It’s about the hurt, not the happy (why the journey matters)

We all have an image inside of us, a shiny self portrait of who we want to be and how we want to live. We use it to motivate us, and occasionally to shame us into activity. It is human nature to always strive for something bigger and better. We stare at the next ridge, pointing at it and proclaiming "there- that plateau right there is where I will put my roots. That is where I want to be." And when we reach it, we realize that instead of a beautiful view of everything we have overcome- we are staring at yet another mountain with another ridge that we desperately wish to climb to. We forget what's important along the way; it's like hiking through the woods with your head down- sure, you'll see the waterfall or the grand view at the end- but what did you miss on the trail up?

We all know the usual life questions, and I suspect we all have similar answers. We all strive for happiness, for success, for health, for fulfillment. We all have these end goals in mind. And yet we forget that the end is only an infinitesimal fraction of that journey. It is the steps and the struggles along the way that will define us, not the final reward.

To see things clearly sometimes you have to flip them on their head. Instead of staring at the shiny picture of the end goal with all of its glory and proclaiming 'I want that,' stop to look at the road that will lead you to the outcome. Stare long and hard at the daily grind, the drudgery, the pain- is that what you truly want? Every dream has a price, and we all have a limited amount of currency to spend in this world; are you willing to endure? Can you find joy on the difficult road ahead? If you can stare into the face of those struggles and still nod your head in agreement and say 'yes please,' then perhaps you have found your calling, my friend.

In our modern world we glorify everything; we put these goals up on pedestals and forget all of the hard work that goes into it. You see the girl with the high paying job as she struts around in her high heels- and you want that, you want to own that persona with every fiber of your being. And yet you didn't see her working until she fell asleep at her computer, going to the bathroom to cry after having to play tough love with an employee, feeling like a failure in other aspects of her life so that she could nurture this dream. You didn't see the sacrifice, the daily fight, the doubt, the frustration; you just saw the shiny picture at the end.

The journey is what will make you, not the destination- success is just a side effect of sweat and perseverance. It is a convergence of good luck and hard work. These things do not always come naturally; there are struggles that will leave you gasping and unsure. It's easy to want the medal at the end of the race- you can see yourself sprinting across the finish line and raising your arms in victory- but can you also picture the 4am runs before work, the blisters on the back of your heels, pushing your body until your lungs feel like they want to explode, putting one foot in front of the other when your brain is screaming at you to stop. Can you accept the daily reality of going out there and putting shoes to pavement in the scorching heat of the day and the drowning rain, foregoing that last happy hour because your long run is in the morning. If you can see that image and you still want it- all of it; then you have found your path.

It's up to you to decide what pain you are willing to endure. If you want to be a writer, then you have to be willing to sit down and work on a scene that isn't inspiring you while all of your friends are out doing something fun. You have to accept rejection letter after rejection letter, wear them like badges of honor. You have to be willing to do what it takes. You have to stare down at the hours of your day and be willing to throw every spare second at the dream in your head. The work will tear you down; it will make you feel weak before it helps guide you to your strength. Every step will be a struggle, every inch will be fought for with blood, sweat and tears.

So what you must ask yourself is this: is the pain worth it? Ignore that shiny picture at the end of the road- would you follow this path even without that beacon glowing down from its lofty perch? How much are you willing to endure? Because at the end of the day, it isn't accomplishing the final goal that will make you happy- it will be looking back at every hard fought step which brought you there.

I just finished my very first relay race. I have a medal sitting on my desk waiting for its place on my wall. When I look at it, the first thing that comes to my mind is not that moment I crossed the finish line. It isn't the second I got that reward put on neck. I see the first steps, the first sprint. I see the horrible sunburn I got because I was so nervous I forgot to put sunscreen on before my first leg. I feel the jitters as I waited for my turn. I see my team nodding off in the back of the van mid-conversation as we waited for our runners because there is just no time to sleep. I remember being on the verge of defeat wondering whether I could actually push myself enough to make it to that finish line. I remember the tears- some for frustration, others from excitement. I remember my lungs burning, my muscles aching, my throat parched- and turning up the volume on my music instead of stopping. I remember freezing at the exchange point, waking up in the hallway of a high school with a few hundred strangers. I remember running through the middle of the night and staring up at the stars. I remember the internal battle I waged when my brain told my body that I couldn't do it- and my spirit picked up the fight to push harder. I remember the struggle that gives my little medal meaning. It wasn't the destination that mattered in the end- it was how I got there. It's just like with my writing; my success will not be measured by a book deal- it's in every night I put pen to paper, every time I power up my laptop when I would much rather be watching Game of Thrones.

The success is such an infinitesimal fraction of the event; you must choose what you want based off of the journey, not the destination. The truth is that when all is said and done- you don't know if you'll make it to that finish line. You don't know if you will ever be the shiny perfect person in the picture you have in your head. So at the very least, pick a road you can enjoy being on. I may never be a published author, it's very possible my name will not be remembered with the greats. But at the end of the day it won't matter. Because I love every moment of what I'm doing. I love the daily grind, I would do it no matter what the outcome was. I would write even if I was the only one to ever read those words. That is my path; that is the pain I adore, that is the frustration I am will to endure. That's what it's all about- do what you love, don't suffer for a means to an end. Because if you hate every minute of it- even if you succeed, it will be tainted and bitter. The journey is what matters, not the destination.

Camp Nano Cabin Search

Hello there, my dear friends! Camp Nano kicks off tomorrow at midnight- I am really hoping I will manage to stay awake for the late night start, but there is always a possibility that I will turn into a pumpkin instead. I wanted to extend an invitation to anyone who may be interested or is sitting uncomfortably on the fence- if you would like to join our little writerly challenge, we still have plenty of room available in our group. All ages and genres are welcome (the more diverse the better). You don’t need to have any crazy goals for July- just a love for writing and an openness to talk with other people who share this little passion of ours.

For those who haven’t heard of it- it’s a virtual writing challenge, so no real sleeping bags are needed (unless you want one, then by all means- enjoy). If you would like more info, you can peek at the website right here Camp NaNoWriMo, or feel free to leave me a comment! I’ve participated the past couple of years, and though I’m not an expert, I’d like to think I’ve explored it enough to answer any questions. And if, as I hope you will, you decide to take the plunge and join this lovely little adventure- let me know- I have plenty of room for a friendly face in our cabin.

Happy writing, my friends! It’s going to be another crazy ride.

My Own Mirror of Erised

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

-Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

If you are unfamiliar with the lore of Hogwarts, if your heart does not trill with the magic that dances within its stone walls, then perhaps you do not know the legends surrounding The Mirror of Erised. The mirror is magnificent, stretching up to the ceiling of a forgotten classroom buried within the stone walls of the school. It was held in an ornate gold frame with clawed feet and an inscription was carved along the top ‘Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi.’ At first glance it seems like a beautifully imagined language, but much like its own name, when read backwards it begins to make sense: I show not your face but your heart’s desire.

The happiest man in the world could look into its glass and use it as a simple mirror. But for everyone else, they will see whatever they wish for their lives; no matter how grand or unattainable that dream may be. For Harry, who had never known his parents, he was surrounded by family. For Ron, who had always felt overshadowed by his many siblings, he stood above the rest. The story begs the question: what would you see? 

It’s an odd occurance when you come close to reaching a long coveted goal and the idea of its impending conclusion consumes you. Whenever I get close to grasping one of the milestones I have laid out for myself I get a laser focus. Aliens could invade tomorrow and I wouldn’t notice a thing out of the ordinary, even if they stood right in front of me and introduced themselves before tap dancing to the nearest 7-11 for a slushy. I can see my future so clearly I can taste it. I’ve been spending far too much time staring into my figurative mirror, my desires burning me up from the inside. Perhaps it’s a good thing my acceptance letter got lost in the post (they must have had one lazy owl on duty that day), because I can’t help but wonder if I would be that student so consumed by thoughts of their future that I would never step away from that glass.

Patience is a virtue, as the saying goes. Sadly, I don’t really know- it’s not something I’ve ever been particularly good at. Don’t misunderstand- I know how to wait, in fact, you could say that I’ve mastered the artform itself. I tend to take long strategic steps in my life, moving one piece after the others are all in their proper place. But I am never even remotely patient about it. I get anxious and antsy, desperate to keep moving, even if I only manage to spin my wheels. It feels like I’m at least doing something, making an attempt, though I perhaps have no progress to show for my efforts.

I stand knocking on the doors of my own opportunity, seeking admittance to the wonders just beyond. Once that door dares to crack just a hair, leaving open an infinitesimal possibility, I try jumping right in. This is both a blessing and a curse- sometimes it’s all about the timing, and being the first to hop up gives you the best shot. Other times you aren’t fully aware of what you are careening into and find yourself treading water in the deep end of the pool without your water wings.

Most good things in life come with some amount of sacrifice. If you want to be the best in your career or have a happy and healthy relationship, there is hard work involved. If you want to be a writer then you invest your time, your heart and your soul. If you want to make it through school with as little debt as possible you must sacrifice a certain amount of independence and privacy- to live with other people and find a certain level of financial security. But there are things in life that are well worth the sacrifice it took to get them.

My hopes for my future are not particularly grandious in design; I want a house to call my own, a place where my dog can run amok without bothering any roommates or relatives we happen to be living with. I want a certain level of financial security, though I have never needed much. I want to cook dinner in my own kitchen while dancing to my favorite music. I want to sit on my back porch and write the stories that trill through my soul. I want to let the passion of the words consume me fully as I delve into a world of my own imaginings.  This is what I see when I look into my figurative mirror. I see a girl who gave up a lot to secure a future that is still a bit precarious. I see a girl who finally made it to that place so many people take for granted. I see a house that I can make a home. I see happy creatures and the man I’ve build a life with cuddling up to watch an episode of our favorite show. I see words seared into a page, my name on the cover- even if no one ever reads it. I see someone who can run a 5K on a whim without feeling like her body is careening dangerously close to self-destruct mode. I see a woman where a girl once stood. I see sacrifices that were well worth the pain of their investment. I see the fruits of my labor finally coming to fruition. 

The fact that I haven’t reached certain milestone by now has been a tough pill to swallow. Even though I know that these conscious decisions were made with my own best interests in mind. It still smarts a bit when I see where others are in their own lives. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell myself not to compare my life to theirs because our paths are very different. I think it’s human nature to stack up your accomplishments, deduct your failures and see where you stand amongst your peers. In some areas I am so proud of where I am and who I have become, and in others I know that there is more work to be done.

Suddenly and inexplicably, I have reached a point where a few of those visions I see in the mirror might actually become realities in the near future. Even though I’ve been worked towards it for so long, I was still caught off guard. The thing with unrealized dreams is that the moment you think there is an inkling of a possibility, you want to jump and snatch it before fate dangles it out of your reach again. This is where I have found myself. I am so giddy and entranced by this possibility that the thought of waiting another moment is excruciating. How is it that I could be so patient for years, and suddenly, now the thought of another few months tears at me?

The problem is that I’ve been too focused on the image I see in my own little Mirror of Erised. I have been sitting here watching that dream unfold on the other side of the glass, pressing my palms against it in the hopes that I can melt into this other world. I spent too much time looking in the mirror and forgetting that I needed to live it instead. I need to learn this thing they call patience and remember that there is still work to be done. The sacrifices that we make do not guarantee success. We make our decisions and cast the die, praying we weighted them enough to roll in our favor.

It is far too easy to lose perspective and stumble at the finish line. I may have a habit of taking the long way around, but sometimes the scenic route can be so beautiful if you slow down to enjoy it. Life will do whatever it wants with you- you have to learn to roll with every punch and leap at every viable opportunity. But don’t jump too soon, because you might land on some shaky ground. 

I must always remember that on this road, in persuit of my dreams, I cannot forget to look around and appreciate where I am. Life will not always be like this; for better , worse or indifferent. This moment is just as important as the others. So turn from the mirror, blink your eyes and find the joy in this moment right now. It’ll all work out in the end. You must have faith that you will find the road that will lead you home. Perhaps someday I will look in the glass and it will be just another mirror. Until that day, I still have dreams to chase. And I can only do that right here in this moment.

The Ladies of Literature (the gender gap and other surprising revelations)

Raise your margaritas my lovely ladies, in honor of International Women’s Day. Today was beautiful; the last time I saw this much female love and empowerment was in the bathroom at my favorite dive bar. Admit it my female friends- we will never be as kind and supportive as we are when we meet in the restroom after a couple of drinks. If we could bottle that mentality and carry it over to our sober selves, the world would be a much happier place. Given our current political climate, today was ushered in with an unusual amount of fanfare and excitement. As a woman who proudly carries the title of feminist, I have found so much hope in the outpouring of love that I saw today. 

March is National Women’s History Month, and many bookstores are celebrating with discounts and special events. I’ve never paid much attention to the gender of the authors that I read; my tastes are all over the board, I voraciously read anything and everything. I always just assumed that I read predominantly female works, or at least a fairly equal amount for both sexes. But I decided to try a little experiment, one I hope you will consider attempting yourself: can you think of the last five or ten books that you have read? Do you have them in your mind? Good. Now, out of that list- how many of those authors were females?

Does the answer surprise you? Because it shocked the hell out of me. Out of the last five books I’ve read, every single one of them was written by a man. Out of the last ten, four were written by a woman. So I decided to delve a little bit deeper, I was curious- surely I read more female authors than that. I keep track of all of my books on Goodreads, I am a chronic list-creator; it makes me happy inside (don’t judge too harshly). So I looked through the list of every book I have read so far in 2017. And do you know what I found? Only 25% were written by women (several, in fact, were written by the same woman). How is that possible? Is there really that much of a disparity in the literary world, or have I just been following an insular pattern when selecting my books?

There is a used bookseller in Cleveland, Ohio that noticed this disparity. Harriett Logan, owner of Loganberry Books, noticed that there was a vast difference in genders of the authors she carried in her store. She estimated that out of the roughly 10,000 pieces of fiction in her shop, nearly two-thirds were written by men. To illustrate this point, she decided that art could speak louder than her words alone. Together with several employees and volunteers, they went through the fiction section and flipped around every single book written by a male author. The visual is astounding.


The point that they were trying to make was that the gender gap in publication can still be a very real issue that aspiring female authors may have to face. Are you suspicious of this claim? Truthfully, I was too, so I decided to run my own little investigation. My conclusions surprised me, to say the least.

In 2015 author Catherine Nichols decided to try her hand at an interesting experiment. She sent out identental queries to dozens of agents under both her own name as well as a male pen-name. The length of time it took to garner a response was much shorter for her male counterpart; after sending the first six queries under his name, she received her first response within minutes, to be followed by four more- three of which included requests for a manuscript (many more were to follow as she continued her experiment). On the other side of the equation, after fifty queries were sent out under her own female name, she only received two requests for a manuscript. At the conclusion of this little test she found that George (her fictional male alter-ego) was 8.5 times more likely that she was to get a manuscript request from an agent. Let that sink in for a moment. As she so elequently put it, he was “eight and a half times better than me at writing the same book.”  

This isn’t as isolated an incident as I had originally thought. As it turns out, there are many authors who choose to publish under a male pen name, or in the alternative, have their work published under an ambiguous name. Take J.K Rowling, for example; her publisher was afraid that a woman’s name on the cover would hurt book sales- and thus, her initials became famous. She isn’t the only one either; Emily, Charlotte and Anne Bronte, Mary Ann Evans (aka George Eliot), Ann Rule, Louisa May Alcott, Nelle Harper Lee, and Nora Roberts, have all worked under male pseudonyms. 

Some studies suggest that one of the problems that women face when it comes to finding a good foothold in the literary world comes down to publicity. An Australian study conducted over a lengthy period of time (from 1985 to 2013) found that female authors were less likely to make it into book reviews and similar publications that would help boost book sales. Over this particular time period, two-thirds of the books written were by female authors, and yet two-thirds of the books featured in publishing reviews were written by men. These numbers haven’t changed much in the past 30 years and have shown be consistent with global trends. Male authors also have a higher probability of winning awards for their work as well as being included on school syllabus reading lists.

Now, these observances aren’t in any way meant to demean the work of our male counterparts; we all share the same passions, and as such, we share the same joy and excitement to see the successes of others who share in this crazy way of life. That being said, as a female author who carries the dream of being published someday, I find these statistics to be disheartening, to say the least. It is a reminder that, though we have come so far and etched a place for ourselves in this complicated society, there are still fields where we will have to openly face gender bias, whether intential or not. It is a stunning reminder that I will have to decide if my work will be best sent off into the word under a name that is not my own. It scares me, to be honest, that I may have to fight that much harder than my male counterparts to achieve the same dream that we both carry. Breaking into publishing is challenging enough without feeling like the deck may be stacked against you.

And yet, we live in a world of constant change. Modern technology has transformed everything about our daily lives, and the publishing industry was not exempt from these trends. The current shifting taking place in the publishing world; the opening up of the market through the use of self-publishing is categorically changing the game. If you couple that with the fact that women are traditionally the largest consumers of literature; you realize the power that we have to change these traditional trends. We can choose to market our work under our own name, we can choose to publish our work directly to the masses and use social media to publicize it. We can keep on submitting out work, continue to fight for those cherished dreams. Through adversity our work will flourish, it is during the struggles that we discover our true message and our voice. Ladies, let them hear your stories, don’t let them look away or shuffle you to the bottom of the pile. My name is Kaitlynn, I am a female author, and I am damn proud to be one, even if that means my road will be a little bit bumpier. 

Marching On (new month, new goals)

I can’t believe it is already March! This month my puppy will be turning 4, which perhaps means he isn’t much of a puppy anymore. A week after that I will be reigning in my 28th birthday. It seems the older I get, the faster time goes. Last year I spent it in Las Vegas- I had never been before. It was phenomenal! If you get a chance to spend a little bit of time there, I highly recommend The Titanic exhibit, and if you are willing to drop a bit of money, zip-lining down Fremont Street will not disappoint you. Unfortunately, due to my work schedule, there will be no extravagant travel destinations this year- though a quick jaunt up to Seattle may be a nice compromise. 

Last night I got to try my hand at some super-secret ninja-stealth style techy salvaging, all in an attempt to rescue some projects I’ve been working on that, unbeknownst to me, haven’t been backing up properly. I am a stickler for backing up my work, so when I realized that my systems were malfunctioning it sent me into a bit of panic mode (as I discovered, they have been pretty sporadic since November). But alas- the mission was a success, and now my projects are all safely ensconced in my old laptop (plus a few other locations, for safety’s sake). So that right there got my new month stepping out on the right foot.

That leaves me with one big question to answer: what now? What path am I hopping down this March? I’ve decided that it’s important to try something a bit different this time around. Instead of setting an ambitious word count goal, I am going to focus on building consistent routines instead. I will not confine myself to a set number of words each day, instead I will simply cultivate the routine of sitting down every day to write. This is a basic, and it’s one I used to follow religiously. I have fallen off that wagon in the recent past, but it’s time to dust myself off and climb back into the driver’s seat. I’ve got plenty to do, so that won’t be the problem. My hope is that I will be able to tie up some loose ends in my novels this month, and perhaps dedicate a portion of my time towards editing.

Of course, we cannot forget that Camp Nano is literally just around the corner- we have one month to prepare until the April session commences. I am so excited! They opened up the website today for anyone who wishes to register their novel already and start hunting for a cabin. Honestly, Camp was always my favorite. Don’t get me wrong, I love the reulgar November event, but the Camp sessions always had such a different atmosphere to them. I’ve met some amazing people this way, and I hope this April will be no exception. 

As of right now, I haven’t registered yet- mainly because the prospect of picking out my project is a daunting one and Ihaven’t  really put much thought into it yet. Truthfully, it feels like we just finished the big Nano, how is it possible that we are nearly at the next session already? I will put some deep thought into this over the next couple of days. When I’ve finally made that laborious decision, you will all be the first to know. March will be full of prep work- so be warned, you will probably be getting another front row seat to my process. 

Cheers my friends, and happy Marching.

 

February Foibles or Learned Lessons 

The path to success is not a linear one. This road will be different for any why dare to cross it. It will be full of cliffs, valleys and peaks. You will find yourself running on ahead, stopping for a rest, or even backtracking over ground you already covered. Contrary to what all of the self-help and productivity books try to tell us,  there is no right or wrong path to follow. It’s a matter of grit and determination, of knowing when it is
time for you to surge ahead and when it is a time to fall back. We all have struggles to overcome, we all have strengths to uphold; we all walk different paths, even if our anticipated destination is the same. 
February was a month of learning and re-evaluating for me. Perhaps some would call it a failure- and if you look at the bare-bone numbers, perhaps they would be right. After all, I didn’t hit the well-defined goals that I set for myself at the beginning of the month. I told myself that I would try to  publish four new posts to this blog every week, and as you can all certainly attest to, I came nowhere  near that number. I also decided to set a 50,000 word goal for the month, and I only managed to get to  about 22,000. For the first time in a semi-Nano event, I missed my mark and fell short. Like I  said, if you look at the quantifiable data for my February- you could call this past month a failure. But I, in good conscience, cannot. 

You see, I have always been the type of person who likes to learn my lessons the hard way. I tend to take the long way around to come to the same conclusion that others may quickly arrive at. I  have always been the type to go for the experience to learn my little bits of worldly wisdom. And in some ways, I think I am better for it. I am no different when it comes to my writing- I have to try all of  the wrong ways before I can settle on the right one.  

What this past month really boiled down to was a lack of preparation. I went into February expecting one thing and receiving something completely different. February was anticipated to be a  relatively relaxing month- I was going to have plenty of time to get everything done. But the month itself quickly proved that it would not settle for basic expectations. Instead of a slow plodding, it turned into 28 days filled to the brim with last-minute plans and engagements, emergency problems and issues that  required additional time and effort. To put it bluntly, things just went sideways and got a bit crazy. And my big problem was that I didn’t prepare myself for these contingencies. I am a firm believer in  Murphy’s Law- if something can go wrong, then it probably will. Which is why it was rather silly of me to  expect to get by on a hope and a prayer; it wasn’t a sustainable plan, in fact, I don’t think I can really call it  much of a plan at all. I tripped and I fell; and in the hustle and bustle of life, I just couldn’t quite get back  to my feet. 

The beautiful thing about these kinds of ‘failures’ boils down to the lessons that you learn from them; you have to be prepared and ready for whatever may be tossed at you. Because of the issues I  encountered in February, I’m changing the game plan, and I will be charging into March with a much stronger footing. The key to my success is going to come down to my planning. I was starting to get a bit lazy, a tad sloppy with my work. I wasn’t giving the words time to breath, I was pushing through to publishing posts before they had a chance to ruminate and be properly edited. I didn’t give them a  chance to live up to their potential. And that is my fault as their creator; they were only granted as much life as I was willing to give them. Which is why I have a whole new process in place, going back to my  regimented days that I used when I first started this blog; and you know what, it’s actually a bit liberating. I always felt like the strict schedules were stifling, but in truth, they gave me the freedom to really focus on one thing at a time instead of scrambling at the last minute. I have a weekly schedule in
place with the different topics I want to cover each week. I’ve given myself a bit of room for flexibility, after all, you never know when the passion will strike for a particular topic, and I feel it is important to  give myself a touch of creative license. But at least for the moment, I have a backbone, a plan in place  when I feel like I just don’t know what direction to take next. I can get ahead of the pack, so to speak,  and start getting some ideas down in advance- give them the proper amount of time for editing before
they get thrust out into the world for anyone to see. 

This planning will also help me find more time to work on my actual novels; I wont be scrambling for blog posts as often, so I can focus on the bigger project. Not only that, but I am  scheduling specific writing time- and my intent is to stick with it. Even if I wind up needing to cut the  time short just because of life- at least I can get in a bit of work time. I’m taking into account which days I can invest more time than others, and giving myself enough room to enjoy some of those little ‘extras,’ like my reading or crafty projects. It’s all about the balance.  

Not only that, but I was finally able to figure out a work-around for my chronic technological issues that have left me at a near-standstill with my writing. I’ve been having intermittent issues with my
laptop since Nano; I’ve been forced to write virtually all of my blog posts on my phone (which I am not a big fan of), and I’ve been occasionally blocked from my word processor- which effectively blocks me  from doing anything with my current WIPs. I wont get into the boring details on what is wrong with it,  but suffice it to say that my document back-ups have been intermittent at best. But this past week I have figured out a temporary patch for my system- something that, theoretically, should work long  enough for me to upload my WIPs to my different back-up avenues. I’ve pulled my old laptop out of  storage and, while it has its own issues, it will at least allow me to type and back-up my work- the bare  essentials of my programs still function just fine (though I have to buy a new charger because my current one has  exposed wires that are in constant danger of potentially catching something on fire). But it will do in a  pinch until I can save up the money to invest in something new. In the meantime, as a back-up to my  Plan B, I am setting up my tablet, just in case my old laptop decides that it preferred retirement. The  tablet isn’t particularly convenient, mainly because of formatting differences that turn editing into a bit of a tedious headache, but I will at least be able to get some work done. So now I have continugency  plans; I wont just be stuck, all dressed up with nowhere to go. 

Yes, it is true, some may say that February was an epic failure. But I am not one of those people. I have learned a lot, I am still figuring out my new routines and plans that will be best for me; and yes, I
still need to figure out how to add some fitness goals in here. But I’m trying. I’m getting organized so that I will be able to more easily take this one day at a time. I am setting myself up for success in March. I’ll get there eventually, I’m just going to take the scenic route along the way. 

Technology: Friend or Foe?

Oh technology, my strongest ally and my fiercest foe. Why do you constantly deem it necessary to torment me? My dearest laptop, after all of the time I have invested with you; all of those hours we logged together clickity clacking away on that keyboard, scanning page after page of research, bonding with faraway strangers at the speed of light, creating worlds and galaxies with nothing more than twenty-six letters constructed into infinite possible words. I’ve been good to you, haven’t I? I’ll admit, I’ve been a tad clingy in the past, especially during the frazzling Nano months; but we had a good time, didn’t we? And I’m sorry I spilled my coffee on you once- but your lid was closed, I cleaned you properly- will you ever forgive me for that accident?

You see, I hate to admit it, but I’ve come to depend on you. A lot. And yet lately it just doesn’t seem like you care as much as you did once upon a time. You are distant, you keep locking me out of my word documents- documents we created together, I can now only look at them through Microsoft Windows, but I cannot touch. I cannot even copy them to a new word processor. I can simply stare at that spelling error mocking me without the tools to correct it. It’s because you’ve disconnnected- from me and the worldwide web. You don’t like your old friend, the router. And so you just arbitrarily decided that you were done with it. But now I can’t even back up my work to the cloud, and my word processor locked me out because it can’t verify my ongoing subscription if it can’t connect to the internet. It’s a sad day when your best technical ally becomes your enemy, hiding your written secrets even from yourself.

I don’t want to move on, I don’t want a new laptop- and truthfully, I can’t afford one. I just don’t know why we can’t work together anymore. I always tried to do right by you. I’m not perfect; I didn’t always put you where you belonged, I let the baby type on you (with supervision), and yes, I have spilled my treats on you. But I’ve always tried my best, I’ve always ensured you got your updates and were protected from outside viruses. I thought we were close. 

And yet, here I am, having to pull my old laptop out of storage- you know, the one that is slow and clunky, the one that just got worn out and tired- the one with the exposed wires for a charging cable. It was supposed to be resting, enjoying its technical retirement- but it’s having to join the workforce again- my workforce. Because you left me. Because modern computers now need an internet connection for even the most mundane of tasks. Because the world has evolved and my dependence on your abilities is so much stronger than it used to be.

Please, I hope we can work this out. I dream of a day when I log in and see those little bars that mean you’ve decided to reconnect to the outside world. I won’t give up on you, my friend, even if it feels like you gave up on me. Because at the end of the day- we need each other. We are peanut butter and jelly, popcorn and butter- sure you could get by with one of us, but it is the combination that knocks it out of the park. Until then, I will miss you my friend. And I hope the old laptop is okay with coming out of retirement. I am so glad I held on to it.