God, but do you remember that Friday feeling? You know the one. That warm feeling in the pit of your stomach that signalled the end of a school week, the end of the office job, for two whole days. Didn’t matter if the storm clouds gathered in the sky overhead or if the rain pelted unmercifully down upon you. Nothing could dim the light on a Friday. You would be free to do whatever you wanted to do.
No teacher telling you to sit still or admonishing you for not have your homework done. No fat boss, his immaculate suit barely able to contain his fat cat body, telling you what you hadn’t done and what mundane horrors lay ahead. When Friday hit, you knew, even as you dragged your weary ass out of the bosom of your warm bed, that you could get through the day better than any of the previous four. Your eyes faced forward to forty-eight hours of blissful freedom. Forty-eight hours to be with the people you loved, to have a lie in, listen to the morning radio as you ate your breakfast in peace, take a walk, or go for a cuppa, without the weight of the nine to five hunching you over.
Well, that Friday feeling has changed for me. At first, when I hung up my heavy nine to five suit, and put on the light and airy uniform of a writer and stay at home mother, everyday had that Friday feeling. I remember sitting on a friends couch, a friend who had also freed herself from the shackles of the suffocating office, and us both realising that we most definitely had that Friday feeling even though it was a Sunday evening. Gone was the heavy, foreboding feeling that would begin to seep into you as the weekend drew to a close, your gut reminding you that your escape was coming to an end and that you would soon be back in the clutches of the beast – ever ready to slowly suck out your soul. Any words I write will never come close to describing how pure and euphoric it felt to be free. To have control over my destiny. To have time. Sure, it was busy and at times frustrating. There is never a dull moment when you are a parent to five children that cover every age spectrum from early twenties to wobbly toddler. There were days when it seemed the hands on the clock were faulty and on fast forward, the day slipping through my hands like sand – so little time, so much to do, so much not done. But for every one of those days, there were a hundred more when time stood still. Days filled with so much joy, and love. Days filled with time – time for me, time for them, time for each other. The balance was decidedly bent towards the positive and I never had a moments regret for jumping ship and becoming captain of my own vessel.
For the past few weeks, since I decided to get the head down and get this book finished, that old-friend Friday feeling has morphed into something completely different. Now it is a symbol of all that I haven’t done. A reminder of how I have, yet again, failed to accomplish the seemingly easy deadlines that I set for myself at the start of the week. I foolishly bought a weekly wall planner and it now leers at me malevolently from the wall beside my desk (if anyone out there is thinking of doing the same, slap yourself firmly around the head and steer clear). I can almost hear it sneering at me as I wipe it clean on a Sunday and rewrite all the plans from the previous week, slotting them neatly into the week to come. It sniggers into its sleeves, trying hard not to burst into laughter at my earnest plans. I imagine if my wall planner could talk it would say: “Don’t bother filling those boxes in, lady. Stop kidding yourself and get a grip.”
That Friday feeling is one of disappointment and shame. It makes me remember how very hard this writing lark is for a mere novice like myself. I can only imagine what it feels like to have a week of unbridled creativity (some people yearn for unbridled passion … so in the grand scheme of things I ain’t asking for too much). A week where every space on the planner is checked and crossed off. The creative bursts I get, generally last a morning. Head buzzing with ideas, words flowing from brain to fingertip to page. Time flies by and before I know it, its time to head to the play school to pick up my precious bundle. I become buoyed by the success that I have had and look forward to getting back to the desk that evening, or the following morning, to continue being the brilliant author that I have become. And then boom! It’s gone. Blown away by the heavy exhale of defeated breathe escaping my lips. The next time I sit at the desk, my mind wanders, distracted by any pathetic interweb pop-up or notification that I get. I could spend hours researching the type and model of my Henry the Hoover just to order a few hoover bags (I have a Henry HVR 200-12 by the way – 9l, 620 watt). I will do anything, and I mean anything, rather than open Scrivener and pick up the story where I left off. Lord god, but I’ve done more spring cleaning this January than I have done all last year and if you were to open the drawers in my little ones room you would think you were looking at pictures from a catalogue!
And, today, as I type this, I have a lovely neat box on my wall planner marked “Friday – Review”, in nice neat black marker. Would have to have written something in order to review it now, wouldn’t you think. Another week has disappeared and I have a couple of thousand words to show for it – a mere dint in the mountain of words that need to be put in place on the blank page.
But – and this ‘but’ is the difference between the old me and the new me – this Friday feeing doesn’t last long. I think finally all the mindful, positive thinking articles and books that I have read have quietly seeped into my subconscious. I have learned to put the failures, the slow weeks behind me and move on. I could store it up and give in to the little inner voice of negativity that lives inside us all. I could let it win. But if I did that I would never finish this book. I would never believe that what I am writing is worth finishing. I would never believe that one day I will see this book peeking at me from the book shop shelves. And I do believe these things, with all my heart and soul. So I will clear the planner and start again. I’ll rub the failure out and plan for the success. I’ll look ahead and see my dream winking at me from behind the clouds. And I’ll look forward to the Sunday feeling, that warm, inviting evening, that lets me know I have a whole new week ahead of me to start again and to achieve.
The writers life is a solitary one. You only have yourself to fall back on. Success and failure rests squarely on your shoulders and yours alone. But in being the master of your destiny, you are also the master of how you chose to feel. And I chose to feel good today. I’ve been beaten by another week, but there are countless weeks left for me to win.
Keep her lit!!!