look back

Despite what some might say, it’s okay to have regrets. It just means you made a mistake and aren’t happy that you did. It’s okay to not be grateful or glad you made that mistake. It’s even okay to think you might be in a better, happier place if you hadn’t made that mistake. It’s okay to regret.

But… don’t live in regret. Living there, pitching your tent in that place, that’s where the downward spiral starts. That’s where the second-guessing and questioning your self-worth take over. That’s where you forget the good you have in the now.

I know.

For most of my adult life, you would find me in regret. And it’s not even the same thing as living in the past, though it seems like it. It’s not the present or the future, so where–or when–is it, you wonder? It’s that other place, that other time. The could-have-been. It’s okay to think about that ime.

Just don’t live there.

For a writer with depression, though, that’s like saying not to breathe. He can’t help but stick around in regret, because… it’s so unexplored. That could-have-been is the ultimate untold story. The most personal one. The one he so badly wishes to author. With the greatest of ease, he lets it unfold in his mind, and–if he’s fortunate–on the page as well. New relationships, the strengthening of old ones, new people coming and leaving, new achievements reached. Feelings and experiences and knowledge gained, lifetimes spent in utter fictional fulfillment.

The now becomes an odd, unhappy time. A time of great obligation and of great potential. Great miscalculation and great accomplishment. Regret. And hope. But if you were to honestly look at that could-have-been, would it really be as wonderful as your mind describes? Would it be worse? Would it be exactly the same?

sick. again

So, over the weekend, I fell deathly ill. A slight exaggeration, but only slight. Cold? Flu? If someone could tell me the difference. I had one of those and was pretty much sprawled on the couch the last few days.

It’s hard to do anything when you’re sick. Things that need doing, things that you want to do, all of it sort of becomes just a little irrelevant when your body’s out of whack. I am going to work today, hopefully for my full shift, though I still feel pretty terrible.

I was unable to even attempt any writing, though I am looking forward to that now. Some things have changed. I’ve let a few things go, some things that have been sapping my creativity. Sometimes a story just doesn’t work out, and the more you put into it, the worse it gets until things just turn toxic. Gotta let those go or you’ll lose your joy for the whole thing.

It takes courage to let go. It takes courage to make a change. It’s not always a matter of success or failure. Sometimes it’s realizing it’s not the right time. It’s not the right project. Sometimes it takes patience and discernment to set a project aside and focus on other things. Sometimes it takes a hard conversation with a friend to say it’s just not working out and it’s nobody’s fault.

It’s not failure.

But even if it is, it’s not the end of everything. At least, it doesn’t have to be. I could call it quits. I could walk away from writing and never look back. And that would be okay. But I’m not ready to do that. I have some left in me. So this project didn’t work out. There are others. I have many more story ideas just begging to be fleshed out. And I still have my book.

It takes courage to let go. It takes courage to start over. And it takes courage to get up and do what you have to do, even when you’re coughing, sweating, sneezing, and running a fever. 🙂

with passion

I attended a 4-year Christian college. Several, actually. And among the usual required courses (English, math, science, humanities, etc.), we also had to take a number a of theology-based courses. It was during these classes that I first learned the value of passion.

The willingness to suffer for a thing. That’s how it was defined to me. Definitely not the traditional understanding, which involves love, desire, even obsession. Well, those can all be elements or effects of passion, certainly, but I gained a keen appreciation for the way my Christian professors described the concept.

Now relax. I’m not about to proselytize or speechify about doing all things with passion. That’s silly and, in my opinion, not at all possible. I admit, it’s a common Christian tenet, but I firmly believe there are lots of things to do without passion. Worthwhile things.

Passion is a great thing. It can provide strength, focus, stability, joy. Passion can provide endurance and purpose when you’ve run out of both.

But passion is also a terrible thing. It can frustrate, bring tears, enervate, and worst of all–make you question yourself. How? Well, as I said, passion is great–so long as you possess other complementary traits. Motivation, energy, strength, focus. In my experience, passion rarely manufactures these independently. In my experience, one or more of these must already exist. Or you will be miserable.

But that’s the whole point, the whole validation of my original meaning. Passion simply is the willingness to suffer for a thing. You may disagree, and that’s fine. I’m not proposing a universal truth. We experience things in different ways.

My mother asked me a few days ago what I’m passionate about. Of course, my response was immediate: writing. Storytelling. Stories in general. I love and live for story. Creating it, receiving it, experiencing it. But she persisted. What else? I must confess, that question still hangs over me. What am I willing to suffer for? Family? Friends? Perhaps. But aren’t most of us? That hardly seems a worthwhile confession. God? Country? Now that appears much more oblique, not terribly personal unless I’m in the ministry, military or government. What am I passionate about?

What’s your passion? I wonder. Is it a simple exercise for you?

vacation

So I took a vacation last week, not just on here but also in the rest of my life. I took the week off work and headed off to a resort to relax and recharge. I had thought about posting while I was gone, but I decided to take a break from everything–even things related to writing. So no work on the synopsis, no work on the script, no blog, no nothing.

It was pretty good, though the vacation met with mixed results. I am now back at work this week. And I am back at work on other things as well. Time to return to the synopsis and the script.

But part of the reason the vacation was only so-so was that I somehow fell ill, and I am even sicker today than I was yesterday. I spent the entire afternoon napping… I guess because I was extremely exhausted. Why? That’s difficult to pinpoint. It was all physical, though, at least I think it was. And I spent the rest of the day in the bathroom. Woot.

In fact, I am probably going to go right back to bed after I post this… ugh, except for one or two things I still need to do.

Well, I have also been out of touch with everyone. My friend Steph. Liz. Even my NYC writing partner. But on a brighter note, I managed to reconnect with my best friend! And perhaps even another friend who I haven’t seen in months. And I went on a date yesterday that… umm… could’ve gone better. But at least I went on a date! She’s great, but unfortunately it’s not going to work out because of certain reasons I won’t go into here.

So, illness aside, it’s time to get serious about some things. My goals remain, and I’m undeterred in my efforts to achieve them. I’m excited to renew some old relationships, too. It would probably be wise to dust off a few others. It’s… not a full renaissance for me, but there are a few key changes I’m making for the better. Let’s see how these go this week, shall we? 🙂