Just keep swimming

You know how sometimes the things you normally enjoy doing stop bringing you joy and how it all starts looking meaningless because, really, what’s the point of anything when you can’t change the world to be more accommodative? Of course you do because we’ve all been there. The big question is how we wade out of this pool of misery.

This same question reared its head in my head the other day as I brooded over life in general and my life specifically. Sure, wise people advise us to be grateful for what we have and be content with it, and I honestly admire people who are fine just being grateful and content but I can’t. I haven’t evolved quite so much yet and I have expectations.

I tend to expect a lot from myself but I also happen to expect certain things from others and I’m sure we all do because sometimes things are not just up to us. It would be a perfect world if it was all up to us but, well, we’ve got to do the best with what we have and what we have are other people, nature, and luck to rely on. Not the best of combinations but there it is.

I didn’t have a whole lot to complain about recently because I was too busy working, writing, ordering new kitchens and planning for the immediate future. This was, of course, my big mistake. I’ve spent years teaching myself to stop planning but sometimes the urge gets the better of me. The result is misery and frustration because:

  1. We ordered the kitchen on July 12 and they said it would be ready in a month but it’s been a month and they haven’t called yet so I’ll have to call them and I hate calling.
  2. I’m not getting a car before September because buying it in a place different from my permanent residence would be way too much hassle.
  3. Little C. is growing way too fast, turning from a cute little girl into a tween with all severe side effects such as eyerolls, a surge in argumentativeness, and increased sensitivity to anything and everything I say.
  4. The cat woke up at 5:30 am yesterday and came to complain about life while I tried to write, unsuccessfully.
  5. I’ve finished my jigsaw puzzle.
  6. The publisher of The Lamiastriga has informed me they will now remainder the book and while I understand their motives (they got their money, no point bothering to promote the book) it still hurts.
  7. I have made yet another attempt at a sourdough bread and if it flops this time I swear I will give up.
  8. I got two short story rejections in two days and while I’m aware rejections are 90% of responses to story submissions, two in two days was just too much
  9. Flies and mosquitoes are still alive.

In short, I’m not a happy human being right now. It’s all because of my expectations, of course. It’s because I have them at all. It’s a bad habit not dissimilar to smoking but just like smoking it’s extremely hard to kick. Thankfully, I’ve still got some control over my rational faculties, so I know that:

  1. The kitchen order says “Delivery in 35-40 days” and that’s until the end of next week.
  2. I am getting a car.
  3. Growing up is what’s supposed to happen.
  4. Expecting good behaviour from a cat is truly hilarious.
  5. I’ll buy another as soon as I reach the vicinity of a games shop.
  6. The Lamiastriga was my first book and I was too naive for my own good. My third book is being published traditionally. I do not suck as a writer.
  7. I. Am. Not. Giving. Up.
  8. The only way to get stories accepted for publication is to keep submitting.
  9. They will die.

So, life’s not too bad but I’ve got a bad attitude to it right now. Curing it, I’ve found empirically, requires keeping myself as busy as I can. That could be a challenge when everything I do seems pointless but thankfully, sometimes other people come to the rescue by giving me more responsibilities, which means more work and less time to brood.

I’ve written quite a lot about self-discipline, which makes my inability to stick to it in the absence of external motivators all the more embarrassing. Sometimes this embarrassment is productive as it kicks me into action. Other times I brood until I get sick of myself and kick myself into action. Sometimes a mixture of the two does the trick. Stay tuned for more life-affirming posts.

P.S. The above was written two weeks ago. Since then I have treated myself for caffeine deficiency, I have set myself the goal of editing my latest every single morning, for however long I could dedicate to editing, and I have been considering long-term hypothetical career changes, which has been quite liberating. Also since then:

  1. The kitchen arrived last night complete with two helpers to offload it, despite my horror that the firm would only send a third (“We’ll see what we can load in the van,” were the sales assistant’s precise words after it became clear our place is inaccessible with a big truck.)
  2. I’ve shortlisted three cars to choose from when we go back to the city.
  3. The last few days have been easier. I try to talk more softly that is normal for me and she’s trying to listen. We are both doing our best and that’s what counts.
  4. No early morning wake-ups recently. The boy sleeps through the night.
  5. Vlad did me the courtesy of chasing a ball across the jigsaw, partially dismantling it, so I had to re-do it.
  6. I’m self-publishing The Lamia with its second part and it will have a hell of a cover.
  7. Right. Time to feed my dough starter.
  8. I submitted a story this week.
  9. Still alive but will die, I’m sure. My personal mosquito body count is up by two this week.

P.P.S. The Dreamer got its first Goodreads review and it says: I liked this book. Thomas is very interesting when you get to know him. There is a great combination of action, love, a little drama and an extraordinary twist in this story. There is the right amount of mythology to make it interesting, but without being annoying. Love it!

Me, I loved the mythology comment.


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