I’m taking a break from the Celebration of Chick Lit Tour to wish myself a happy birthday. Yes, today is my birthday—the anniversary of another revolution around the sun. I took the day off from work today and am going to spend the afternoon being lazy which, in my case, means going for a run (unfortunately on the treadmill since it’s raining outside) and editing my current novel! And then I will spend the evening being festive with some of my favorite people. It will be a good day. I try to be consistently aware of how much good I have in my life and how fortunate I am even though I know yearning for more is human nature and something I will always do.
My family held a dual birthday celebration for my niece and me this weekend and as we collectively blew out the candles on our cake, I couldn’t think of anything to wish for. Although I am slowly replacing the furniture in my apartment, I had no desire to wish for a new kitchen table and chair set. And while I hope the novel I’m releasing early next year will be successful, I didn’t feel like wishing for it to be bestseller either. I was not going to waste a wish asking for something impossible, like my best friend Alan miraculously coming back to life, and I didn’t feel like wishing to fall in love because there are too many conditions associated with that one and the candles would melt before I could finish. So, what I wished for was simply to be a better me and to achieve some of the personal goals I set for myself. It’s convenient that my birthday falls right before the New Year as what I hope to work on during my next revolution around the sun can double as New Year’s resolutions.
I think my biggest accomplishment this past year was learning to better balance my job as a paralegal with my career as a writer and my personal life. I’m extremely proud of how far I’ve come in this regard. I stress far less about my day job than I used to. My old boss used to say: The work will be there tomorrow. Do the best you can. Give yourself a break. It’s trademarks, not brain surgery. I finally get it. Not only do I physically leave the office on time, but I mentally leave my job at the office. The work will be there when I return at 9:30 the next morning. The quality of my work has not suffered, but my writing productivity has increased significantly, and I’m no longer always the last of my friends to arrive at the bar for happy hour.
This year, while continuing to work on the job/writing/play balance, I want to be more consciously aware of what does and does not make me happy and where possible, flush anything that doesn’t. And quickly.
I don’t want to feel like my happiness rests upon one particular item on my wish list coming true because it doesn’t. Whether my books hit the bestseller lists or I meet the man of my dreams, my life is really good. Both of the above things coming to life can only take a life that’s good and make it better. And that’s only if I’m true to myself about what really makes me happy—truly, authentically happy and by my standards, no one else’s.
I want to hold less tightly to both of the above items and be mindful of my wellbeing at all times. I have spent sleepless nights worrying about how to market my books and why one book doesn’t sell better no matter how many accolades it gets. Or whether I was right to move on from a possible relationship that didn’t feel right no matter how much the guy liked me. Any time the things that are supposed to make my life better (writing, romance) are wreaking havoc on my wellbeing, something is wrong. I know myself—probably too well—if something didn’t feel right, it’s probably because it was wrong and I need to move on and cease wondering if I did the right thing, if I will regret a decision, or if I blew the last opportunity that will come my way. Since I can’t know the answers, I need to trust myself at the time and move on. And tossing and turning watching the clock tick toward morning doesn’t serve to improve my book sales, it just creates dark circles under my eyes. The important thing to remember is how much I love the writing process. A LOT.
I want to have more confidence in myself, raise myself up, and believe the hype.
I want to live any disappointment that comes my way in the moment and then let it go. Any let down is a temporary setback that has no permanent bearing on my future and I do not want to get caught up in long-term negativity. As Annie sang, “The sun will come out tomorrow.”
I think that’s enough for now with respect to long-term goals for the coming year. I’ll conclude this post with one short-term goal:
HAVE A HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!