Friday, June 30, 2017

Like a Nightingale Without a Song to Sing...

I'd say that I have spring fever, but I know it isn't spring.
Good morning!

It's been a while since I posted, and while I may go back and fill in some of those blank spots with some fun stuff, I thought perhaps it was time for a bit of a catching up.

June was...well, a really weird month. I think the early half of the year, with all the drama and trauma -- puppy rescue, writing conference, spills down hillsides, crazy deadlines -- caught up with me, and BOOM. I was visiting the doctor on a follow-up to the back injury and when they took my blood pressure it was high. Rather alarmingly high. In a way it hasn't been for years and years. Not since I walked away from being an evil corporate overlord with a huge corner office and the daily tirades/conference calls to go with it.

Nor did my pressure get better when the nurse cried, "Jesus Christ!!" and then took it three more times in a row. In fact, it continued to climb. (Unsurprisingly, IMHO.)

Anyway, the doctor and I had a chat and I confessed that my anxiety is sort of -- well, totally -- out of control. About things both great and small. For example, Marlowe the Mutt had his little doggie surgery the day before my doctor's appointment, and I was convinced he was going to die during the surgery. Which is just weird. I've had many dogs and a lot of them have had much, much serious medical emergencies than a routine neutering, and I always assumed the dog would be fine. And usually the dog WAS fine.

And Marlowe was fine too.

You've got me...who's got YOU?
It was not instinct or premonition. It was simply out-of-control anxiety. And I'm only partly kidding when I say I blame a lot of it on world events. I think the fact that a country like ours could elect someone like der Trump -- however or why ever it happened-- to the highest office in the land has really shaken my faith in my fellow Americans' commonsense and decency. It has shaken my faith that things usually turn out okay in the end. (Not that this is the end, and not that I want to get political, but this is the reality: our blimp is on fire and a vulgar, pathologically neurotic,  buffoonish madman is at the helm. Personally, I think anxiety is the reasonable and normal response.)

So the doctor and I chatted, with the end result that he prescribed Xanax. I dutifully filled the prescription, but did not take it. What I'm doing, what I've been doing for the past few weeks, is just...resting. Staying off line. Avoiding the news. Reading for Mr. and Mrs. Murder (the non-fiction book on pre-1960s husband and wife sleuthing teams the SO and I have contracted with McFarland), walking and swimming and even occasionally napping. I'm consciously working to Calm the Hell Down.

And I am calmer. I'm answering email again--slowly--and getting ready to write once more (next up BLIND SIDE: DANGEROUS GROUND 6). I've lost weight, I'm sleeping better, my blood pressure is down--oh, and my puppy is healthy and happy, although he has taken to barking at the SO when he tries to enter the boudoir at night.

I've been thinking a lot about happiness. What does it really mean? Am I happy? If you're not UNhappy are you, by default, happy? And if you have time to wonder whether you're happy or not, doesn't it indicate you're too damned pampered and should be sent to the nearest work camp? What about Joy? What's the difference between happiness and joy? Does it matter outside of deciding which to use in a sentence? If I decided I didn't want to keep writing, what else might I do? Should I have kept teaching? And on it goes. I've been thinking about the future. The SO and I live a comfortable life--but we have very little saved for the future OR for the kind of medical emergency that used to destroy families -- and soon will again, if things continue the way they're going. Who knew old age was a preexisting condition!?

I mean, on the other hand, this is how it's always been for writers. Since when did I need or want a safety net?

Anyway, aside from a surplus of thinky-thoughts, everything is okay. I'm avoiding making new commitments though. I'm not making any promises and I'm not creating pre-orders beyond those already existing. Personally and professionally, I'm just taking things one day at a time.

So that was June. Half the year gone, baby, gone. It's going to be interesting to see what happens with the rest of 2017.

What about you? What do you think? Is the year going the way you thought? Better? Worse? Sideways?