Back in June I blithely announced I was heading off on a writing and blogging vacation.  I so appreciated the messages of farewell I received, and they made me feel a bit guilty.

Because I was lying.

I did take a vacation from writing and blogging, but I wasn’t lazing around on a beach, restoring my soul, having fun, and all the other stuff one does on a summer vacation. I’m actually not entirely sure what one is supposed to do on a summer vacation because I’ve never been on one.

I left the impression of a summer vacation behind because I wasn’t ready to go into long explanations right then and there, although I did promise news.

So…to the news.

Here’s what I did over the last eight weeks while I wasn’t writing or blogging.

  1. I joined a gym and started working out at least 3 times a week, usually four.
  2. Then I cancelled the gym membership, because it was too friggin’ expensive and started working out at home on my treadmill, every morning.  I get up 45 minutes earlier.
  3. I’m researching and building a weight resistance exercises to build or maintain muscle mass and increase strength and once I’ve completed that, I’ll swap out the every-day treadmill routine for every second day, and every other day I’ll do the resistance exercises, instead.
  4. I found a hot yoga community that will let me trade labour for hot yoga classes.
  5. I started meditating at least once a day.
  6. I went back to my positive thinking/happiness roots:  I’ve reacquired Wayne Dyer’s principles of thinking and spirituality, and I’m slowly adding Shawn Achor’s 7 Happiness principles to my life.
  7. I dropped 15 pounds by following Atkins and exercising.

Why the sudden life overhaul?

My marriage is was is/was in trouble. (I really am not sure what tense to use.)   Serious, this-is-probably-the-end trouble.  And yes, I’m going to tell you some of the reasons why, because you’re a reader and there’s probably a good chance you’re a writer, and this may help you.

It’s ironic:  Most writers spend their lives struggling to find time to write on the fringes of their real lives.  I’m the opposite.  I found time – I bludgeoned my life into giving me time, to the point where my real life, including my marriage, got pushed to the back of the bus.  Of course there are always two different perspectives in any marriage breakdown, but that is Mark’s and to a certain extent, I agree.  The closer you get to success, the more obsessed you can get.  I was certainly starting to see the beginnings of fruitfulness in my career and that just made me work all the harder.

I wasn’t a nice person while I was doing it, either.

When you’ve got a challenging day job, a nearly-full-time writing career, and your life and marriage are fighting for breath in between, and you still have a lot of other “stuff” to squeeze in the cracks:  kids, family, PR & publicity, exercise, cleaning the house, cats to care for, lawns to mow, snow to shovel, bills to pay, bottles to recycle… you get the idea – I was a whole lot stressed and my way of dealing with it was negativity.  I saw everything as crappy.  My whole life stunk and nothing was going to be good enough until I was writing full-time.

All that came to a screaming halt when Mark said he didn’t love me any more and he was thinking about leaving me.

Of course, it’s a lot more complicated than this, but I don’t intend to share all of it here.  This part is the romance writing part — and probably one of the biggest issues from my side of the fence.

I’ve spent eight weeks rebuilding my life and spring cleaning my personality.

Mark has spent eight weeks trying to figure out what he wants to do.

My life make-over started off as a way to win him back.  Well, d’uh.  I went into an immediate panic.  Changing everything seemed like the only way to get his approval and love back.  Of course it was the exact wrong thing to do.  Eventually, though, I calmed down.

As of this writing, we’re talking more about fixing things than who gets what.  So there’s hope.  But technically, the jury is still out on what the final decision will be.

I’m still working on the life makeover, but now I’m doing it for me.  I want to get down to size 8 jeans and get a kick out of sliding into them and having them fit, and celebrate that fact, just for me (I’m already into my old size 12’s).  And maybe I’ll share that day with you guys.

That’s another thing I figured out on the way through this complete mental and physical overhaul:  People are the key to everything.  42 isn’t the answer to the meaning of life.  It’s actually “people”.  Friends, lovers, family, and the stranger who always nods as you sit across from them on the bus each morning.  Humans are hot-wired to make connections with each other, and it’s the secret and invisible glue that makes human society vibrate with an incandescent magic that people who know and understand this can see…it’s what puts a smile on their face each morning.  It’s what makes them happy.

Now I can see it, too.