When You Decide It Doesn't Have To Be Hard

The sky's the limit... For now.

The sky's the limit... For now.

We were walking through “the wine fields,” as Ian dubbed the vineyard we visited on Father’s Day weekend, when I really started composing this post in my head. I was fresh off a successful week of having prepared most of my meals at home (breakfast and lunch that I took to work with me plus dinner for the four of us at home) and was already mapping out a plan for a second week. The second week was one that I really needed to nail – I’ve taken on new responsibilities at work over the past couple months and wanted to take everything I’d learned in that time and really apply it with focus and intentionality. I had already proven to myself that I could do it under normal environmental conditions, but questioned whether I could pull it off in non-standard conditions.

That’s when I decided: It doesn’t have to be hard.

Listen, I’m good at making up stories. Sure, you’re going to have to take my word for that because a lot of them happen only in my head or in the thirty or so notebooks and hundred or so Word documents littering every form of electronic media storage device invented in the past 25 years. Turns out that I’m particularly good at creating stories around why something – a decision, a choice, a task, a movement – is going to be difficult. Like, crazy hard. Like, the most unreasonable circumstances that have ever plagued a human life. What’s better? I convince myself over and over that those stories are TRUE!

Yeah, I’m an epic teller of tales, especially to myself.

So there we were in the wine fields, as I may now always call them, taking pictures and delighting in my family being together. We had plenty of time and no real agenda for the rest of the day: we had discovered several new-to-us places, we had already eaten our fill of really good food, we had found restrooms and a gas station when we badly needed both, and there had even been a larger than normal quota of wildlife interactions (wildlife interactions are a non-negotiable on our family wanderings). The day had had its share of sibling squabbles and parental grousing, missed turns and renegotiating of original plans, yet it had still turned into something more lovely than the sum of its parts. And I knew. I knew that I could decide. I could decide to make the upcoming week hard or I could decide to make it easy. I was in that blessed in-between ground where I could shape my reality with as fine a brush as I cared to paint it with, going either direction as I desired.

In that moment, I understood that it was a matter of energy management.

I grew up suckling at the breast of TIME management theories, adoring them as only a baby can: incapable of seeing their flaws, even from so close up. Sooner or later, the good lord willing and the crick don’t rise, that baby grows up and sees the flaws… And still loves the thing that nurtured her to that point. Sometimes that cycle takes a full 360-degree rotation to comprehend. But I think I can see the trailing/leading edge. I think I can see another ending/starting point ahead. One where I’ve decided that it doesn’t have to be hard. The cooking of good food for my family and myself. The choosing to sleep in ways that support my body and mind's needs. The moving of my body in ways that give me joy and strength. The writing of words that would otherwise have life only in my brain or unshared inky pages. The being in the world in ways that I have told people I want to be… But never quite am.

I am writing a memoir.

Or maybe it's a self-help book. I'm not 100% sure. I feel like I should be sure but every time I try to press it into either box, the thing itself resists and I resist with it, barking my dissention to whoever happens to be listening. But even through the resistance, the thing is insistent that it come fully to life. The gestation has been years already, the phases each having their own titles like the parts of a pregnancy or childhood. It wants the month of July (and maybe August) to take a leap forward, as it has during other July/August tandems. So, to the best of my ability to focus on a single thing (if you know me, you're laughing at me doing just one thing for two whole months), I'm going to follow its lead and allow it July and August. I want to know where it wants to go – I want to see it grow into its potential. I want it to mature so that I can offer it to the world, in service of and to the world.

That feels almost too lofty to claim but screw it – if not now, when?

Energy management it is, then, to get me and the thing where we want to be. Knowing that I can devote gobs of time to the writing (though maybe more needs to be devoted to the editing) while still having enough for the sleeping, eating, moving and living. But some of the other things? They will need to go on happy hiatus. The thing and I will stand on the porch together, waving and calling blessings to them as they leave on holiday and leave us to our beautiful, painful, meaningful work. As I have already so many times before, I am giving myself permission to re-enter the work and see what she has to teach me this time around.