Hundreds of books have been written about the juggle. The juggle between family life and work life; the juggle between parenthood and couple hood – the juggle between retirement and empty nest syndrome – it’s endless the juggles.
I recently watched a TED Talk by Helen Fisher – recorded a while back where she discusses lust and romantic love and long-term love blah blah. But the one thing she said that truly stuck to me was “we’re not meant to be happy, we’re meant to procreate.”
It explains a lot. Nature intended us to feel lust, fall in love, stay together as a couple and raise kids. And we’ve added job satisfaction, creative passion, individual desire and whatnot to the equation. We’re just screwing with nature and of course it’s not going well – we’re always juggling…or is it struggling?
My juggle or struggle is to find mental space. When I tell my husband, you know what maybe I should quit this corporate job and write fulltime; he reminds me that when I did write fulltime I was miserable and also we need to put kids in Nike shoes and whatnot. This is all true. I’m not the work-at-home kinda person. I get into mountain man mode very quickly and all of a sudden I haven’t shaved my legs in a million years and the hair is sort of unkempt if clean – I cook up a storm, use a lot of sugar because I bake – but I won’t do grocery shopping. I become more and more inward, not wanting to meet people or deal with people or connect. I stay home in my hole, my pupils large as they adjust to light in the dark.
I like to work. I like waking up and going to work. I like coming home and talking about work. I don’t like working on my weekends but sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. I like the adrenaline rush of stress and sometimes I do believe it’s the stress, all this pressure that’s actually keeping me in one piece. Without it I would fall apart.
And then I have the two kids plus one husband and that takes the time it takes. I have a good husband so he’s doing most of the basketball and karate runs but we split responsibilities and…well, no matter how wonderful they are, you have two kids at home, you’re gonna have a life that includes two kids.
So work + kids + husband + dishwasher + life = no mental space.
It’s not about time to write – it’s about space. It’s about energy. It’s about coming back from work, cooking dinner, putting kids to bed, working out – and then at 10 p.m. trying to not go back to Microsoft Outlook but find the energy to write.
And you know what – if you want it bad enough you’ll do it. Like my husband says, “If it was easy everyone would do it. It’s tough so do it.”
But then there are days when I think why can’t I be normal, like everyone else, just have this corporate career that I like and enjoy and not worry about this other thing, this book thing. And then my husband says, “If you stop writing because you don’t feel like it it’s one thing but if you stop because it’s tough – how am I supposed to respect that?”