When I started my 365 project, I had no idea how it would really affect my life and the lives of my immediate family. My project would entail a total re-shift of my priorities this year and within a month, it was evident around my house. Dishes lived in the sink longer than usual, dust bunnies grew in the corners, and the 8 loads of weekly laundry turned into 12 loads every two weeks. Further substantiation of “chore” neglect: higher credit card bills from eating out more often and the accumulated pizza and cereal boxes.
Prioritizing my writing has inadvertently turned into prioritizing me and it’s a lesson I’m re-learning every day, like Groundhog’s Day. My biggest surprise has been how hard it is to simply keep on living. Early on I stressed all day long about what I was going to write for the day. (I have a list of over a hundred topics I had compiled before I began the project.) I couldn’t stay in the present because I was too hung up on the writing. After I was done, I quickly moved on to, “Now what will I write?”
After a few weeks, my husband said, “You have to live your life. You can’t stop living to write.”
He’s entirely correct. My stories come from life, but that didn’t stop the ticking in my head. My life has become a college term paper you procrastinate writing until the night before – every day. I tried getting it done first thing in the morning, but I run two business, and LIFE interrupted with meetings, appointments and the occasional daytime date with my hubby (#PerksOfWorkingFromHome). I had to resolve to live and write in the evening after my kids go to bed.
My project consists of autobiographical essays, which I’ve grouped into “life clubs.” Life clubs transcend sociological, economic, and religious classifications, like invisible fraternities, only without pins to wear on our jackets to let others know. Telling stories helps me validate my life experiences as worthy. I reinvigorate memories, immortalize them paper, and release them from burdening my brain. It’s liberating, therapeutic, and often soul-crushing. But through this cathartic process, I am learning to temper the tugging of “having to write” with an excitement to live each day thoroughly. I wake up eager to see what new adventure awaits, who I’ll meet, and what I’ll learn. I just wish I had more time. Yeah, join the club!