Did you ever see that movie, “Something’s Gotta Give” with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton? It’s a fun movie. If you haven’t seen it, rent it. I think of that movie often when I’m trying to figure out how to juggle life. In the movie, Diane Keaton’s character has a very structured, predictable, boring life until Jack Nicholson comes along and turns that predictable life on its head.
My life is pretty predictable too. I have the Noodges, a dog, a husband, a home, a career. I exercise to stay nice and healthy. (Two separate things.) It’s important to me to do all my jobs well. There is a lot at stake if I screw up being a parent or a wife. Not to mention, I like having a clean house. And if I don’t devote the time necessary to my writing career my books will only be read by my friends and family. In order to do everything well, something’s gotta give.
My kids are around because it’s summer vacation, but I still have a book I’m trying to publish. I pushed out the release date of Welcome To Skull Mountain because quite frankly, the story needed trashing. Believe me, trashing a 200-plus novel is a huge decision. Writing while the Noodges are around is hard even now while they’re teenagers. If one of them comes to me and says, “Mom, guess what?” or “Mom, listen to this,” or “Mom, you want to go to the movies?” I drop everything and run. I won’t turn my kids away when I have so little time with them left. Noodge 1 goes to college in three years! Three! He was two like a blink ago and now he’s almost a man ready to fly the nest and I want to hold onto him with both hands and say, “Just a little longer.” But spending time with them means no writing or less writing which in essence is no writing.
Writing is hard and takes a lot of time if you’re going to do it right. When I write I don’t always have time to do the marketing of my work I need to do so I can have the number of readers I want. It’s frustrating not to have the hours I need. Time with the kids, time writing, time marketing, time exercising.
Something’s gotta give.
I’ve got an ugly word for you: Compromise. If you’re a type A like me, you just cringed. People like us don’t want to compromise. We want to do it all. Yeah, well, take it from me, you can’t. Everything is a compromise. Everything.
“You can have it all. Just not all at once.” Suzyn Waldman said that. She’s the female sports announcer for the New York Yankees. I believe what Suzyn said and hearing her say it made me feel better. I’m just not sure I like it, but at least I can take a deep breath and know all the things I want in life, time with my kids, tons of readers, tons of books, and toned muscles will come.
What about you? What are the compromises you’ve had to make? What gives in your life?