Friday, June 20, 2008

This Too Shall Pass

Maven Jackie BarbosaLife seems to move in mysterious circles sometimes. Earlier this week, I was checking the stats on my websites, seeing how many people had come by recently and how many of those had actually found me on purpose. (I figure the ones who find me after inputting searches like "her creamy bosom" or my agent's name or my editor's name probably aren't really looking for ME.)

As I was scrolling through the list of visitor paths, I happened on one coming from a parenting newsgroup I used to subscribe to and post on regularly before I got too busy writing to keep up with that stuff any more. I clicked the link and, lo and behold, someone had posted asking if anyone knew what had become of me. Several people had answered, including a friend who lives in Virginia with whom I still correspond on irregular occasions. And someone posted a link to my website as a follow-up.

I thought it was pretty cool that my old friends (whom I've only ever known online) were asking after me, so I posted a response to say hi and let them know what I'm up to and where they can find me. I did explain before I unsubscribed from the newsgroup WHY I was unsubbing, so it wasn't like I just vanished or anything, but it was still flattering to be remembered and asked after more than two years after I left.

But I didn't see the symmetry in this until this afternoon. You see, I've been lamenting quite a bit lately to my writer friends about how I'm up to my eyeballs in everything. Kids are out of school, so home life is crazy. I've got teaching engagements with my day job almost every day this week and next. And I have to get ready to go to a wedding next Friday night and leave on a two-week family vacation the day after. I've had two books come out in the last two months, and I've got promotion to do.

Oh, and did I mention there's this little matter of three novellas I have to deliver to my editor by September 1? Two of which are no more than a third written, if that.

It helps to whine because I'm finding plenty of company for my misery. Others are in the same boat. Their work and personal lives are crazy. Their writing is suffering. They're hanging on by a fingernail and wondering when or if things will ever return to normal again. And it's awfully nice to know I'm not alone.

That thought made me remember why I haunted those parenting newsgroups for years and years. Because I didn't feel alone in what I was experiencing as a parent. Other people had been through--or were in the throes of--the very same struggles I was facing, whether it was a newborn who wouldn't sleep more than 45 minutes at a stretch (all 24 hours of every stinking day, and yeah, I had one of those!) or teething or potty training or five-year-old trash-mouth. I had company.

But I also remembered the most oft-repeated advice on those boards. Advice I myself gave to other parents as I gained knowledge and experience: "This too shall pass." And while I have to admit, that seemed like cold comfort when I was hanging onto my sanity by a thread because I hadn't slept properly in months (actually, I think there may have been a period where I hadn't slept properly in YEARS!), when the phase would pass and the NEXT problem would crop up, I'd always think, "Damn, they were right. It DIDN'T last forever!"

So today, I'm giving myself that advice. This too shall pass. I'll cope with what life throws my way, and before I quite know what happens, it'll be throwing something else at me. Maybe something better, maybe something worse, but definitely something different. And somehow, I'm finding that's pretty good comfort!

YOUR TURN: Life throwing you curveballs? Want to vent? Need commiseration? Bring it on!


Bill Clark said...

Great post! We all need to try to keep life in perspective when, like the mighty Mississippi, it refuses to stay within its appointed bounds and threatens to overwhelm us.

Thaes ofereode, thisses swa maeg - thus an Anglo-Saxon poem of some eleven hundred years ago. "That passed over, this also may." Just thought you might like to know the original source of your title. Might make a good button for the MaveFaves to wear! :)

Erica Ridley said...

Life throwing you curveballs?

Dude. Life is throwing me snakes.

Jackie Barbosa said...

Bill, I don't even want to try to pronounce that Anglo-Saxon bit. Eeek.

The Mississippi overflowing its bounds is about how life feels right now for me. Or like I'm a person on a planet with no gravity and my job is to keep everything from floating away...

Erica, life may be throwing you snakes, but at least you've got a superhero to come and rescue you. No one is rescuing me from these children, work, and writing obligations. Waaaaah! (Do I whine much? Um, yeah... I'll count my blessings later, lol.)

Vicki said...

I try to tell myself, two weeks or one month from now this will be over, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Finding time is the crazy part. Totally had last night planned out for writing and then, hmmmm...let's just say I read something that was not so nice. Any thoughts of writing went out the window in the mood it put me in. But thanks to Science Guy, it did get better. He took me to the beach to watch the moon rise. :) It might not have changed anything, but it did help.

I also make list, lot's of list, and they change all the time. Each day, sometimes several times a day the list will change according to the biggest fire that needs to be put out.

Darcy Burke said...

This is super morbid, but when I feel really bogged down I think of one alternative which is that I could not be experiencing this at all. This being life. All of these things are part of our journey and I try very hard each day to appreciate every moment I have. (Not saying I'm successful, but I do try.)

And LOL, E. We just saw Kung Fu Panda and La Burkette has revised her Halloween costume for the umpteenth time. Now she wants to be Viper from the movie (I blame the pretty purple orchids in her "hair").

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