I cannot wait for my children to go back to school, the summer has been peaceful but I'm over the lazy days. I want structure and routine back. I crave it. Being organized is what keeps me going throughout the day. I sit down in the morning with my coffee, jot down what I need to do and what I want to do, then figure out how to arrange it. I have my bad days, the ones where my body won’t cooperate anymore, or my brain is so fried that I struggle keeping a hold on things, but I still manage. I allow myself some grace and go read a book to unwind (I've read A LOT of books this summer). I’m not one of those writers with a strict writing schedule. I don’t believe in the “write everyday” system, because I just can’t physically do that, but having a flexible chunk of time available on a good day is like magic.
Summertime is an all-out chaos party though. It doesn’t matter what I planned for myself, my kids take over and there’s always unexpected things happening. So we go with the flow, it’s like a vacation for everyone, I guess. As the end of the season nears, I'm so ready for it (and not just because I want it to be Fall). I have three quilts lined up to be finished. I have two half written short stories and one larger story sitting at about seventy percent (with a whole lot of editing) and they’re all haunting me. So, I bought a shiny new planner (a gift to myself while buying school supplies) and I’m setting a few reasonable low-pressure goals to hype myself up. Only a couple weeks left, bring it on!
It’s been awhile. I haven’t checked in, I know. I sort of checked out on every platform actually. According to my last entry FOCUS was my word for 2022, and I really tried to focus. I spent the year working on my health, getting appointments and routines down to keep my Rheumatoid and Fibro under control. By the end of last summer I felt like maybe I had my body under control again and I was just doing things that made me happy. I was ready to get back to work, picking away at plotlines and stories I hadn’t finished. Of course the end of the year became hectic with holiday things, so I told myself with the new year I’d be given a fresh start to conquer the chaos.
Unfortunately that thing I'd been avoiding like the plague (you know, the actual plague) hit me. Covid invaded our house for the first time and knocked us down pretty hard, although I’m grateful it wasn’t worse and nobody ended up hospitalized, it still set me back a long way with my goals. Even months later my body is struggling. Struggling against brain fog, muscle pain, and fatigue. My writing is at a snails pace, I lose my words so easily, and my sewing is collecting dust while being scattered across the table.
Some days It leaves me feeling like I never made any headway at all against my disease. I know my fellow chronic illness fighters will completely understand this post, and will recognize their own struggles in it. Struggles that are completely valid.
Swimming through the sea of social media I am often reminded that I am not surrounded by people living the same struggles as I am, the invisible illnesses are holding strong to their title. It doesn’t always bother me, I know everyone lives a different life, but it has me thinking a lot about the things we hold as standard and how they can make us outliers feel like we’re performing sub par, even in things we tell ourselves we’re doing ‘just for fun’. In order to exercise (or maybe exorcise) my brain I’ve come up with a plan. I want to share more openly about living (and writing) with a chronic illness. Maybe it will help someone else out there in their fight.
Focus is my word for 2022, it's what I'm striving to find this year. What I'm struggling to regain. Sometimes we get so far off the track we thought we were on that we have to stop and completely readjust. That’s what I've been doing lately and you know what, it’s going pretty well.
I’ve gotten better at managing my time. I’ve gotten better at managing my stress. I am working on my health and all the mess that comes with chronic conditions. I’ve taken more time to do things that I find peace in, like quilting and sewing. I’ve worried less about reading trending books. I’ve also spent a little less time stressing over social media, allowing myself a little bit of space.
I’m still writing, working through the mess of unfinished projects from last year that I couldn't get my brain to finish. Things are coming along better now, just at a more leisurely pace. It’s not like I need to be in a hurry, it’s really not a race, and I can’t tell you how great it feels to put a few words down and walk away without feeling like I'm not working hard enough. These past couple years have been a massive weight on all our shoulders, if you say none of it bothered you, you're probably lying. So you deserve to take a moment, breathe, and find your focus again.