Balancing Stressful Lives

Yes, life is busy. I am not going to use the S- word in this post. Instead, I'd like to know how do you decide what is important to you and what is important for you?

Truth is, I am an adult and I make my own busy. Really. Like other adults, I balance a lot, and sometimes, things get put on a different urgency list due to illness or emergencies. Evaluating where my priorities are is so crucial to finding that balance between what is important to me and for me. This is how my list works, let me know how it works for you because I don't imagine there is a right way or a wrong way to look at this, just that we should look at things. 

So who in your life gives you this breath and demands you be your best?
For me, my children and husband are always my priority. I enjoy the time and conversations we share. They're real. They matter. They give me the breath I sometimes need to survive the day, or to inspire writing. These sometimes happen on the road to events or appointments. Or late at night when we all settle in. Having teens in the house has really upped the demands on my time. They are learning how to adult and need constant reassurance and guidance. This is not a job I can fail at even if I myself am still learning how to adult. It has reinforced my partnership with my husband and forced us to evaluate exactly what type of adults we are raising. So no matter what happens around me, every day, I need this time with my family. Of course, it is helpful that they are so awesome! 

So what is needed to inspire and grow and push you?
My community falls naturally in place in my life. Possibly because I am in a small community. If I want my children to grow in a healthy environment, I not only have to invest in it, I have to take from it, which means there has to be something to take from. These things don't magically happen, a team has to be involved to grow them or to ensure they remain. Yes, this means I make time for developing things in the community and sharing and growing, for meetingssss, and rallies, and fundraiserssss. I get my family involved in this so we tackle it as a team. This is very long term and can be draining and even unappreciated. Reminding myself about the types of adults I am raising and seeing them grow is important to get the push I need. Change does happen. Being involved does mean something. I've studied it in history archives and I've seen it with my own eyes. I am lucky these days, since my job falls largely in community growth, and so I can invest this time while at work and it doesn't always have to be after hours. Plus, this involvement gets me in the real world, which in turn will inspire my creativity and my art.

How do you handle the unplanned?
Extended family is not something we often consider will tax our busy lives. But as I enter my forties, I am learning that not only has your career reached a demanding point, those who raised you begin to in turn look to you for support in various new ways. They are aging and used to living their own lives their way, and require not only respect but patience. They are living with challenges, I, too, will one day hopefully face like thinking about their future or fighting illnesses out of their control or they need to adapt to a changing world. Many of my friends are finding this a huge undertaking as well. It's wonderful to reconnect with loved-ones now, but it means putting some things aside to give them the time they deserve. Again, this somehow comes back to me in an inspiring way, when they share their own touching stories and deepen my connection to my roots, which filters to my children and my writing.

Where will you find the energy? The passion? The balance to all this?
Through all this, I am a firm believer that me-time will energize me, and I have to force myself to take this time because it isn't in my nature to think about me first. For me, my time to indulge in my fantasies is my Writing. I enjoy creating worlds, trying new things, pushing limits, making people think. My Writing never reflects my life but part of me that exists on an imaginary terrain where ghosts and magic exist and no one wants to know if I washed their underwear. I never write about my world or people I know. I emerge myself in pure fiction, pulling things from past lives or future ones. I challenge myself to try harder things, pushing my art. I work on 2-4 projects at a time. I do serious writing, rewrites, and edits on one while polishing another or reading another. Giving each project about an hour a day so I advance stories in various genres and names. 

So by giving and taking from my priority, my community, my family, I find inspiration and time for my writing. But by taking this time for me, I am more energized to tackle the busy the others will bring. Always amazes me how this balance happens and how each one interconnects. I would not be me without the other, I would be busy filling gaps without the whole. When one thing goes missing in a day, I feel exhausted and drowning or needing a break.

And I'm told that it's nice I find time for all this. It is, isn't? 

How do you find time for what is important to you and for you? Do you feel that your me-time connects somehow to your others priorities? Ever feel drained and too demanded on and take this moment to self-reflect on your priorities only to discover they are just that simple? And what does your me-time involve?

Short Story is Out Today

Just an update, my short story The In-Between is out today in the anthology by Solstice Publishing.
Available on Amazon

The In-Between

A Story from Project 9 Vol 4 Anthology

Destinies link in the in-between.

A routine surgery lands Cindy in a strange empty hospital that can only be some type of dream linking her between death and life. Running the hallways, searching for a way out, she meets others, entwining their fates beyond this In-Between.

I loved writing this story as it took me on an interesting journey. Yes, I could see this In-Between world, but like magic, the things that happened there, affected the real world and the after-this-life one taking Cindy by surprise, and me a little bit. I had no idea destinies were so connected. 
Coming Soon

Always go for more
Russ doesn’t want more. He has the perfect life planned. Even though he’s called a dummy most days, he knows he’ll go to college, marry Isabelle, and farm with his father and brothers. Yup, perfect.
All that changes in June 1928, the night his brother is kicked out of the house and Isabelle is snatched by a bunch of men dressed like ghosts.
Russ swore to protect Sacred Land but promises made to his pa when life was great are not so easy to keep after he finds himself plagued by a curse. Who are the men terrorising the Cursed Lands and trying to burn his gal for being a witch? His father thinks they’re acting out to scare them off the land, a hate group perhaps? His brother wonders if they’re wanting a sacred plant that grows in the tunnels. His ma knows of other secrets haunting them… While those things might be true, his ghostly grandpa shows Russ something he can’t ignore; a curse summoned years ago that will suck them all into the earth.
With lingering spirits, a troubled girl shadowing his destiny, dark rituals, a love potion, cursed men plaguing their lands, a prison break that takes him away from home when his wife needs him the most, and the earth itself trying to suck them in, Cursed on the Prairiesis a Sacred Land Story that shows that the prairies are a place full of secrets that even a ghost can’t bury.
An emotional journey into an alternate history with paranormal and romantic elements that proves we can’t escape our destinies, Cursed on the Prairies is the third of Tanya’s Sacred Land Stories, the culmination of a trans-generational timeline that started in Legends on the Prairies and continued in Ghosts on the Prairies.

How a Writer Experiences Near Death

I almost died this month. Dramatic, I know, but still true and I can't find a way to say that sentence without the drama except for not using !!! which somehow just makes it even more dramatic. Anyway, I didn't see any lights or even feel a disconnect to my body. I didn't feel fear or any emotions, really. What I felt like was a character in a story. And for a writer, that is a very scary way to die.

I blame winter for the accident, yet at the same time my winter clothes probably saved my life. You see, the door was stuck at the top of the staircase and I yanked on it to pull it shut over the snow. (Another blizzard, who cares anymore we live in a snowy hell). And in my large winter boots (they are too big so I can add extra socks), I lost my footing or my balance, not sure but my hand slipped from the handle (I was wearing those penny gloves) and I fell straight back, down six steps hitting my head on the bottom and probably along the way down, not sure as the head hitting part was not recorded in my brain. Yet the fall back I get to relive over and over again. Arms up, and poof!

From the looks of my clothing, my jacket cushioned the fall and took the punishment. My gloves, although partially to blame, must have stopped some of the impact to my hands as I tried to grab for anything from this realm or another to stop the inevitable. I did slice a part of my hand, nothing serious, I promise. And my toque must have sheltered my head from several of the impacts because it was ripped from head and beside me.

So as I laid staring up at the ceiling, my first thought was that I was dead because no one would survive that. So I got up and looked down at myself, expecting to see a body there all mangled and me invisible looking down at it. (Perhaps I should lay off the paranormal books for a spell.) Obviously, this was not the case and left me feeling confused. Was I really alive? For real? How? Why? (The why part sounds like a strange thing for me think, now, but in the moment, I had a plot running through my head and when a character survives such a fall and just jumps up, there is a why to answer. Why leave this idiot alive... oh because there is a nasty doom awaiting her.)

And so on my feet, I had a blinding pain in my lower back which meant I was alive and still feeling shit and not a character in a book, so I went to close the door. Because yeah. Then I realized my phone was not with me and went to get it in case I had a delayed reaction to death and decided to let someone know I was dead after the fact. (Made sense in the moment.)

And so I took a moment to sit down, phone in hand and gauge just how serious this was. Was I maybe dead and just thought I was alive and this was some alternate universe? (Seriously, I need to cut back on the sci-fi, too.) And so I let my husband know, my boss, and called the hospital for an appointment. Which was stupid and the doctor gave me heck for that, saying that when you fall down steps that is an emergency and you don't make appointments, you go straight there. Yes, that makes sense now. In that moment, I wasn't sure if I was immortal or not and an ER in a blizzard was really pushing my luck. I mean in any good thriller, you know that the victim survives the weirdest fall then dies in a blizzard on the way to the ER. (I am seeing now that perhaps I need a book intervention?)

Anyway, I did have a concussion which explains why I was acting so weird. I am sore now in places meant to remind me that I am in fact alive.

What bothers me is that I don't feel this euphoric energy to go out and enjoy life, perhaps this will come after the pain lets up and hope sizzles in. I don't feel this impending doom that life is too short, perhaps because I have lived many lives in this short one through the eyes of authors and through my own imagination.

I stare at myself in the mirror and I wonder how and why. I look at others and wonder what is their story and how will it end? I do see the world differently, but more like stories with beginnings and ends.

The doctor said the concussion would last weeks, but I still wonder how did I survive something like that and why am I still here? I still feel like a character in a story that is being written by a savage lunatic. And for a writer, that is a very scary way to live.

Have you ever escaped death only to wonder how or why? What was your experience like? And where should I move to escape this snowy hell?