Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Look, How February Comes

I like beginnings. I like the idea that we're starting again. New projects. New lists of things to accomplish. New. New. New. Month number two!

In my last post, I mentioned that I was doing nothing aside from cooking, cleaning, organizing, some writing, and lots of physical activity. After that post, someone on twitter was very amusing and said something to the tune of, "I wish I could do nothing #havebills." And I realized that it might seem to some that I was simply wasting my time away, while most Americans are working harder than ever to keep their jobs or find new jobs.

I do work. I freelance. So the work comes and goes. And yes, I have bills too. And student loans, and all sorts of things that can keep me up at night. There was a time that the very existence of my student loans (which I pay monthly and on time), would send me into a deep paralyzing fear that only too many drinks or too many tears could fix. For some time, I worked very hard at wonderfully intense jobs that I loved, but also stressed too much about, because I was terrified of being a starving artist. I also didn't value my time as an artist as much as I do now. 

If I spent all day writing, I could easily to say to someone at the office, "Oh it was a quiet weekend, I didn't really do much." But in reality, I was constantly honing a skill. Not a skill that will make me money, but a skill that will help me survive. That skill was learning to VALUE my own time. 

And I do. It's taken me 35 years to discover that my time spent writing, reading, researching, staring, walking, laughing with friends, cooking, all those things that bring me closer to life is very valuable time. What isn't valuable is the worrying, stressing, or complaining that I am so easily prone to, if given the right set of circumstances. 

Some of my favorite times working with magazines or ad agencies are always the times where everyone comes together and takes a moment to be at ease, and acknowledges the stress, and suddenly the energy gets very creative; creative and alive. Those moments make me love the work, make me miss the buzz of NYC, make me miss the office of great minds, oh so very much. My friend Katie and I liked to end meetings like that with "Tada!" 

Now, I have to make those moments myself. I fixed my website today. Updated my readings. Made a few changes on a draft of something. Sent some invoices. Ran the farthest I have so far. Sent a guest post to a fellow writer. And there's much more to do. But at the end of the day, I can only say, "Tada!" to myself. And so I do. TADA! 

As life slows down before our California trip next week, my friend mentioned that she was going to take on this challenge of writing letters. I think I might join her. When you're out in the boonies, sometimes you need to send papery, glittery flares up and out into the world. So, don't be surprised if you get one from me. I like the way we appreciate real mail, the time it takes, the joy of the handwritten scrawl. So, in February I will add a few more things to my list: continue to write more, value the time spent writing (even if it's only for the joy of it, even if it's only a letter), and say, "Tada!" as often as possible.


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