The weekend before last, I was in Krabi, Thailand, defending my stuff against monkeys and exploring caves and swimming surrounded by fish. It was a much-needed vacation, albeit one where I spent some time working, but on dream projects, writing for print magazines I subscribe to and have always wanted to write for, including one I never thought I would.
But I admit that coming home has been a bit rougher than I expected, mentally more so than physically. Monday was pretty much the low moment; I found myself fixated on the fact that I'd turn 40 in three months, which is weighing on me a lot more heavily than I realized. It feels like such a make or break birthday, one by which I want to have so much organized and sorted out and settled, and the sense that that wouldn't happen somewhat unraveled me. My poor boyfriend had to deal with me when I felt like nothing was going right. It could have been the sleep deprivation of my ongoing jet lag, though I suspect my sleep issues had more to do with stress than time zones.
But then, as tends to happen, Tuesday was a very good day. I woke up feeling stronger and brighter and more aware. Perhaps Monday hollowed me out so I could start fresh. I booked my flight to CatalystCon. My LitReactor class sold out (stay tuned - another one is being lined up for November). The column topic that started off as a big blank started to take shape. I started taking some proactive steps toward some of my big goals. I made peace with the fact that 40 is just a number, albeit one I sometimes wake up and see in my mind's eye, glaring at me, a menacing reminder of everything I'd hoped to be and accomplish by then that I haven't.
So I'm back, and digging in to various new projects and starting to truly get settled in the home I've been bouncing in and out of since June. Maybe I needed that comedown, that mini breakdown or whatever you want to call it, to remind me how good I have it, and to force me to rearrange how I conduct myself so I can appreciate what's in front of me.
I worry sometimes (okay, more than sometimes) about sharing my lesser moments, especially here. I so want to seem like I have it all together, like things are always moving forward, never backward. But that's not true. They are often doing both at once. I often doubt myself so immensely I can't even appreciate the forward motions, and I imagine I'm not the only one.
Here's me on the beach at Poda Island. The water was beautiful and warm and lovely, until I got stung by a jellyfish, that is, but even that was a minor sting, not the catastrophe I remember fearing as a kid. After that, we went to Tub Island, where I was in the water surrounded by gorgeous black and yellow fish swimming all around me. I loved the scenery and the adventure, but I also know that I can have those moments at home too. They may be quieter and less grandiose in their beauty, but they are real too. My goal for the rest of the year (and, well, the rest of my life): treat myself a little more nicely. Remind myself that what I think is a disaster usually isn't. Have more faith in myself and those around me. Relax when it's time to relax and kick ass when it's time to kick ass.