On Learning to Adjust Directions

Diana Beebe, Mermaids Don't Do Windows, MDDW, Diana Beebe's Blog, science fiction, fantasy, Young adultYou have to know that I tend to be directionally challenged. Spin me around in a circle three times and then tell me to walk in a cardinal direction (North, South, East, or West). I almost always will walk in the wrong direction. Who am I kidding? There’s no need to spin me around. It’s one of my super powers. Thank goodness for GPS, right?

But this post isn’t about learning how to read a map or looking at the sun to figure out where West is or depending on GPS to get me somewhere.

It’s about accepting my time limitations. It’s about turning down projects when my schedule doesn’t have room for one more thing—no matter how small. It’s about letting go of things that have a lower priority or don’t directly contribute to achieving my bigger goals.

Sometimes we have to assess the to-do list and realize that we don’t have to do everything.

My to-do list, even after I take off the optional items, is ridiculously long. I’m grateful everyday that I left the corporate day job. I need those extra hours of daylight, because I’m busier now than ever. LOL I still wonder how I accomplished all the things that I did when I worked for someone else. Oh, yeah. I didn’t sleep more than four to five hours a day.

Since then, I’ve included sleep on my to-do list. Sleep isn’t optional anymore. I get six to eight hours most nights now. Shocking, I know.

Recently, I had to add “get roof and all the things damaged by hail replaced” to that list. Yep, more stuff that’s not optional.

Besides the house repairs, I have things I’ve promised to do for other people this month. For example (in no particular order):

  • Prepare my Master’s thesis about Andre Norton for publication on a website devoted to her. How cool is that? I’m absolutely excited about this. Not optional.
  • Edit a novel manuscript. It’s a paid gig. Not optional.
  • Judge some writing for some contests. Not optional.

I’m not going to show you my entire list, because I’m not going to play the “let’s see who’s busier game.” We’re all busy.

Yesterday, I was talking with one of my very close friends about how overwhelmed I’ve been. I was disappointed that I haven’t been successful with the A to Z Challenge this year. I was already behind on the reading-other-blogs part of the challenge. Then, I forgot to write the post for N yesterday. That’s serious. I don’t like to accept reasonable challenges and then not complete them.

My friend, who’s really smart and knows me pretty well, told me that it’s OK to focus on my family, my home, my editing, my writing, and even myself. Why not stop at the M post, the halfway point, and then write the remaining Language of Flowers posts on my own time? Wouldn’t that be more reasonable?

It’s completely reasonable. It was the answer I needed—right in front of my face. Even though dropping one thing feels a little like using a fork to rake a yard full of leaves, it made perfect sense to me. I have to start somewhere.

So, with a little sadness, I’m dropping out of the A to Z Challenge this year. I’ll have time to plan better for next year.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop being a mermaid. That’s also not optional. 😉



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