Today — at noon, no less — I made the break. I wrenched myself away from my deadlines, put on semi-decent clothes plus a groovy necklace (which is really dressing up) and sped away from my home-office. With windows rolled down, I let the spring breeze mess up my already disheveled curls, which reminded me that I’m about two months overdue for a haircut.
But, no matter, because at least my hair was clean for a change, and the sun was out. Luna the Dog stared up at me, expecting and about to receive a desultory walk in the park, in which I chatted with other dogwalkers while she tried to avoid all dog-contact. She’s like that.
Then, off to a cafe with its outdoor seating back in place after a long winter. Happy day! Brie panini (a splurge, admittedly), latte, and laptop. I munched the sandwich as I munged words, achieving my hour’s worth of fiction for the day. Still not the best, still itchy that I can’t spend all day…But a step in the right direction, right?
Truth is, I could have worked another little while on the novel, but I decided to finish up my lunch hour with a little spring-cleaning. My home is a wreck, but now my balcony is habitable.
Alas, I must return to the training manual I’m editing, which means that the dog and the cat get to enjoy the balcony. Ah well, that was a mighty fine three-hour lunch hour!
On advice from my friend Elizabeth, and as mentioned in my last post, I tried to take lunch hours this week. There’s a reason why they’re built into the 9-to-5 work day, after all. It makes sense to give ourselves a break for refueling on all levels: food for the body, relaxation for the brain, maybe some socializing for the soul.
From Tuesday on, I managed to get out of the house for my lunch hour around 5:00 p.m. Not exactly optimal, but still, I counted this as a step in the right direction. Elizabeth and I had been talking about how I can get at least one measly hour’s worth of fiction in each day during the week. Hence, a lunch hour.
The key is to actually leave my home and my WiFi. And, in fact, it did work even though my lunch hours occured so late in the day. I managed a few hours worth of fiction while sipping a nonfat, decaf latte in my favorite coffeehouse. And this helped my mood, yet…
Why did I still feel like crying sometimes? I don’t know what’s going to become of me. Honestly. I feel cornered by all the decisions I’ve made in my life that have landed me here: Knowing which work will truly make me happy, not knowing how I’m supposed to save for retirement and all that practical stuff…
So, though I’ve halted the descent down the depression slide, it’s still there, lurking. I still wonder how people with real lives — real career, kids, tons of responsibilities — get their novels written. Don’t they need tons of downtime to let the brain juices burble and sift? Maybe not. But I guess I do.