I apologise for not posting anything on here last week. The fact is, I took a break from writing – anything. I had reached breaking point, frankly. I was stressed, over-emotional, and tired. I found myself dissolving into tears at the slightest thing. I couldn’t concentrate at work. I couldn’t even focus my mind enough to read, never mind write. I gave up.
Luckily for me I had already booked a week’s holiday from work and boy, it’s amazing what a week off can do for you. My flagging spirits have been restored. I have felt less tired, less weepy and quite positive.
The main event of the week was that my daughter got a job. Okay, it’s not her dream job and it’s not what she trained to do, but it’s reasonable pay and full time and she has a mortgage to pay so … good times. She’d already decided to use her enforced free time to continue her training in her chosen field and has been accepted back at her old college to take a degree in canine behaviour. It’s mostly distance learning apart from the odd day so she will be able to fit her job around it. It’s such a massive relief.
My relationship with DH took a positive turn this week, too. Maybe because I wasn’t feeling so tense and pressured we relaxed with each other for the first time in ages and had a friendly meet-up with some of our children. That was a massive relief, too.
My driving lessons are going well. I had two lessons this week and my instructor assures me I’m almost ready for my test although, as I’d just stalled at a major roundabout when she said it, I have my doubts! For some reason I was mixing up my brake pedal with the accelerator on my last lesson. I have no idea why, as it’s not usually something I have any problem with. Probably not a good thing to do, especially when you’re trying to reverse into a side street, but hey ho. As with life, I had to remember to calm down and take it more slowly, as my instructor forcefully pointed out as I careered round the corner like Lewis Hamilton. I really enjoy driving, though. I can’t wait for the day when I can finally rip up the L plates and get myself a little car all of my own. The freedom of not having to rely on family members for lifts will be fantastic. I caught a bus last week for the first time in ages and it wasn’t much fun, let me tell you. Waiting at a bus stop for twenty minutes in the freezing cold, with an icy wind taking off the top layer of your skin, and having a very dodgy looking man with a Dumbledore beard, a long grey mac and a suspicious looking carrier bag standing far too close to you, is an experience I’d rather avoid, thank you very much.
I’ve also managed to catch up on some reading at last. My to-be-read pile is horrendous and growing every week as so many lovely and talented authors publish their latest novels. The trouble is, they all look so good. I can’t resist them. This week I read June Kearns’ An Englishwoman’s Guide to the Cowboy. You can read my review on this blog. I’m currently reading Mandy James’ A Stitch In Time and I have about another ten lined up ready to read after that. (That’s just the new releases. I have a backlog of about four years’ worth of novels waiting to be read.)
And, having taken the pressure off myself and taken a break from the novel, I have found myself feeling much more optimistic and relaxed about my own writing, too. I have deliberately not switched on the laptop apart from to browse the web and write this post and review. I haven’t looked at my WIP all week. However, I have had my notebook out and have been playing around with plot points and character notes, jotting down ideas and doing bits of research. The relaxed approach has been amazingly productive. I don’t feel tense about the novel any more and have had quite a few problems solved without even trying, after weeks of worrying and intense concentration.
It just shows you what a change of habit can do. Sometimes it’s necessary to take a step back, take a few deep breaths and clear your mind of all the clutter. Life can get very frantic and it’s easy to get swallowed up in the panic of trying to sort everyone else’s problems out while dealing with your own, and achieving nothing because you’re just too stressed to be of any use to anyone, least of all yourself.
There is one major sadness in our family at the moment and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. This week has helped me to accept that and to realise that not everything can have a happy ending, and I can’t be responsible for everyone. I can feel huge empathy and sympathy for the people involved and try to support them as much as I can, but I can’t actually make anything better and I can’t make it go away. I think accepting that has brought me a serenity and a peace that I haven’t felt for a long time, in spite of the sadness.
I may be hitting fifty this year, but it seems life is still teaching me something new every day.
Have a great week x