The following was written December 25, 2011:
Christmas Day seems like an odd time to pick back up on this blog, but I have a couple of good reasons for doing so tonight.
The first is that I’m not at home. I’m in Las Vegas visiting my in-laws for the holiday, and right now I’m trapped in our borrowed townhouse with a sleeping toddler while the merrymaking happens elsewhere.
The second is that, as I was leaving Uncle Tony and Aunt Mary’s house, my husband’s cousin mentioned that the label on a jar of jam made Uncle Tony think I was on the web.
“I am online,” I said, “just not for jam.”
Then, of course, I explained about my blog. Then I had to admit how long it had been since I’d posted anything. And then, of course, I actually thought about how long it had been since I’d posted anything. Or written anything. Or done much of anything at all with my freelance career. And I felt guilty.
So, I have motive and opportunity. That’s why I’m writing a blog post on Christmas night, even knowing I won’t be able to post it until I get near a wireless connection.
It’s not that I haven’t been doing anything. I have a three-year-old daughter and a four-month-old son, either of which would consume a big chunk of any day. I’m still on church council. I still work two days a week at the local newspaper. We still have a gelato business. It’s the holiday season, so I’ve been shopping and planning and baking whenever those other activities allowed. Yet something was missing. I only vaguely realized it until I had a random conversation about jam (and conserves and marmalade, but that’s not really important right now). Writing is a part of my life, a part of who I am, but I'd more or less given it up.
Unnecessary guilt is always bad. (There’s a theological discussion about what guilt might be necessary, but I’ll not get into it right now.) Guilt can be a good motivator, though. Tonight is caused me to tuck my girl into bed and then sit down and draft out an article idea I’ve had in my back pocket since September. It felt good. Yes, it was crappy and unfocused but, darn it, it felt good.
We all have dreams. For you, that dream may or may not be to write. It doesn’t matter. Sometimes life gets in the way and we place those dreams aside. When we do that to ourselves, we can feel guilt. It can be destructive, debilitating. Or, it can make us get off our rears and realize our dreams, if only a few steps at a time.
That’s a lot of rambling for a small point. This Christmas and into the new year, give yourself a gift. Give yourself the gift of a dream realized, one day at a time.