Please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com for information on guest blogs and interviews. Interviews for May: (5/4) Linda Norlander, (5/11) Connie Berry, (5/18) Mary Keliikoa, (5/22) Annette Dashofy, and (5/25) Rosalie Spielman.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Some Thoughts for the New Year by Marilyn Levinson

Happy 2022, Everyone! I'm not one for making New Year's resolutions. It's not that I consider my lifestyle to be perfect but I eat properly, exercise regularly, and get my manuscripts to my editor on time. I could resolve to write first thing every morning before checking my email and Facebook sites instead of getting in a few hours before dinner, but my pattern is set and it works well enough. I stay in touch with friends and family. I get enough sleep and I keep up with doctors' appointments and necessary shots. What I needed, I soon realized, was to simplify my life—cut down on activities and delete what wasn't working in my life.

With that in mind, I withdrew my membership from a group of mystery writers I'd joined at its inception a few years ago. I liked the idea of being part of a group whose purpose was to support one another and promote each others' books in various ways. I grew to like the members very much but after a while began to wonder if the group was working for me. Very few members were writing cozies like me and most were indie-published, which I'm not. I had certain obligations to the group, which I fulfilled, but rarely volunteered to fill positions, which made me feel bad for not giving it my all. And I wasn't giving it my all, I realized, because I wasn't fully invested in the group's activities. And so I left.

I'm at an age where I have to choose my activities because whatever I do takes a bit more time and a bit more effort. I soon realized that I was putting pressure on myself in ways that had nothing to do with other people. Oddly enough, this had to do with my evening, which is my so-called "free time" because I don't do any work related to writing. But being goal-oriented I feel obliged to remain busy. Accomplish. Some of the activities that have to be done and accomplished involve going through two newspapers online, working a crossword puzzle, watching a few streaming shows, then read or listen to a book—and do some knitting if my hands don't hurt. Needless to say, these "accomplishments" keep me occupied till after midnight. Of course I enjoy doing them, but why the pressure? Why the urgency to see all, read all, do all? Who cares how many of the series, movies and books my friends recommend I get to enjoy as well? The point is, I have to learn not to care.

It's time I learned to relax. Not feel obliged to load up my schedule so that every minute is spent in a worthwhile endeavor. I'm well past the age of retirement and entitled to simply sit and daydream occasionally without mentally working on my plot. I need time and space to just . . . be.


16 comments:

Kait said...

There are a number of lessons here! In some ways, the pandemic has increased our drive to be active and productive all the time. Now, two years into this COVID induced bubble in time, it’s important to take back our lives in ways that satisfy us. A lot of that means letting go and leaning into ourselves. Good for you, Marilyn!

Susan said...

I’ve heard this more and more from my friends, all of whom are aging as I am. We’re all making decisions about our time and efforts. Good for you, Marilyn, to consider your priorities. I hope these changes give you comfort!

Jim Jackson said...

Marilyn, I applaud anyone who chooses to be more mindful of the decisions they make on a daily basis to nurture themselves and let their inner selves help steer those decisions.

Have a great 2022,
~ Jim

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Happy New Year! Good choices, carefully considered.

KM Rockwood said...

Hope your insights lead you to a more satisfying life style.

Shari Randall said...

Wise words, Marilyn. Wishing you the best ever 2022.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Kait, Susn, Jim, Margaret, Kathleen and Shari,
Thank you for your kind words. I am trying to simplify my life, especially now that I probably will have knee surgery very soon.

Kait said...

Hope you have an easy time with the knee surgery!

Debra H. Goldstein said...

keep us posted on the knee surgery and how the simplification works out.

Christine DeSmet said...

I love your wisdom, Marilyn. I'm considering my obligations, too, and what's really valuable to my happiness and productivity. There is such freedom in just saying "Nope, not for me." Thank you for your insights.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Kait and Debra,
I'll find out this afternoon what's what re knee surgery. Ugh! Not what I need right now. So far this year hasn't been great.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Christine,
Thanks for your kind words. I hope I can continue to not pressure myself and to only do that which is necessary and good for me and my writing. Alas, we don't always know beforehand. But you're right—we need to remember the word "no."

Molly MacRae said...

I often wish days were twice as long so that I have time for everything I need to or would like to do (mostly what I'd like to do - phooey on dusting). Being happy with the time I have and the tasks and pastimes I accomplish is a struggle. Often enough I win, and I go to sleep or get up in the morning happy. Sometimes the blues win.

Good luck with your knee and with simplifying, Marilyn. WWK is rooting for you. Let us know how both go.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Molly,
We're busy people and that's why there aren't enough hours in the day for us. I just came back from the orthopedist. He gave me a Cortisone shot. He said if it works, that's it. If not, to come back in a month. I'm a happy camper.

Teresa Inge said...

Great advice! Here’s to a healthy 2022!

Marilyn Levinson said...

Thanks, T! And to you. Be well.