numerous reasons. This year I’m trying to walk with her, at least to school. I think she would like to walk both ways, but it’s fifty minutes, from the time we leave the house until I get home. I still don’t have the energy to attempt that more than once a day. Maybe by next spring, if life doesn’t go completely sideways on me yet again.
When we leave the house, we pass all kinds of trees with leaves now seriously turning yellow. There are yellow leaves on the front walk as well as up in the tree in the front yard. There are starting to be leaves on the sidewalks and a few in the school yard, although most of the trees on the school grounds are coniferous.
It’s definitely autumn here. Morning fogs (although still containing too much smoke), colourful leaves, back to classes. New routines and still wondering how all the things are going to settle this time.
Writing isn’t really the hardest part of what I do. I’ve been writing since the primary grades. While writer’s block is very real (despite the claims of those who have obviously never had to deal with it), I’m having less trouble with it than I used to. Nanowrimo and Camp Nanowrimo are wonderful tools for helping me finish manuscripts, although I have finished novels without them. In a good year, I can complete four or more first drafts. (I think I’m at three so far this year, with five months and Nanowrimo to go.)
Editing and rewriting don’t really bother me. Provided I’ve let the first draft sit for a few months/years. I absolutely cannot finish a first draft and then immediately dive into revision work. I will HATE the piece by the end of the second draft (no matter how good/bad it actually is) and never really be happy with the end result. This is also the stage where it would be helpful to have different/more beta readers.
Publishing prep can be kind of fun, depending what I’m doing. Certainly the formatting and proofing stages, with all the little steps to producing a professional looking product are something I enjoy. It helps that I have a checklist which is essentially the same no matter what’s in the works. Although cover design can be frustrating and I too often fall back on Createspace’s extremely limited library of stock images. There’s a joy in getting the cover looking good along with all the inside stuff.
The real hard part is the marketing. The appealing to people to read the published work. The trying to convince them to post ratings and reviews of what they read. I wish I could afford to pay someone to do all that stuff for me. I find it energy sucking… energy I would much prefer to put into any of the three steps listed above.
I dread putting anything out where other people can see/read/react to it. I really do.
I know there are a million thoughts and opinions on the subject out there. People’s experiences. Ways to get over it. Ways to work around it.
None of that makes it any easier for me. And, if I let myself stop and think about it, it’s exhausting.
And yet I keep trying to work on my business. I keep coming back to this blog. I keep putting things out there. I probably always will.
Yes, I do know there is a gap of about a year and a half between posts on this blog.
Yes, I have been more or less in hiding.
Yes, I am slowly attempting to ease back into a number of things. It’s a very slow process as the stuff in my life shifts and then shifts again.
I’m having to relearn, yet again, how to live some way other than constantly lost in my own head. It’s hard habit to break. It’s such an old habit, so deeply ingrained.
I grew up lost in my own head. I think I was trying to survive. Except somewhere in trying to survive, I never really learned how to live. And only now, in my thirties, am I trying to figure out how to really live instead of merely survive. Too many days I wonder if it’s even possible now.
And yet I know women far older than I am are walking the same path, unlearning the same lessons so they can learn new ones.
How to live in the light instead of someone’s shadow. How to find a voice so long ago silenced. How to stand alone. How to really truly Love. How to be a whole human being. How to live out all these things so our daughters learn them early.
I know it’s still early June, but when the weather hits 30 degrees Celsius or more and the sky is clear and blue and sunny, it feels very much like summer. Too hot. Especially for a place deemed to be far enough north to render AC ‘unnecessary’ by building code authorities and utilities companies.
I don’t like (and I know I’m not alone in this) temperature extremes. I don’t deal with too hot any better than too cold. I wish it could be either spring or autumn, when the temperatures are nicer and the trees pretty colours.
Being summer and rapidly approaching the Summer Solstice also means much longer days than nights. I think right now sunset is about the time my husband goes to work, around nine thirty or quarter to ten. Dawn is somewhere between five and six in the morning, if not earlier. I remember reading someone’s blog post or email about how they were planning to start going to bed at sunset and get up at sunrise. And I remember thinking about what utter insanity it would be to attempt that here. In the summer, it would mean far less than eight hours of sleep at nights. In the winter, it would mean only being up and active maybe eight hours of the day.
For the moment, it means my daughter, who is still in elementary school until nearly the end of the month, doesn’t want to come inside in time to get ready for bed. It’s still ‘daytime’, even though if she doesn’t come in and get to bed, she won’t wake up in time to get to school in the morning. Or, worse, will be too tired to get through her school day without the school having to call me to pick her up early. (It happens. Oh, the joys of having a child deemed ‘special needs’.)
I’m grateful for the pole fan given to us by neighbours moving out just down the row. It keeps the living room liveable. There’s a second fan in my bedroom which makes it sort of possible to sleep in there if I’ve had a bath or shower immediately before going to bed. I think my husband is lucky in a way… he gets to go to bed after the bedroom has cooled down as much as it’s likely to.
Now to figure out how to feed us all without cooking not just the food, but myself and the house as well.