It’s been a month since my last post. Normally that means I am learning to practice what I preach. Last month I talked about the temptation to take a break from dream chasing with the change of weather and seasons. The chill in the air makes it harder to get up and remain focused. The warmth of our blankets beckons us to stay in bed and hibernate until spring’s sun sends us outdoors.
So after admonishing you all to not grow moss on your dreams, here I am a month later shaking my head with disappointment because my list of things that I should have accomplished did not get checked off. A mild funk came over me. I received some helpful feedback on my query letter and writing sample. However, I lost steam and started questioning myself. My query and books are in dire need of a re-write if I want to attract an agent. Ah but there’s the rub. Where do I acquire the time to commit to a massive re-write and edit for it to be at that level?
This is where the fight for balance begins. I constantly beat myself up if I miss personal benchmarks. I think, two years in NYC and what do I have to show for it. Others have been like, wow for not knowing people you’ve done a lot in two years. I put my dreams off for so long that there is an urgency within me that won’t settle. I moved to NYC hoping to transition out of the legal practice to have time evenings and weekends to dedicate to my writing. Unfortunately, I haven’t transitioned out. I work 10-12 hour days and most weekends, so coming home to write doesn’t happen like I wished. Then the guilt starts. Why didn’t I take a couple of hours over the weekend to write? Because I was tired from working, running errands, and grocery shopping. I crave a work life, social life balance. Not just time to write, but the luxury of being human – taking time to observe life and people in it. It’s fall and I haven’t walked through Central Park to see the changing of the leaves. It is one of the things I like about NY – four seasons, something you don’t get in Chicago. Little things like the hearing the crunching of the leaves underfoot, smiling hot cider, watching kids play, or time to go to the gym helps me lower stress.
This transitional stage I’m in makes achieving balance like finding the proverbial white unicorn. NYC’s pace is relentless. There is always something happening. I am understating how NYers develop FOMO (fear of missing out). I don’t have FOMO. My diagnosis is FONDE – fear of not doing enough. The city never sleeps and neither am I. This is not good for a person that LOVES nap time and craves 10 hours of sleep. My body doesn’t function well on less than 8 hours. If I’m going to seize the day, 10 hours of sleep is the best energy boost I can have. My biggest fear is getting lost in the hustle and bustle of the city. Balance is essential to staying true who I am and my survival in the concrete jungle.
A dear friend sent me a picture from the book “Humans of New York.” It sums up my fear succinctly.
Focus, ambition, and passion must weigh against living, loving, and enjoying the moments. For me, a scenic autumn stroll where I can stand in awe of nature and breath fresh air is on the agenda, if only for a few hours. I’m not superwoman and frankly I don’t want to be. Too much pressure to be strong and perfect. Who’s there for superwoman in her time of need?! No, I prefer being human with all my quirks and flaws surrounded by friends and family that love me in spite of.
Dreamers, bumps in the road are okay. Change the tire, use a spare, spray “fix-a-flat,” just don’t stop walking towards the goal. Disappointment is okay. Funks and pity parties happen, so long as you know when to leave the party and get back to the business at hand. I have a book to edit and a business plan that I’ve neglected too long. This weekend a stroll in the park awaits. And maybe newfound inspiration…