So I had a long talk with myself on the drive down to Long Island on Friday (amazing how many fruitful conversations you can have with yourself while sitting in accident traffic on the Hutchison River Parkway) wherein I figured out that the portion of my recent bouts of anxiety that isn't divorce- or novel-related is the old adrenal response spinning, spinning, spinning away with nothing to show for it. To wit: for as long as I can remember, at this point, my life has been a scramble to get something accomplished--find a decent job, move west, find another job, stay alive on the inadequate proceeds from that job when it did not deliver what it promised, get married, find something to do with myself when I got laid off, write books (as fast as possible--somehow, when I went through my 2001-2006 bout of hypergraphia, I was left with the idea that I had to write as much as possible as fast as possible, in case I got hit by a bus before I finished. It worked out well, but it was exhausting. Still, I was cruising at half a million words a year there for a while. Which is nice, but probably not sustainable if you ever leave the house.), sell a novel, move back east, find another job, write another novel, adapt to living without a day job, buy a house, don't buy a house, get divorced, write another---
Oh, okay. Hey. Look at that. I'm out of immediate, crushing, incredibly complicated things I need to do.
Anyway, that's been my life since 1998. And now, suddenly, at this point in time, there's nothing I really need to do except keep working and trust to the fates that my audience will continue to grow, so I can slow down the frantic pace a little bit.
I think my brain was spinning its wheels, looking for the next big thing it should be working on with total concentration and focus. And it's not there! There's nothing! OMG WHAT DO I DO WITH THIS ADRENAL RESPONSE?
So I kind of took my brain aside and had a long talk with it. Told it that it had done good, and lots of work, and that it was entitled to a little time to decompress and get used to the new world order, with 50% less scrambling. (There may still be scrambling, of course. Life is transitions, as a wise woman once said. And my chosen career is one that involves, yea verily, a certain amount of deadline pressure. But everything is not life or death anymore, and if that adrenal response can check down rather than turning into panic disorder that would be nice, because really, I do not need another pile of wonky brain chemistry.)
My brain seems pretty pleased with the praise, anyway. I think I don't give it a lot of credit for all it does for me. It works very hard for small scraps of affection and recognition. Anyway, I told it we were standing down from crisis mode, and it should take a couple of days to go home and visit its family while we completed the transition to a model oriented towards sustainable work. I'd scritch it behind the ears, but that would be gooey.
Anyway, it's not like I need a brain for page proofs. All I need is pattern recognition skills.
Anyway, I have been feeling better. Now I'm looking at the last ten years and wondering how the hell I survived them.
Huh. I guess I'm tougher than I give myself credit for.
Still, it would be nice to take a break and enjoy some time off. Which also may mean clearing out my social calendar a bit, so if I seem unresponsive to invitations to Do Stuff for a while, please remember that I have five or six more conventions and a weeklong workshop left between now and November, and also a lot of work to get done. And also that I am by nature a solitary and insular beast, and seeing people too often and in too great quantities is something I find exhausting rather than energizing, which I think is sort of the canonical difference between an introvert and an extrovert.
Right. Things to do today: page proofs, climbing, come home and watch Criminal Minds. The taxes did not get done yesterday, nor did the quails get cooked--there were personal and professional obligations instead. The quails are more pressing than the taxes, anyway. Maybe I'll do those today and the taxes on Friday, because Thursday is pretty much full.