“There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” — C.S. Lewis
“If you’re reading this…Congratulations, you’re alive. If that’s not something to smile about, then I don’t know what is.” — Chad Sugg, Monsters Under Your Head
I thought fish really loved pots.
But not just any pots – pots with holes in them. Pots which are actually more like vases with holes in them.
And I thought this not because I felt that fish necessarily appreciate the ornate designs of mock-shattered vases, but because I thought they liked to sleep inside them. In fact, all my hours of research clearly pointed to one solution: buy a pot. Fish like to sleep in them.
For those of you who haven’t read Fish, Love, and Companionship, you should probably know that I own a little veil-tail betta named Hemingway. I’ve had him for about four months now, and despite my inexperience as a fish-mom, I’d like to think that I’ve taken pretty good care of him. I mean, I bought him a pot after all.
But what I’ve really learned in my short time with Hemmy is that fish, like people, need room to grow. When I bought Hemmy at the pet store, he came in a tiny little plastic container with barely any water or space to swim. I thought I was doing him a favor by buying the largest glass bowl that store offered (which wasn’t much), but he wasn’t getting any happier and I soon realized that he needed more space.
So Hemmy got to move. I went to a different store and bought him the biggest bowl they carried, which was a one gallon globe with a light. After some adjusting, he took to the new size really well and enjoyed all his extra space. Four months and several battles with fin rot later, Hemmy required another move. He was probably happy in that globe, content even. But, I knew he was never going to reach his full potential in a space he had clearly outgrown.
More research and careful planning led me to a 2.5 gallon tank with a gentle filter, light, and enough space for a pot (bonus). It’s only been about a week, but I can already see Hemmy’s fins growing back together. He’s much more adventurous now, exploring every inch of his new home (having been kept in globes all his life, he was really perplexed by corners). He swims through his plants, sits by his filter, and seems to love life in his tank. However, he hasn’t once gone inside his pot.
I’ve been pretty distressed by this. Of course, I thought he would love the pot instantly. I imagined him seeing this new huge thing in the middle of his tank and immediately rushing to swim through the little holes and openings. I was so excited by my new purchase that I forgot he might actually be scared of it. He needed time to adjust. But I’m impatient.
So yesterday, when I saw him approach the big opening in the front of the pot, you can bet I was there eagerly watching to see if he’d go in. He didn’t. He stuck his head in a little bit, looked around, and then slowly backed out and went about his business. Though disappointed, I was happy he’d made a little progress. And then I had this mini-epiphany about life which is actually the real purpose of this post.
I need a bigger tank.
I’m at that point in my life right now where transition and change is good. In fact, it’s needed. If I don’t move on to the next stage of my life, I’ll start to feel cramped and all my fins will start to fall out (metaphorically, of course).
Granted, it might take baby-steps to finally find the right fit, but once I find where I’m supposed to be, everything else will fall into place. That big pot, that dream that I’ve always wanted, will be right there in front of me. I might be scared to approach it at first, but I have to try. I need to. If I don’t, it’ll still be there, but in a taunting you-never-achieved-your-dream kind of way. I can’t let that happen. I can’t work so hard to get to my own 2.5 gallon tank and then never explore all of it. Even the pot. Especially the pot.
And a special note: I just looked over to Hemingway’s tank and watched as he successfully swam through a hole in the pot. He finally did it.
Now it’s my turn.
Before we begin, the tip of the day here is to clear your mind…
I’ve never been into yoga.
of all the garbage prior to starting…
Bending my body at awkward angles and listening to an ocean wave replicated on a CD have never really been activities of choice for me. Though I’ve tried, I’ve never quite mastered that calm, weightless relaxation that generally seems to don the faces of practiced yoga-doers. I always imagined my face looking more like a showcase to my pain as I struggled through yet another sun salutation and floated less-than-gracefully back into downward dog.
and all the things that you’ve got to do after you’re done.
But I must admit, there’s something about slowing down your breathing – taking at least three times longer to inhale and exhale than you normally would – that really calms the mind. Or maybe my brain was just oxygen deprived.
I want you to focus on the present moment.
I’ve been trying to slow down a lot more lately, as you all know. It’s been almost two weeks since my last real post, and I can’t say that I haven’t missed you guys. It felt odd to let Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays pass without writing my customary post. But at the same time…I really liked it.
Stay in the moment…
I won’t lie and tell you that it’s been the most productive two weeks, but it’s been two weeks of fewer deadlines and more free time. Blogging is important to me, it really is. As are all you readers. Without you…well, there’d be no point to the blogging. I made the choice to slow down this blog in order to prepare myself for the life I want to lead, and to treat all of you with more quality posts (even if my subtitle does say “moderately meditated”).
and clear your mind…
But I haven’t been completely slacking off while I’ve been away. As you’ll notice, I’ve made a few changes to the look of my blog, and I hope to continue making a few more until I’m happy with it. This look is a little cleaner than before, a model for how I want my life to feel: low stress, clutter-free, fresh, and gorgeous. I also posted a collage of photos I took on a recent bike ride. I was thinking of continuing that series with more photos and little snapshots of my life (let me know what you think). I don’t want blogging to feel like a chore anymore. I want it to go back to how it felt at the beginning, how I would write because I had something to share. I need to let this blog blossom in its own time. I have no reason to hurry. Because if there’s anything I’ve learned during my time away, it’s that life can be difficult to write about when you’re too busy rushing through it.
and it will feel like a ride like you have never had before.*
*Tony Horton, P90X Yoga
So I’ve made a life-changing decision just now.
Not life-changing in the shave-my-head-get-a-pet-alligator-and-move-to-Brazil kind of way, but in the I-hope-this-has-some-sort-of-impact-on-my-life kind of way.
And I made this decision because I’ve noticed something:
My room is a mess.
This is odd because I’m normally a cleanly person. But because of my recent move back home for the summer, my room is more a storage closet and less of a place to sleep. I can’t handle the clutter. My brain is just…nope.
I think the clutter and the mess has clogged up my brain and caused it to malfunction, because I can’t seem to keep on track with what I want to accomplish. My environment is affecting my actions. But is my environment just my bedroom? No.
It’s also how I spend my time, which now seems to be mostly comprised of rushing. I’ve been racing around so much that blogging has become more of a chore than a pleasure. My work has suffered.
Lately, I’ve noticed a dramatic decrease in my number of views and rate at which I gain readers, and I’m attributing this to my lack of quality content. I haven’t had the time to create really good writing or think of these rich ideas that spark other ideas in my readers. I haven’t been treating my readers fairly.
I got so caught up in trying to build a following faster, posting as much as I could to get the most views that I forgot what was really the point of this writing. My whole purpose when starting this blog was to talk about life with those who wanted to listen. I wanted to discuss how we go through life, what we think about, and how that affects the people we become. I wanted to discuss dreams, goals, and things that are funny or irritating. I wanted to talk about the things that are important.
This blog was supposed to be my outlet for my brain, not its destroyer. It’s time to redesign:
I’ve decided to blog only once a week.
This post is on a Monday, but starting next week, I will post every Friday. My topics and categories will still be the same, but hopefully the content will be less scatterbrained and more enjoyable for you all. Considering I should have more time to write and edit my posts, I’m looking forward to more posts I’m proud of.
And with a little extra free time freed up, maybe I’ll clean up my room a little.
In addition to this redesign, I’ll also be experimenting with the layout and design of my blog a little more. So if you’re a consistent reader of mine, don’t be alarmed if you see a few changes (though feel free to shoot me a comment and let me know what you think).
So maybe this blogging thing wasn’t going as smoothly as I had first hoped, but I’m trying to be more adaptable to change. A little redesign never hurt as long as it’s for the right reasons and at the right time. Hopefully this change will leave us all a little happier.
Right now, there are about 44 unread novels collecting dust on my bookcase. On my nightstand there is a pile of The New Yorkers, one for each week since mid-February. Accompanying these are 70 “to-reads” on my Goodreads list and another 20 on my Barnes & Noble wishlist.
And I haven’t had time to read a single one.
Even now, I’m trying to scramble together some form of coherent thought while planning what outfit I’ll be wearing to this ceremony in an hour and a half.
Yet I somehow found the time to count all those books.
Anyway, lately it’s been feeling like I’m always racing, racing, racing. And all I can think about is how I want to go back to that time when I felt like the world couldn’t move fast enough, and I had ample time to relax, relax, relax.
But that’s not the way of life, is it?
Yet somehow authors are expected to be well-versed in all manner of books and genres. We need to be eloquent in our replies and have that sophisticated air about us that just reeks of cool collectedness.
But who has time for that when there is life to be lived?
But who has time for life when there are books to be read, worlds to be explored, and art to be created?
It seems to be a generally accepted rule in the writing world that the more a writer reads, the better a writer writes. Yet I would like to meet a writer who has time to juggle family life, personal life, and the writing life, who has mastered this balance so easily.
I would like to ask how they did it. I want to ask because I want to be them. I want to sleep all day and read novels and write novels and get lost in my head and attend fancy dinner parties with other like-minded artists and I want to live.
I want to be immersed in the kind of world only book characters have the pleasure to live in.
But I can’t. I can’t because I’m the writer and I create them. I create their perfect world and their perfect lives because I can’t but I need to. Somehow.
But who has time for that?
(Note: Click here for more Mind of an Author)