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A Day Off

Sometimes you just need to take a day off. Friday night I went to the pub. I drank wine. I listened to people sing Karaoke and I sang along quietly to myself. I don’t sing in public. I wish I could just let go and have fun. I get terrified at the thought of doing anything in the spotlight. So I hung out at the back of the bar drinking wine, and somewhere throughout the night started smoking again.

Yesterday I thought for a while I had the first hangover I’ve had in nearly twenty years. Turns out, I’ve picked up a cold. I’m getting too old to go out anymore, every time I do I end up with a bug of some sort and totally wasted the next day.

Yesterday I had a day off. I quit worrying about being fat, being unhealthy, being alone. And, I made the decision to stop making decisions and choices when my energy is off-balance. When the emotions or switched on, making decisions is a bad decision. I never really make a good one. Time and again I’ve proven that to myself. Friday night was no different.

Yesterday I had a movie marathon. I’ve been collecting movies from Foxtel, using the IQ box. Yesterday I decided that instead of trying to figure out which one to watch, I was simply going to start at the top and work my way through some of them. I had mixed bag to chose from. I watched an old favourite, Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion. Before that I watched National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1 which was a 90’s spoof movie involving Wilderness Girls Cookies and an evil Army General played by William Shatner.

It was still as daft as I remembered it to be from when I saw it at the movies when it first came out. I love spoof movies, but I can’t figure out how the writers get around the copyright issues of taking the absolute piss out of another studio’s blockbuster.

After that I watched The Descendants, a much slower, more dramatic piece than the other two. George Clooney was fantastic in the role of a father struggling with a brain dead wife and two daughters he didn’t know how to deal with. The guy who played Sid, the friend of the older daughter Alex was a crack up and stole every scene he was in. Not what I was looking for in a film yesterday, but it was a superb movie and if you want to see a family drama you’d be silly not to watch it.

I followed The Descendants with an old favourite of mine The Gift, starring Cate Blanchett. Brilliant piece of film making but I forgot how creepy it was in places.

I wrapped up my lazy day watching a classic from the 1980’s, Trading Places, in which a successful wall street type and a homeless con man find their lives switched through the meddling of two old millionaires. A sort of My Fair Lady with more swearing, and a lot of boobs. I was shocked to see it was 30 years old. But it stood up to the test of time, and that’s awesome. Last time I watched a favourite from my childhood I couldn’t maintain interest in it for more than half an hour.

As my lazy day off progressed, I found myself thinking about my novels. The two I’ve been writing that seem to have disappeared from my day to day rotation of tasks. I found myself wondering why I stopped writing and I came to the realisation I don’t care why. What I care about is getting back onto the tasks at hand and writing the drafts of both books.

As I wrote about in here before, I did a workshopping course earlier this year. I’m used to those courses being over when they finish. Despite all the email addresses being given and the high expectations of creating a writing group as the class comes to an end you don’t really hear from anyone. Yesterday I logged into my hotmail account and there was an email chain from the people in that class. Just a touching base to see how everyone was going that led to a catch up being sort of semi-arranged.

It was awesome to see some of the people still carrying on with their ideas and also to see how many of them had decided to try something new. It gave me the push I needed to simply say “bugger it” and get to writing again.

I keep looking at being unemployed as the end of the world. And frankly, financially at the moment is it an almost physical pain. But the gift of time I’ve been given is a golden opportunity to rebuilt an redesign so many areas of my life. The walking, the quitting smoking, the eating clean, the writing. All of those are things I’ve meant to do for years. Now I have the chance.

I mowed the lawn the other day for the first time in longer than I can remember. I’ve spent an hour or so each day weeding the front garden. It’s currently an overgrown mess, but order is being restored with each weed removed, each piece of fern pulled out of the retaining wall, each stick or stone moved to the rubbish pile. It’s sort of like the rest of my life really. Each hour spent doing something for my future is better spent than many of the hours I’ve had of late.

Time management has always been a problem for me. I’ve written about it in here before. I’ve spent most of my life feeling like I’m running out of time. I’ve decided this week to spend less time worrying about running out of time, past hurts and my age and more time actually doing things to move me forward.

I’ve drawn up a time table, similar to the ones I used to use when putting together an event. I’ve got time for exercise, time for slothing about, time to work on my fantasy novel, time to work on my queer romance novel, time to job hunt and time to watch TV or a movie.

If I stick to this timetable, I’ll make some massive headway in those areas listed above. My world would be a different place to a massive degree in a month and by the end of the year I’d have at least drafted both the novels and be moving into the second book of the fantasy trilogy and knee deep in editing the queer romance for a new years release on Amazon.

I guess the point to this post is that despite a day off coming on the back of a bad decision, taking the time to simply let go gives you the opportunity to step back and look a little more clearly and the path – or paths – you’re currently standing on. If yesterdays inactivity leads to me fully embracing the time table I’ve set for myself than it will be well worth it, even if I do have to start quitting smoking again from Day 1.

Stepping away from the whirlwind and actually stopping can give you insights you don’t expect. Some of the ones that hit me yesterday were a bit surprising, and have nothing to do with the writing career I’m aiming at, but what they all have in common lead me to understand that life begins when you make the effort to do something about it.

I wrote a tweet yesterday that sort of scrolled through my brain unexpectedly. It said;

Sometimes there is no answer. There is no why that makes any sense. Sometimes you just have to let it go.

 

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43 year old Australian writer currently working on the first of a planned three book Epic Fantasy series. When he's not writing policy discussions, or tales of swords, Gods, and magic, he can be found making a mess in the kitchen, and turning perfectly good ingredients into crimes against humanity.

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