Spoiler alert: I prefer control over chaos.
If you know me in real life, this won’t come as a surprise. Neither will the fact that merely typing the word surprise makes me break into a cold sweat.
No, spontaneity is not my jam. My jam is predictability. Or—probably definitely—blueberry, spread on a bagel toasted by me in my own kitchen.
And if we’re getting really honest, the BEST bagels come with cream cheese, tomato slices, raw onion, cracked black pepper, and capers. In fact on Easter Sunday, after Bill and I dropped the kids at the airport, we went to an all-you-can-eat brunch where I enjoyed two bagels—four halves, actually, on four different trips to the buffet—and two heaping plates of peel-n-eat shrimp. Notice the evenness? Read this post and please don’t BE AFRAID OF ME. Also, if you’re wondering what else I ate at an all-you-can-eat buffet, the answer is nothing. Because bagels and shrimp make me happy, and why risk disappointment in huevos rancheros?
Anyway, my point is this: I could stand to loosen up.
Which brings me back to our spring break.
Bill and I knew we’d have the kids under our roof for ten whole days.
We also knew this would be amazing.
And I probably definitely wanted to curate the amazing.
So we made plans featuring cousins and aunts and uncles. Plans featuring just the four (plus three dogs) of us. Plans with the four of us plus Jack’s girlfriend. Plans with extended friends and family. Having fun with the people I love is one of my chief goals in life.
But the more I try to control the fun, the less fun we have.
Probably. Definitely. Irony.
Anyway, over spring break, there were roughly 11 people and five dogs staying here at any given time.
On Sunday morning—while we were sipping coffee and contemplating Bloody Marys—there came a knock at the door.
Who could it be? Everyone is here! I DID NOT PLAN THIS!
Cue the cold sweat.
On the porch stood my cousin Eric and his friend Susan. They were on their way up to Cambria and stopped by to surprise me.
We had SUCH A GOOD TIME!
Not just because of the Bloody Marys.
No, the fun came from the people and the laughs and the wagging tails and the fact that I hadn’t spent all morning/weekend/spring break worried about HAVING A GOOD TIME ON SUNDAY WITH MY COUSIN because I hadn’t even known this good time would happen.
This was probably definitely the key.
Since then, I’ve taken some stock and decided I need less control/strictness and more chaos/release.
This is not just because my forty-something neck is now ropy from all the clenching and angst and happiness.
The thing is, I’m a Library Monitor now. My actual job is avoiding chaos.
Order. Structure. Rule-following <—That’s WHAT I ENFORCE.
And that’s probably definitely one piece-of-control too many in this puzzle.
I realized something:
My writing life is beyond my control. I can’t force an agent to love my characters, an editor to get sucked into my plot.
I work as hard as I ever have, with no guarantee of success. All I can do is I give it my best and surrender.
I’m ready to do that in my personal life. Probably. Definitely.
My fellow introverts who break into a cold sweat at the thought of someone randomly ringing your doorbell:
Wish me well. Please.
This letting go thing could damn near kill me.
Or it could just be the best year of my life…
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