There’s part of me that wants to call out in a high pitched, annoying, nasally voice, “I’m baaaaack!”, but how cliché is that? Instead, I just say I feel like doing it, instead of really doing it. If you are a detail person, you’ve noticed that the last post before this one was dated April 6. If you’re a relational person and you liked The Wild Mind, then you noticed I haven’t been writing and you missed me.
Well, not so little. It was a big enough break to get me kicked off some of those rating sites and blog lists since I didn’t post anything in over 30 days. It was a big enough break for me to finish up the onslaught of work projects, demands and deadlines I had going during the first half of this year. It was a big enough break to give me time to rethink things. A lot of things.
It is funny how the things we love can start out being a source of pleasure, an outlet, a form of entertainment and relaxation. It is funny how these very enjoyable things can gradually change into something very different. The once enjoyable and therapeutic activity can somehow turn its tame head and devour us.
Writing, blogging, became such for me.
It was my outlet. A source for me to get my thoughts, my experiences and my perceptions, as warped or sound as they might be, out in some objective form so I could analyze them and consider them more carefully. Anyone going through divorce, especially divorce after 40 understands this need to re-evaluate, to process, to heal.
Writing was also entertainment. Playing with words is a fun thing to do, but playing with disguises, something the writer can expertly do while safely cloaked behind ink and paper, is another thing entirely. Writing in this fashion while trying on a variety of personas, genres and perspectives helped take my mind off the pain of my own failures, the difficulty of the lessons I was studying in life, and helped me heal. In this way, writing helped me find my voice. When I began getting comments from the occasional reader, then regular comments from regular reader, I gained confidence and courage. It was a good thing for me.
From Pleasure to Pressure
But then somewhere along the line, the process changed for me from something enjoyable, relaxing and therapeutic to something arduous, stressful and even painful at points. It turned on its head and devoured me, becoming the thing that mastered and drove me, instead of something I enjoyed for my own purposes.
I found I could no longer write. What I did write, I did not like. I chose to take a little break. I needed to sort things out. I needed to step back. I needed some time to mentally kick my feet up on the desk, lean back in the office chair and just dream. I’m not sure how much dreaming I got done with three kids at home finishing up the school year, me finishing up the school year, and another child returning from college, while still maintaining a home, a career and a social life, but as I look back on it, I was able to take that much needed break and begin doing some of the sorting out for myself in many areas of life that I needed to do, both personally and professionally.
I think there are times in life when we need to give ourselves permission to get off whatever treadmill we find ourselves on. Sometimes, stepping back is easier said than done, especially in today’s competitive marketplace. We feel, somehow, that we have to have our game on constantly, that we have to always put on a happy face, complete everything on the “To Do” list. If we are a writer or a blogger, it is easy to get sucked into the idea that we must always write the perfect piece, be up on our SEO, garnering for ourselves the ever-increasing readership.
It can become the demon that drives us instead of the outlet that heals us.
What is it in your life that drives you? Is there something you need to take a step back from? What keeps you from stepping off that figurative treadmill? Is it fear of losing to the competition? Fear of missing opportunities? Fear of being viewed as a failure or as incapable of “handling it”? Is it a sense that time is somehow running out?
For me, it was a bit of all of these things. I made myself step back anyway. To be honest, it wasn’t all that courageous a move on my part. Circumstances conspired to make it such that I had no other option. I had too much going on. I had too many spinning plates in the air and I couldn’t possibly move from plate to plate fast enough. I simply had to let a few of those plates come crashing down. Blogging was one of them and it was the least significant of the bunch, I figured.
Sometimes, we just need to stop chasing the things we are chasing in order to recognize that the path we are running so frantically down is simply the wrong road in the wrong direction.