Today marks the last day of summer for my 2017 self. Odd as it may sound, these past two months have been different than the last summer vacations I've had (side note: I'm 33 and have never lived a year without summer vacation. #winning). I learned a lot this summer; about me, about my family, about how great life can be when it's LIVED instead of stressed over. Was there stress? Those of you who know me realize how silly of a question that is. If there's something that needs worrying about, I'm on it. So, yes, there was some stress. There were tears (again, not shocking), some happy, some frustrated, and some sad. There was the ever-present struggle of wanting to explore the world while also wanting to find a chair, an internet connection, and some binge-worthy show on Netflix (I did both, FYI).
Most of all, there was my small but mighty family, an adventure that awaited, and nothing else.
That's right, nothing else. Not even writing. Bam. *mic drop*
This summer marked the first that I was not studying for a class or a test, racing to finish and release a book to stay relevant in the Kindle world, or starting a new project. This was the first summer that we were not moving or applying for licenses or jobs, the first when we took the entire fifty or so days and said to hell with a schedule or a plan. Of course, there was some semblance of order because I detest chaos, but it was relaxed order, the kind where you decide that morning if you're going paddling or to the pool; the kind where you meet people at the lake and forget what time it is because the time doesn't matter, only the company. (Lies, I totally knew what time it was. That's how I know when it's okay for me to leave and start my Netflix binge ;))
This summer made me tired, and it made me happy. It made me grateful for routine and school teachers who engage with my daughter every day (because she really does talk more than even me), and it made me cognizant of the fact that when I'm not chasing a dream or a goal, I'm not standing still, either. I'm still living, still achieving, still happy. Happier, even...maybe.
I did not write this summer. I released Tell Me Something Realon June 30, and then I put my pen down and took a break. Maybe there were ideas swirling, and as of last week, I've started back up the Word.doc and begun putting them on paper, but my near two month break was necessary for a reminder: there will always be something to be achieved. There is never an end to this proverbial rainbow, because the nature of the writing beast is that the more you do it, the more you crave in terms of notoriety, sales, accolades, and success. Selling your work is scary--and anyone who has released a novel in the past eight years understands that one minute, it can be at the top, and the literal next day, it can be replaced by someone or something else. I've never been at the top like some, but I've been close, closer than I ever thought, and I've fallen hard. And for a while, that all drove me, pushed me to write more, produce more, release more. But it also drove me crazy...and I'm pretty solid on the crazy front all by myself, so no need for a push, yeah? I was going insane trying to keep up with everyone around me, and this summer of non-writing reminded me that life is better lived and enjoyed than spent striving for accolades that can be taken as easily as given.
It is with this knowledge that I say so long, summer of 2017. You have been one of the best yet, and I thank you.
Here's to football, the fall, and finding that next character. xoxo