Life and all the things I'm trying to cram into it has been hitting me in the face this week - HARD. It is the first big production for Big Sister's dance team also known as the Winter Revue which includes dress rehearsals and extra practices; it is Baby Sister's first birthday which of course requires a party to celebrate properly; it is the official start of Ragnar training and six-day a week running schedule; and I'm excited about writing again thanks to my amazing writer's group. Yes, ALL of that is happening THIS week. Oh, and don't forget that Book Club Retreat is in two weeks so I have an entire book to read before then - luckily it looks like a fast and easy read. And these are all just extra things on top of my nine to five job, cleaning my house occasionally and spending time with my Hubby and friends and family. And I'm expected to do all these things and NOT become a raving lunatic.
So, it's no surprise that I find myself wondering how the hell I'm going to do it all! Granted - I can't complain too much since this is all my own doing. I have always been an over-achiever after all...
Last night was a writer's group meeting - squeezed in after a full day of work, a dress rehearsal at dance, and a run. One of the greatest insights I've had in a while came from a question posed by my most-inspiring fellow writer when she said "why do you write?". Which in turn led to an examination of why I do anything and general wondering on my part if there was a better way to cope since bottom line I really WANT to do it all and not get overwhelmed. I can't give up being mom or wife; nor would I want to in either case. Same goes for daughter or sister. I can't give up my job; unless I want to drastically change my lifestyle and considering the first thing to go would be my mecca of a gym and our amazing nanny, I say hell no. No way I can give up running and my commitment to being healthy and getting fit - especially not when I spent the money I did to register for the Ragnar Relay. Plus, I deserve to be fit and healthy, as everyone does. Which leaves my two luxuries and the only other things I really do: reading and writing. At the time I was reluctantly but realistically - or so I thought - feeling like I needed to give one or the other up and since I haven't worked on my novel since the close of NaNoWriMo in November I thought it had already kind of been decided and said as much to the group while expressing my frustration that I just don't have the time to write, much as I want to.
Funny how it had to be pointed out to me that I am constantly writing since I am a regular blogger here and have been for several years. Yeah, yeah, I know that's probably quite obvious but hey, I have been talking about and toiling over and dreaming about this novel for - count them - THREE years with not even a completed first draft to show for it. Somehow I equated "writing" to working on the novel and haven't considered that I have never stopped writing since I'm constantly doing it, just in a different form. *Light bulb* And it didn't even take a therapist, just a friend who knows me pretty well! So, now I can quit getting down on myself about not writing and will continue to write in whatever form I can whenever I can with a new goal of at least once a week working on the novel. To be a writer, you must live like one which means, above all - writing.
But that epiphany doesn't really solve my overwhelming feelings of failing at being able to do everything.
Which brings us to reading. The luxury I have loved and cherished since I was a child reading Nancy Drew Mysteries and progressing to Stephen King and everything I could get my hands on - even my Mom's trashy romances when I could successfully sneak them away unnoticed. It is no secret that the last two years my reading has diminished and if it weren't for Book Club I probably wouldn't have read even as much as I have done. But there are only twenty four hours in a day and I still don't know where I'm going to find more time for reading. *sigh*
At the end of the discussion with the writer's group, we all found ourselves either committing to writing more, declaring that we were on hiatus for a while or somewhere in between so we could structure the group for this year. And that's when it suddenly came to me. Well, truth be told it was actually sparked by a sarcastic and bitchy comment about why couldn't I multi-task more things so I really could do it all.
Wait for it...
"Why don't you listen to audio books WHILE you run?"
Are you fucking kidding me? Why didn't I think of this sooner? (Hell, let's be honest, I DIDN'T think of it!) I log miles and miles a week constantly searching for just the right song or play list to entertain me while I'm at it. All the while bitching because there's not enough hours in the day to read anymore. I blame the one and only time I ever listened to a book on tape and missed the deadline for the Book Club discussion "because I can read a hell of a lot faster than a person can enunciate all those words". After that one experience - years ago mind you - I declared that audio books were not for me. Well, no longer can that be true - since I clearly can't read faster than I could listen to a book WHEN I HAVE NO TIME TO READ.
Now I just need to find the perfect way to get audio books onto my iPod so I don't have to give up anything I want to do and then look out - that list of titles I've wanted to read will start dwindling instead of merely growing. (Luckily I'm a gadget-savvy problem solver so it shouldn't take too long.) I've found my secret to doing literally everything and still staying sane - the proverbial have my cake and eat it too - and I'm so excited! Somehow I also need to find time to shop for new tights and dance shoes for the recital on Saturday plus buy birthday presents and bake cupcakes before Sunday! Somehow I'll figure that all out, too - I hope!
On a side note, if I haven't said it enough - okay, have I even said it at all? - thank you for reading what I write! And if you're not a follower, please consider it? I am a narcissist who'd love to see who's reading besides my handful of friends I see all the time. Here's to everyone being able to find a way to make life work and get everything YOU want in the coming year, too since we all deserve it...