2014 was a difficult year. Business was slow in the day job, hubs was stuck with a single part-time job, book sales were down without a new title to bolster readers’ attention, and various family issues were absolutely draining. We lived without power for two months in the fall after the power company turned us off for non-payment. A fifty-degree house is NOT a lot of fun. My landlord buried us under late fees every month the rent was not on time. We went on food stamps and became intimately acquainted with the local food banks. The kids are on Medicaid. I stopped writing for a while. We didn’t celebrate Christmas. I’ll leave you to speculate the sort of pressure that puts on a person and a marriage.
But things are slowly turning around. Hubs just got a full time job this month. Things are slowly picking up at work. I’ve relearned how to prioritize. I finished Moonwitched and sent it to my Samhain editor—should hear back in a couple of weeks. I finished a rough draft of Braeca during NaNo and am revising now. I’m plotting out the stories for Piroska’s and Elyria’s books. We’re looking forward to taking my son to UW-LaCrosse in April for a campus tour—he’s applying to the Archaeology program next fall. (I get to be Daniel Jackson’s MOM—way to ruin a decade-long fantasy right there…*sigh*)
And I’ve realized something, while I spent Christmas Day home alone, just me and the critters. There are two approaches to any give crisis—hope and despair. Despair threatened plenty of times. It’s a hard thing to swallow your pride and ask for help, even for the sake of your kids. But hope is more powerful—to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s all in your point-of-view.
You can curse the darkness or light a candle. It’s that simple. If you can’t lean on others then lean on yourself. My daughter was mourning the loss of a former friend of hers who’d been turned by another group of teens, and I told her, “Everyone makes choices, for better or worse. No one is stronger than another—we’re all equal. She chose to turn away from you. You can choose to move on. You’re as strong as they are—they have no power over you.” And that’s my motto, my new mantra. “Equal. Choices. Power. Patience.” Eventually, everything comes around.
Like my 401K and the stock market. Sometimes up, sometimes down, but overall, steadily growing upward. Bad things are meant to be endured. Good things are to be embraced and celebrated. The trick is to empower the good things—even little ones—to even out the bad. Always try for better, not more.
I’ve always hated New Year’s Resolutions. Make one day, break the next. But this coming year, I’m going to vow to de-stress on a regular basis. Things are so much worse when you let them get to you. So don’t give them that power. Keep perspective. Take a long, relaxing bubble bath. Go walk the dog. Scandalize your children by swinging on swings in the park. Go to the movies on dollar-matinee day. Get a manicure. Curl up with a good book. Whatever makes you happy, keeps you centered. Take care of you.
And now I have to get back to writing—because I finally feel like doing it again. It feels good to be back, and I’m never going back in those weeds again. I like it out here in the light.