Problem

Trudging through the Sloughs of Despond

Phew! I have been waiting for this moment since Monday morning. Honestly, since Sunday evening. This week has been, quite simply, awful. Not for any horribly traumatic reason. No one has COVID, the kids are fine, my husband and I are still employed. God continues to bless us the same as He always has…and yet, my psyche screams: I DROWN IN MISERY.

See, I don’t actually dislike my job. Regardless of all the daily frustrations, I have no desire to seek a new position and start over someplace else. One of my closest friends is a colleague. I have a nice boss who allows me to work from home so that I can supervise my youngest child’s virtual schooling. I’m compensated fairly based on my labor. So many people are unemployed right now and are looking for work; I should be grateful that I even have a job.

So, what is my problem?

My problem: I would rather be writing…which does not help put food on the table or pay the mortgage.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Everyone’s struggling right now. Suck it up, buttercup, this is your life. Deal with it.

I could rant and rave about how the system is broken – that a household needs at least two incomes to stay afloat nowadays – but that doesn’t solve anything. We are accustomed to a lifestyle that includes certain luxuries that Americans are taught they are entitled to, so I cannot, in good conscience, cut our earnings in half. Enough said. I’m not asking for a handout.

Now that I’m beginning to climb out of the abyss I threw myself into earlier this week, I can reflect on things and try to come up with a better game plan. Any plan, really. Being on COVID time has really flushed my planning skills down the toilet. You’d think I’d have more time to write…but I don’t. By the way, it’s a total myth that all these COVID restrictions would open up time for people to “finally finish writing that novel.” Totally bogus idea. I have as much to do as I ever did, before COVID, and people who DO have time on their hands have lost their jobs and are, most likely, spending all that time trying to find another one.

There are plenty of authors who juggle a full-time job, a family, and their writing time without going completely neurotic, aren’t there? I’m sure they have GREAT advice on how to manage time more effectively. Hello? Anybody out there? Chime in any time now, really.

Sigh.

I know what I need to do, but I still feel discouraged.

Time to open up the Jesus Always devotion book my mother sent me a few years back. Guess what I found? No matter where you are and what you’re going through, God’s Word tells you exactly what you need to hear:

Will my novel ever be accepted for publishing? Only God knows. If so, when will I be successful enough as an author that I can quit my day job? Only God knows.

In the meantime, I should stop worrying about if and when I can finally put in my two-weeks’ notice. I should continue to do my best work, both on the job and in my word processor. I should pray for God to bless my efforts, and leave it all in His hands.

This is Stupid!

A Rant (with no research behind it)

Wow, the things I hear about at work that get me riled up!

For the second time in a week, one of my colleagues was delayed in traffic on I-90 due to a crash in a construction zone. Apparently someone crashed into and bounced off of a median cement barricade several times. The ambulance came and took the driver away, so hopefully the person will survive. I pray to God this is so.

It is terrible how many vehicular collisions or near-misses occur on our roads and highways. It is ridiculous how much traffic there is, and how often traffic slows down due to congestion on our roads. And don’t get me started on construction season  – which is generally used as a synonym for summer here in Wisconsin.

I realize that we as Americans – particularly suburbanites – count on being able to hop in a car and drive ourselves pretty much anywhere at pretty much anytime. The idea of being constrained by the public transit schedule and actually PLANNING out our daily errands in advance in order to travel someplace – like to work or a grocery store – does not generally appeal to most people. We find it inconvenient to be at the mercy of a public transportation schedule. This is why we have cars, right? So we don’t have to rely on a bus or a train to get us where we need to go by a certain time. We can just GO.

Given the increasing rate of urban sprawl this is not a sustainable mind-set.

When I focus on the devil I know – the greater metropolitan area of Madison, WI – I see there are two major problems:

  1. There is no public transit system in place servicing suburban areas (both intercity and intracity). We are forced to drive ourselves everywhere. You might have a relatively short commute – say, 8-10 miles – but if everyone is on the road trying to get to work or home at the same time this leads to traffic congestion, impatience and ultimately traffic collisions.
  2. I might be going out on a limb here, but I believe there is a negative view of public transit systems already in place. Perhaps, for example, a social stigma associated with riding the bus. Can’t you afford a car? You must be on welfare, or something. 

“Why’re you taking the bus, dude? That’s unAmerican. This is the US of A – where we drive ourselves everywhere one person per SUV and burn gasoline indiscriminately. Manifest destiny represent!” *fist-bump*

Well, most other places in the world (even larger cities here in the US of A such as New York) have this thing called public transportation, or mass transit systems. There are public busing systems, taxi cabs, or subway trains, etc. But for some reason people tend to look down on public transportation and those who use it. As I’ve already mentioned, public transportation has this “stigma” and the idea of it creates a foul stench in our nostrils. We might *gasp shudder* have to sit by someone we DON’T KNOW and make small talk. Possibly even someone who mutters to themselves and/or smells like they haven’t showered in a month.

On the plus side: if you are riding the train or bus to work, then you can surf the ‘net and text on your cellphone to your heart’s content.

Unfortunately, we’d rather risk getting seriously mangled or killed in a car crash on the Interstate that be forced to ride a bus across town. Because driving is faster, more convenient, and you don’t have to sit next to strangers.

Personally, I’d rather ditch the car and ride a train in to work and home again every day. Because driving stresses me out in oh so many ways.

But that’s just me.

And that was my rant.