In which Douglas is actually not freaked out on his birthday. He did it the day before instead.
I turn forty three today.
No longer the Adamsian figure of forty two, there is no witty shared joke about my age. It's forty three. Life, the Universe, and Everything no longer applies. There are no answers; I need to find my own.
I awoke yesterday in a black mood. My friend, Bree Despain, had a book released (The Dark Divine). She had hoped it would be released at midnight Eastern Standard Time, but alas, 12AM EST sailed right by. She made the best of it, but then stopped tweeting altogether. I could only assume she went to bed. I couldn't relate.
Go to bed before your book goes live on Amazon.com? How could she do that‽ I guessed that Amazon.com was probably waiting for 12am PST/1am MST, and sure enough I was able to post the first review on Bree's fabulous book.
When I awoke at 2pm, Bree had been up for hours. Not only did she go to bed at a decent hour, but she woke up early. I bet she even squeezed in some writing before sending her kid off to school. How different from myself. I can stay up to 1am without breaking a sweat. She woke at 5:45am and that’s been my bedtime for a few weeks. In fact, it’s 4am now as I write this.
I would never have gone to bed without knowing if my book was about to go live on Amazon.com. I would have stayed up all night waiting. I would have reloaded the page endlessly for hours on end like a one man denial of service attack on my own product page.
Then Depression hit me like an anvil falling through the roof. I don’t have a book coming out. I'm not writing enough to finish one. I stay up late posting reviews about other people’s books instead. I hadn’t accomplished anything this year. Who would bother staying up past 11pm for me? I was a failure.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before.
I brought these destructive thoughts to a screeching halt. “Hey,” I told myself. “You’ve accomplished some goals this year.”
“Oh, yeah?” I cleverly replied.
“Yeah! You sold three articles to ADDitude Magazine, two of which have been published. That means you made your goal of getting published this year. That’s a big deal. You've been writing and learning. In fact, you finished a picture book just last week. You were supposed to be working on a different book which is now not finished, but it’s the thought that counts. You also didn’t draw very much. Hmm, maybe you’re right!”
“Hey!” I said back to myself, but not very convincingly.
Clearly I needed help, so I sought out my oldest daughter. She helped me remember that I had just been interviewed over at HealthyPlace TV, which opened up some doors for me. I had also finished the redesign for DUIhope. That was a big project for me this year. I even pushed myself to attend two writers conferences and author meets instead of staying home and fearing I would tic in public.
There were so many other things that I accomplished as well. Things like finishing that blasted bunny drawing and doing some freelance video work in a jiffy. Sometimes I get so focused on what I think I'm supposed to have accomplished, I discount what I have accomplished. I forget that I’m a stay-at-home dad with disabilities and the demands on my time that tolls. I still think of myself as a fresh-faced, childless 21 year old boy with a whole life ahead of him with no obstacles. I also expect, rather unrealistically, to accomplish a half a million important things before I wake up for the day.
So here’s to year forty three. I may not have a book published yet, but I’ll get there soon. In point of fact, I’ll leave hang-ups, fears, and obstacles behind me in the wake of my accomplishments. That's the plan. Now to get busy working on it.