The older I get, the more I learn about myself. In fact, I think that’s the best part of getting older and why I may be the only person in the world who doesn’t mind aging. I love that with every year that passes, I get more understanding and forgiving of myself and others. With each year, I get more comfortable being me, like it or not. And I get closer to finding a healthy balance between work, family, health, and spirit. I get braver.
Sometimes, though, I forget what I learn and I have to learn it all over again. The hard way. For instance, I know that if I allow myself to get lax about my schedule, I get lazy. I like getting up early–there’s no better way to start the day than with a cup of coffee and a quiet moment for myself–but I’m a morning person trapped in a teenager’s body, I swear. My pillow holds me hostage. If I get up late, I end up laying around on the couch and pretty soon I’m not accomplishing anything. I get in a bad mood, and I fall into a rut, and the worst part is, when I feel like that I have very little ability to be introspective. I’ve spent weeks or months in those ruts and I have to remember all over again, when I’m holding onto my sanity by a thread, that I need my mornings.
There are other things too. Like dairy hates me. And I need Vitamin D in the winter. And that organizing something–anything–makes me feel like my day wasn’t wasted. The list goes on.
I’ve been journaling–another thing that brings me peace–and in an attempt to give myself a shortcut when I get off track, I’ve been writing these things down. I’ll throw up a heading like “How to Feel Better” and then I’ll list things like: get up and accomplish something, fresh air and exercise for an hour, journal, call Deborah. It’s like a cheat sheet for myself to myself (although my husband could probably benefit from it too!).
Your Instruction Manual for Life
In writing, there is a thing called a Series Bible–a collection of notes about the characters and settings in a series of books written by the author for the author (and agent and editor) as an easy reference for consistency. The two things came together in my mind and I thought how nice it would be to flip to any topic and have a quick reference for what has and hasn’t worked for me in the past. Adding to it and adjusting it as I go. Even adding notes about the people in my life, like my husband, my kids, my friends, and my family. At any time, whenever I get lost, I can quickly come back to what I know is true in my life.
Getting started is easy–just pick out a notebook that is small enough to carry around with you but big enough to give you plenty of room to make notes. Since the idea is to keep it with you for a very long time, it would probably help to pick one you like looking at, or maybe one that has something inspirational about it for you. It may help to come up with an organization system to make it easy to flip through, like grouping by similar topics (health, career, parenting, soul/spiritual, marriage, friends, family, etc.). Put a heading at the top of each page. Maybe split the page in half for what works and what doesn’t. Or not. Whatever feels right for you. Maybe your first list could be how you best keep track of things!
So no, there is no instruction manual for life but here’s why: we’re all different. We all need different things and understand things in different ways. So if there was ever a shortcut to living, this could be yours, but you have to make it. I’m pretty sure there’s a metaphor in that somewhere…
I’m so excited! This weekend I’m heading to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference for the second year in a row. Last year, I had the time of my life, learned so much, and made some amazing friends. I’m so looking forward to catching up with the people I’ve kept in touch with this year as well as getting a healthy dose of motivation. There’s nothing like getting together with people who are passionate about your passion. Counting down the minutes!
P.S. My goal this year is to actually TAKE PICTURES. *facepalm* Follow me on Instagram if you want to check them out!