Monday, November 29, 2010

The Want To

This month, I've discovered something that I call "the want to". I stopped beating myself up over what I wasn't accomplishing, and made the decision to put my writing on hold for a few weeks, even though it was going well, to focus on the kids and my Christmas preparation and make leisure a higher priority. While Jason was out of town it was extremely helpful to change my frantic mindset and recognize the truth that accomplishing a reasonable amount of things in a day and then relaxing was soothing to my soul and made me a happier mother and person.

Taking a short break from writing my novel, screenplay and memoir has fueled the creative fires in a fresh way. I have ideas sparking again, and I feel a desire to create instead of an obligation to a harsh and unbending taskmaster (i.e. myself). There is a sense of "wanting to" instead of "having to". It's a subtle difference, but for creative pursuits, it can mean the difference between a well written story with no passion and one that captures imagination in others because it is alive and vibrant for the person writing it.

So much of life is like this. We all have obligations we must carry out, and we don't necessarily have the "want to" for each of them. Often we push ourselves to fulfill our commitments and we find we enjoy ourselves, but just as often the reverse is true. It's hard to find the line between doing what we have committed to and being personally satisfied, and that line is always moving.

I know that this month has opened my eyes to the value of leisure and taking better care of myself. My health and overall outlook on life is tied into how I feel, and if I don't make that a priority as I get older I will be shortchanging myself and my family. I can't allow that to happen. An unexpected byproduct of this revelation has been this re-awakening of my creative drive, and I'm grateful.

Life has so many unexpected twists and turns, but just as many surprising moments of beauty and inspiration. When we are open to finding those gifts, they come to us when we are not expecting them, and they can provide us with a new set of "want to's" for what we love to do. I'm looking forward to being more open to these gifts as I walk into my future. There are many ways to arrive at our goals, and finding that detours can be refreshing along the journey is a wonderful surprise.

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