A Stable Way

The week we moved into our house was not what I would call a good week. 

The process of house hunting and home buying was immensely stressful.  The moving process was almost worse, with the cleaning and the moving coinciding with a major shipping event I bore partial responsibility for.  This came on the heels of the stressful novel submission/rejection/negotiation/sale(!) process.  That came on the heels of the stressful revision, which came on the heels of the stressful agent switch, which was immediately preceded by Drew graduating and working full time and us counting down the months of money left, which was of course triggered by me graduating and losing my day job and trying to transition into full-time writing and business managering when that looked like the craziest thing in the world to do.  That, of course, all came on the heels of that insane first year of marriage in which I revised and defended my thesis, we started a business (and figured out how to do all the million things that go along with it), made nearly no money, and adjusted to being married to each other.  (That last being, by FAR, the easiest of the lot.) 

You still with me?  Okay.

As grateful as I am for my life, that first week in our house, I found myself for the first time in three years grasping for energy to face the tasks before me, and coming up empty.

I consider myself a tough-as-nails, suck-it-up, get-it-done kind of a girl.  But it turns out even I can run out of fuel.

It was the shelves that did it, of all things.  As much as I like the look of our sleek, black Walmart shelves, they are not the sturdiest of things, and I don’t think our floor is entirely flat either.  They leaned six inches into the room even with the bottom back flat against the wall.  They loomed there, waiting to fall.

In the last few years I have done many things that I did not know how to do.  I have googled; I have implemented trial and error.  I have asked friends; I have called strangers.  I have puzzled; I have searched.  But that day, that week, I reached for the go-to girl in me, and she flipped me the finger and walked away.

I had nothing left.

We got through it, of course.  Drew helped me figure out what a stud finder was.  Four trips to the hardware store later we’d screwed the damn bookshelves to the wall.  They look lovely now. 

(They looked less lovely the night we tried to buy screws at Wal-mart and the power went out and they kicked us out of the store, sans purchase.  That was the day the wasp stung me and caused me to drop and break my brand new porch light, and the woman from the gas company spent five minutes trying to talk me out of paying for someone to just show-me-where-my-freaking-pilot-light-is-before-I -die-from-lack-of-hot-water-no-I-can’t-handle-dealing-with-it-myself-this-week-thank-you-very-much.  That’s the kind of week it was.)

Point is, we fixed it.

But I cannot forget that empty feeling. 

I don’t feel empty now.  I’ve gotten through the last few weeks, and with them, the last of the transition tasks.  Gencon has arrived and Drew finished the projects he has worked so hard all year to complete.  From what I hear, the convention is going better than either of us hoped.  

For the last three months, this has been our mantra: we just have to get through Gencon.  We could suck it up and go head down in the work for that long.  We could do it.

And we did.  I’m glad we did.  Our lives are so full of awesome.  And much of that awesome is directly due to our willingness to hold on tight and let our lives spin us around and around over the last couple of years.  I am so, so glad we did.  We’ve been wildly successful and ridiculously happy.  More of either than we deserved to be, that’s for sure.

But my body is sending me a very strong message–the one it sent most strongly that day when I stared in despair at my bookshelves.  This whirlwind transition does nothing for us if we just keep spinning forever.  Spinning forever isn’t the goal.  It pulls more energy than it gives and leaves us with less.  We need to refuel, to refill.  What we need most is to settle down.  Be still.  Write books.  Paint minis.  Work with clients.  Make dinner.  Clean the house.  Play video games.  Roleplay.  Sew projects.  Have dinner with friends.  Go camping.  Smile.  Laugh.  Be.

Three more days and Gencon is over.  Drew is home.

For both of our health, I need to keep that promise I made to myself.  I have to teach myself a new way to be–a stable way.  A sustainable way.   Because I don’t want to come up empty again.  And we have a few more big steps before all the pieces of our plan are complete, and I can’t possibly manage those steps if I’m not coming to it from a place of stability.

It’s one more thing I don’t know how to do.  But somehow I feel it’s the better part–and the most worthwhile to learn.