I was sitting in the theater, watching World War Z when it hit me. First: Why am I watching a zombie movie …for the second time? And second: I feel odd right now. Oh yeah, that’s because I’m relaxed.
Relaxed is a foreign feeling when finances are tight or my redhead has a new need that requires hours of time at Children’s Hospital or a counselor’s office. Relaxed is an impossibility when I’ve been writing at high-speed for my first book’s deadlines or when it’s six weeks in to summer and the kids have been getting on each other’s nerves since day two.
Or when all of those things are happening at one time. Like now.
Which pretty much explains my first question above. It would take something that adrenaline-producing to even scratch the surface of my wound-too-tight self. When you’re running at full speed for any length of time, your body sets a new threshold for stimulus. It takes more input and intensity to feel anything at all when you’ve been stretched too tight too long.
A friend shared a funny picture on Facebook last week, with this quote:
“You know you are really stressed when you start getting on your own nerves” – Gaining Age But Losing Mind
I was getting on my own nerves. I was waking up grumpy. Feeling tired after 3 cups of coffee. I had a millimeter-long fuse. Car rides with the kids had become rebuke sessions. And when the cup of milk that should have been finished inside the house ended up splashed across my minivan carpet this morning, I had two choices:
- Keep being annoyed and miserable.
- Get a life.
Oh yes, I ignored that choice for a little while. I got all life-coach-y with myself and said, “Do something productive. Then you’ll feel better about life.” Which would have been a good idea if I had a life to coach. (See number 2 above).
After an hour of staring at my computer, willing my fingers to start writing for my second book, due in a few months, the title snapped me out of my tailspin.
Get Your Joy Back.
Yes, folks, I’m contracted to write a book about managing resentments and having joy, even in the tough times… when I don’t have either of those things going for me right now.
(God’s good at getting us to these places isn’t he?)
I imagined my kids and me on TV with Oprah in a few years (hey, an aspiring author can dream, can’t she?) where Oprah says to them, “Tell me how your mom lived the ideas of her book with you?”—and they all burst in to laughter because that was clearly a gigantic joke—and the nightmare forced me to get up, close my computer and decide I’m going to start this book by getting my own joy back.
So that’s the plan, people.
This fall here, I’m journaling my own pursuit of joy. Tight finances, special needs kid, new author-dom, depression-struggler, mom-of-a-new-middle-schooler and all. I’m ditching the other fall topic I just announced in my monthly newsletter to focus on a single word: joy.
Because I’ll tell you this: I will not write a book I don’t live. And I won’t live a life that makes my kids and me cringe when we think about it in ten years.
Sound like a plan?
Let’s do it!