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.