Recently, a great number of loose ends have begun to weave themselves together, and goals I’ve been working on for a year or more are suddenly falling into place. That includes:
A) I don’t have cancer. After a couple of months of tests and worry, I found out a week ago that my thyroid tumor is not only benign, but collapsing in on itself, so the planned surgery to remove it is no longer necessary. (If you missed the longer version of that story, read it here.)
B) A month ago I started taking medication for me ADHD, after a lifetime of struggling to stay on top of it without help. The process to get medication took several months, and involved starting therapy with a counselor to make sure it wasn’t depression (it’s not), seeing a general practitioner to rule out a different medical problem (it’s not) and finally seeing a psychiatrist to make sure it wasn’t some other psychological problem (not that either), plus a followup to find out if what I’m taking is working correctly and is at the right dosage (it is).
C) All of the above led me to so many medical tests/blood draws/psychological exams that I have now been declared “very healthy”. Yay!
A little over 2 years ago, I was a hundred pounds overweight. There were a lot of reasons I got there and kept it on for several years, but I knew I needed to change my life for, similarly, a lot of reasons. I’m not guessing on my goal number–it’s based on a weight I actually was, after high school, after having a child, and even then I was still a little over my medically ideal weight. My real goal is a size/level of fitness, not a number on a scale, but when you’re 100 pounds away from where you want to be, picking a goal number helps you visualize where you’re headed. My plan is to get close to that spot, and decide then if I’ve lost enough fat, need more muscle, or would be more comfortable going down one more size. I’ll never be thin, I’m built on an hourglass shape but, luckily, I love the way I look when I’m healthy.
As of now, I’ve lost 35 pounds. It took two years to lose and keep off the first 20, plus learn how to stop putting it back on. I changed my diet, in tiny ways, changed my exercise (adding more as I got healthier), learned about nutrition and portion control and how to eat enough while not giving up the food I enjoy… and the more I understand all of those things, the easier losing weight has been. The last 15 pounds came off in the last two months, and I’m finally at a place where I don’t overeat, do work out. I can see the rest coming off without too much stress, if I give it a little more time.
Plus, last night I went out, wearing a simple summer dress I’d bought on sale for $9, in a standard size, and I looked good. *grin*
A) I’ve needed a stable office/administrative day job for a while now, because freelance is too unpredictable when I have a child to care for and monthly bills to pay. Getting there meant having to find after school/summer care for my son, who has autism. Last summer, he wouldn’t have been accepted to a program for typical kids–he just didn’t have enough language and social skills. After a year of being included in a mainstream class (with a one-on-one aide), and then a few months of going to a one-day-a-week after school program for kids with special needs, and getting used to being away from me with our wonderful babysitter, he was finally ready to try being more independent.
It took weeks to find someone who’d even try a special needs child in their daycare; I got him into one program that kicked him out a week later–not because he’d done anything wrong, but because he didn’t always want to play with the other kids, and they wanted to oversee their children in a group, all at once, so they’d be able to run on a smaller staff. After a few more weeks, I got him into a better (but much more expensive) program partially run by the city, and it’s been wonderful. The staff talked to me about their concerns up front, since he wouldn’t have a dedicated aide and none of the other children have special needs, but it turned out to not be an issue. My son is doing great, he follows the rules, plays where he’s told, and the other kids like him. He’ll be going back in the fall.
During the summer he’s going to be at a camp that’s mixed typical kids/special needs kids, and have an aide for part of the day (swim lessons!), and he’s very excited to start.
B) Once I had that settled, I started sending out resumes. I had three interviews last week, and am waiting to hear back. I realized it’s like submitting stories: the longer they hold on to you, the more you hope you got in. It could still be a rejection, but it’s nice to feel you’re getting close to making a sale.
More than two years after K and I separated, I am finally divorced. It was going to take even longer, but we had a conference last week and settled everything. I ultimately decided that giving up some of what I was owed was worth it if it meant being able to move on with my life. I got stuck with some debt that wasn’t really mine, and didn’t get money I should have, but I also don’t have to try to fight a contested divorce from across the country (he’s in CA). I don’t have to spend more money on lawyers, or more time dealing with this. I can just be done.
Last month I started finishing up a few pieces I began last year, wrote new flash, and created a page for Free Fiction here. This week I put together my first short story collection. I’ve got ebooks now; the print version is processing, and I’ve submitted the ebooks to other distributors. Tracking my stats all year, staying organized, and writing even when I feel like quitting, helped me keep with it even with everything else I’ve had going on. I feel like I’m finally back to where I was in 2010, when I had a clear idea of where my career was going.
We posted an update to our schedule, I’ve emailed the authors for Cthulhurotica 2 and our next novella and our first single-author collection; all of those things are now concurrently being worked on. By me. Yeah. It’s going to be a busy summer.
This is the one dark spot. Medical bills (I got my final bill for both the MRI and the biopsy), normal life expenses, and a month of having absolutely NO freelance work at all have put me behind. Too far behind to ignore.
I’ll need to raise some money for what’s due now, and will post tomorrow with links to buy my work, including signed copies of my anthologies and the new collection. Once this stuff is paid off, and I’m working again, I’ll be able to stay ahead, even put money into future Dagan Books projects, so I can see that very soon, I’ll be okay. I just need to get through this last, very stressful, moment, and move on.
From the outside it looks as if I suddenly have had a change in fortunes. Overnight, my life is better. But really it’s the cumulation of working hard over a long period of time, not letting my stress and fear get the better of me, and not giving up. That’s it. That’s my advice for all of you who’re struggling with the hard things in your lives. Don’t give up.
It can’t get better if you quit.