So, I lied just a bit.

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.

_______________

10 Comments

  1. anny cook August 1, 2012 at 7:28 am

    Tracy and Mark–I hope you give it a chance. From the outside, when I met you both, you seemed to have something worthwhile. That’s not always the case, is it? Sometimes…it’s a matter of waiting it out. Sometimes.

    Every long-term marriage/relationship goes through at least one period of deep doldrums. Anyone who says otherwise is lying. The trick is to stick together long enough for that wind to fill our sails again.

    Blessings and prayers to both of you.

    • Tracy August 1, 2012 at 7:55 am

      Thanks, Annie.

      I’m sure Mark will be watching comments on this post today, too, as I ran the post past him before I scheduled it.

      We’re working on it. But sometimes I feel like Princess Leia: The harder you tighten your grip, the more star systems slip through your fingers. The approach to marriage seems to be best done with a Bhuddist attitude: one of thankfulness, mindfulness and gratitude, but you have to relax and enjoy what is.

      So I’m waiting it out. As you said. 🙂

      And today I start writing again. I confess, I’m glad to get back to it. It was nice to have all that free time, but I was getting twitchy. The time off confirmed that I am, absolutely, a writer.

      Tracy

  2. Naomi Bellina August 1, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Good to hear from you, I’ve missed your posts. Yes, pursuing any dream can get obsessive, especially writing. You can do it anytime, and there is ALWAYS something to do. If I’m not writing, marketing, researching, etc, I feel a little tug, like I should be doing one of those things. We have so much thrown at us. We need to be on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, we should self-publish, learn to do this, that and the other thing. Then we need to do take-down notices from pirate sites, run another contest, and do a blog tour. It’s never-ending.

    Many writers feel the same way, I’m sure. I hope you find that happy balance in your life, and remember, it’s different for all of us. I love your writing, and hope you continue. You’ve given me a lot of good advice and motivation. Let your loved one know you’re appreciated by many, and we want you to write.

    • Tracy August 1, 2012 at 11:10 am

      Hi Naomi:

      You’ve summed it up in a nutshell — the non-writing writing responsibilities tend to take over and consume your attention every waking hour. If you’re not writing, you’re promoting, or you’re feeling guilty for NOT promoting enough. If you’ve got a day job, like I have, then you know the reason you’ve got the day job still is because you’re not writing and promoting enough. So you do more of it, hoping that if you can just do enough of it, you’ll break the cycle, and get to full time writing…

      It sucks.

      I’m starting to wonder if all the promoting is doing me any good at all, or if I should go back to primarily writing and publishing books and do a minimum of promotion. I know I’ll be a lot happier. So would Mark. Social network promotion is like dropping a teaspoon of water into the Pacific ocean during a gale. It’s utterly unnoticeable in all the noise and fury and is instantly swept away and forgotten, so why bother?

      I’d much rather hang out here on my own blog where the people really are friends and the atmosphere is convivial.

      Tracy

      • Naomi Bellina August 1, 2012 at 11:18 am

        I think a lot of writers are getting to that point, vastly overwhelmed with social media and marketing, and feeling that their hours of effort don’t make much difference. You’re not alone! Ha-ha! I too curse the day job sometimes, but I have my own business and enjoy it, and it pays the bills, so I try not to be resentful when I work, and not look at it as time taken away from writing. Hang in there, Tracy. I just know you will find the right path that works perfectly for you.

        • Tracy August 1, 2012 at 11:29 am

          Thanks, Naomi.

          I’m working on enjoying the day job. It’s a third of my life. If I don’t at least enjoy it, I’ll turn into a grizzly bear again… 🙂

          Cheers,

          Tracy

      • anny cook August 1, 2012 at 1:11 pm

        On my facebook page I posted a link yesterday to an article that discusses the absolute FUTILITY of using social media to promote books. I had already concluded there was no point to it. I have the royalty figures to back up that conclusion. Skip it. Write. Authors were successful long before social media was a glint on the horizon. And they were successful because they wrote good books.

        • Tracy August 1, 2012 at 10:04 pm

          I’ll have to go back and look at your Facebook page, Anny, and check out that link. I’ve just re-emerged, blinking, into the social network world again today. I’ve got some serious catch-up to do.

          It doesn’t surprise me that social networks are proving so disastrous. The signal-to-noise ratio has increased in the last year or so to the point where no one has a big enough amplifier. I don’t think this is the environment Kevin Kelly had in mind when he posited his 1,000 True Fans theory.

  3. Lynn Connelly August 3, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    Hey Tracy,

    Wow!

    I barely know you, but from seeing you and Mark together at the clinic you did for our group, reading your blog, and the one time we have coffee together, I was left with the impression that Mark was the most important thing EVER in your life. It seems to me that you did your part to keep your marriage going. There was that pic of you two dancing in the rain, and the times you went on his wrestling trips, etc.

    It strikes me that this all came as a surprise to you. He was busy with his stuff and you were busy with yours, but it was obvious that never, at any point, did you fall out of love with him. So go easy on yourself. You’re a great person. If life went the way it should, he wouldn’t have fallen out of love with you. There is a reason for the vow we all make to “love, honor, and cherish, to death do us part”. Falling out of love is just another choice.

    You mentioned that he would be reading this. So here’s my take on it: middle life crisis in men is real. Speaking bluntly, Mark should get some counselling. A million men have gone through it, and not all have made the same mistake he is about to make.

    Anyway, thinking positively is a good idea. I watched a DVD called “The Secret” that our marriage counsellor lent me. Some of it made sense, some of it didn’t, but it really was a pick-me-up.

    I hope I didn’t offend anyone. I’ve been where you are, and it’s not fun.

    Lynn

    • Tracy August 4, 2012 at 7:17 am

      Hi Lynn:

      No offence at all. I think this is the the photo you’re talking about.

      Mark is taking counselling now. He had his first session on Thursday.

      The Secret — damn, THAT’s the name of the book that I’ve been trying to remember for weeks, now! Thank you. That’s the best-seller that everyone was reading everywhere. I believe it’s a riff on a lot of the same principles that Wayne Dyer propounds. Positive thinking, affirmations, etc. Although that’s just one book. Wayne Dyer is a whole industry. I’m reading (over and over) Excuses Begone! at the moment. That one alone could change your entire life. I’m working on changing mine — at least my outlook and the less positive aspects of my personality, anyway. LOL!

      Each day is a little bit better here. That’s a good sign, I hope.

      Thanks for commenting, Lynn. It means a lot.

      Tracy

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