Charlie's Blog: Housekeeping



Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

The Gentle Reader will be forgiven for thinking that I have abandoned this blog because of the long hiatus since my last post. I have not abandoned the blog, but I did take time away to work on things in my personal life that needed my full attention. One of those things was a 9 year project that has come to a satisfying end. I thank God for helping me on that.

I have been rethinking my life for the past year and trying to decide where to go from here. My projects are the same, but I have made some adjustments to those projects as my situation has changed. It's like picking a destination but changing the route on the way because of road construction or what have you. I call these adjustments "pivots." They are not major changes but minor changes.

My first pivot has been to abandon fiction writing completely. The biggest reason I did not write more fiction was because I lacked the time to write short stories and novels. Now that I have time for that stuff, I have a better reason for not writing fiction. I'm not good at it. I am good at writing non-fiction stuff. It comes easy for me, and people say good things to me about my non-fiction pieces. The same is not true for my fiction. I also hate writing fiction. It takes too much out of me, and I never feel satisfaction about the results.

I am not a perfectionist, but I do believe in not wasting time on things you're not good at doing. I am not good at fiction. I think most fiction writers are not good at writing fiction.

I am also not good at writing poems. I've written a few, but I just don't care to write poems. My problem is that I have imagined myself as some kind of full spectrum writer, but I am mostly good at writing essays and journalism. And let's admit something to ourselves. We always prefer a true story to a fake story.

My second pivot has been taking up walking as my cardio exercise. I used to run in my younger days, but I see running as stupid now because of the high injury rate. I like walking, and it fits my writer's lifestyle and mind. A lot of my writer heroes were walkers. Walking gives you time to think. I'll have more to say on this topic in a future post.

My third pivot has been embracing what I call "strategic rest." For the last two decades, I have been concerned with time, money, and energy. I figured out the time problem and the money problem. But I never figured out the energy problem until now. Then, I had an epiphany while out for a walk.

I used to sleep six hours each night. I admired people who bragged about getting by on four hours. One of those people was Arianna Huffington. Then, Huffington fainted from exhaustion and smashed her head on a desk cutting her cheek. She woke up in a pool of her own blood and decided she needed a saner lifestyle.

I don't believe people sleep four hours per night. I think they deprive themselves during the week and catch up on the weekend. They lie. When someone like Huffington does it, it doesn't go well.

I could never get by on four hours of sleep. On six hours, I functioned normally but never at what I consider an optimal level. The result has been lethargy and a lack of energy. My answer was to drink large quantities of coffee and Mountain Dew. I now see this as stupid. I still drink coffee, but I believe in getting eight hours or more each night. And if you need a nap, take it.

I don't believe in being lazy, but I also know that you don't get more done when you burn the candle at both ends. The reason people don't have energy and feel bad all the time is because they are sleep deprived. When you sleep, you recharge the battery. When the battery is charged, you can get more done.

Life has limits. Because of this, I now have a rest strategy. I also believe in taking a day of rest on the Lord's Day. I don't care for vacations or leisure. I just think eight hours of sleep each night, a daily nap, and a day of rest are what helps you recharge. If you schedule your work around your rest, you will have more energy and get the same amount done.

I have a lot of challenges in my life right now, and those challenges are the primary reasons for these pivots. I have less to give now which means I have to be wiser in what I spend the rest of my life doing. I am old and beat up. I'm just not dead. So, I am going to do what I can with what I have where I am at. That's all any of us can do.