I was supposed to wake up at 5 AM this morning and go running. Instead I slept in until 8 AM, lazed around, went to the coffee shop, at a savory croissant, and drank a delicious cup of coffee. Generally I would beat myself up about this for the next week, but today I gave myself permission to do it. To listen to myself, to take time off, to just be. That is awesome. That is growth.
It’s been almost a year since our (not even remotely mutual) decision to divorce and Mase and I have had a strained relationship for most of it. Today we got together, ate lunch, took a walk, worked at a coffee shop, and had dinner together. He was my best friend for five years and it’s nice to know we are both willing to put in the work to figure out how to build a post-marriage friendship.
It’s forty degrees and raining again in Seattle. Luckily, I am well-equipped with rain-ready clothing. My boots and coat made the two hour walk I just took very comfortable in what could have been rather miserable conditions.
Before I really know what’s happening I find myself on craigslist. Job hunting. Not for any reason in particular. It’s not a necessity. I just want something to do besides writing. Because writing is hard and working for someone else would be easy.
I fantasize about having a boss, about making coffee again, about learning to redesign an old website. I daydream about working in retail, about employee discounts, about clocking in. I catch myself wishing someone would come into my room and tell me how to spend my time. A paycheck to show I’m contributing something. A good answer to the, “So what do you do?” question.
It’s the same struggle I’ve faced for years. The same valley I’ve found myself in again and again when my writing gets scary and uncomfortable. I see it stretching out in front of me, all introspection and vulnerability. And instead of trudging forward into it, I want to turn tail and run.
So many pieces of partially finished projects scattered on the floor that I feel like I never get anything done. It doesn’t build into anything. It’s just a thin coating. I have created no mountains, no mole hills. I haven’t stayed committed, haven’t buckled down hard enough to build. I have done the easy thing instead.
And I’m tired of that. Tired of taking the easy way out. The easy way in. Tired of not living up to the potential my mom keeps telling me I have. Tired of making excuses for why I haven’t done this or that or stayed interested long enough for things to really pan out. I’m tired of committing half-heartedly and then pretending I don’t care when nothing happens.
I want to make big goals. I want to accomplish big things. I want to stop worrying so much about what I think other people expect of me. I want to do the deep digging and find out what it is I’m really after. Because I have my suspicions that it does not involve a nine-to-five job in an office.
I know it doesn’t.
The things I build my dreams out of are written words published in places other than this blog. They’re longer form stories that I spend weeks revising. They’re rejection letters and late nights. They’re all sweat and sobbing. Tired eyes and worn down keyboards. I build my dreams on long runs and heavy lifts. On failed pull up attempts. On early mornings and long phone calls with friends. And it’s time I start being okay with it.
Because I’m never going to make anyone else happy without making myself happy first. I’m never going to live up to someone else’s expectations if I just made them up in my head. I’m never going to be fulfilled by doing what I think other people want me to. That’s the recipe for a life of resentment and exhaustion. That’s exactly the thing I don’t want to do.