Wednesday, March 23, 2016
We authors are always so busy. Of course we have to produce our stories, but these days, that's not enough. Every day, there's marketing, too. Send out reminders to your mailing list. Check the comments from the guest blog post you did last week. Log in to Twitter to see if anyone has retweeted your news from yesterday, and reciprocate. I have a to-do list that's never empty, because I'm constantly adding new items.
The pressure sometimes feels unbearable, even though I don't make my living from my books. I'm still out there, reaching for success, waving my arms at readers, trying to get attention for what I feel are pretty damn good stories. When I wake up, the first thing that pops into my head are today's deadlines.
(I tell myself.)
That's not what matters.
I look over at my snoring husband, who probably didn't hear the alarm. Sliding over to his side, I cuddle up and kiss him awake. Blackness leaps onto the bed, her eyes big yellow circles, and settles on his pillow with her belly against his balding head, purring like a buzz saw. Mr. Toes perches on a corner of the mattress, wary of her claws but wanting his share of attention too.
This. This is what's important. Not the blog tour or the edits or the web page statistics. Love is what matters, not sales.
So I take my time in the morning. We share breakfast. I do my exercises, morning sun slanting in the window and turning our bedroom golden. When my DH suggests we go out for dinner, or a movie, I resist the urge to tell him I can't, that I have way too much to do. I'm old enough to know now that I should not postpone joy.
A dear friend of mine lost her husband a few months ago. It was sudden, dramatic. He was yanked away from her without warning--like tearing off a limb. Together for more than forty years, they were still in love.
Two decades ago, another close friend surrendered to ovarian cancer. She was only fifty one. She went gracefully to her death, and as I watched her, I learned a lot.
Don't save that new dress for a special occasion.
Don't assume you'll take a vacation next year because this year you're too busy or too broke.
Don't give up the chance to kiss your husband or smile at your neighbor or savor that ice cream cone you're really craving.
Life is short. Life is fragile. Take what today offers because you never know whether you'll have tomorrow. But don't waste your time worrying about all the pain you might have to endure in the future. Why spoil today when it's so wonderful?
You think it's not? Think again. Joy hides in the most unexpected places. And once you uncover it, it expands.
Seek joy out. Welcome it with open arms. Be grateful for blessings. Be generous with love.
That's what I tell myself, when the pressure mounts. Today. Every day.