Sorry, another rant. I know, I know....
"The only thing you care about is writing and getting published," my wife told me.
Ah, such a lovely thing to hear on a late Sunday afternoon, especially after, you know, doing a day of shopping and errands, and working on the rat problem. Especially after researching and planning our trip to Vegas next week, and making the reservations, buying the airline tickets and the show tickets, and arranging for a week off work.
Being a dutiful partner, I dutifully replied, "That's not true."
We then talked about the things she wanted me to care about.
1. Painting the bathroom.
2. Getting the house re-appraised to lower our property taxes.
3. Painting the living room.
4. Cosmetic repairs on the porch pillars.
5. Getting the central vac fixed (it's out again).
6. Replying to the newspaper circulation department to get a trial subscription started.
Being dutiful, I pledged to care more about those mundane, tedious tasks and made other reassuring cooing noises.
After thinking about it, though, I agreed with her. I don't 'care' about these things. Yes, they must be done but she's right, I don't put much thought and effort into them. (Especially the newspaper trial subscription. We had a subscription with them. She ended it because she didn't like the newspaper and now has reversed herself but wants to do a trial description to see whether it's worthwhile, and had to use my email address - something about the system. Therefore, I've become the contact person. And that one had already been done by time she gave me her list; the subscription starts Tuesday.)
It used to be that I would leap on each of those things immediately. I went through a lifetime of that.
I went through a lifetime of pursuing a military career and making her financially secure. I went through another lifetime of starting a civilian career after my military career to keep us safe and secure.
Then, in the last few years, I said, time for me, the old 'get serious about my writing and my dream' conversation. I'd put my dream on hold and had deferred my energy to other matters. I'd burned a lot of time doing that. It made me a bit angry.
She talked me into staying in the military so I did, putting my dream on hold, trying to wedge it in around the rest of my life. She talked me into not moving somewhere else where we could live on my pension after retirement so I could pursue a fiction writing career. She wanted her career but knew that she didn't make enough money to support us in the SF bay area, which can be pricy. So I started another career. A few years into her career, her health worsened. She was laid off and has never worked again. That was twelve years ago. I've not stopped working, and yes, I'm a bit bitter and angry about it. I put that energy into writing.
I 'care' about many things but she's right, that short list of tedious tasks are not something that I care about. But she cares. She's pushing my guilt buttons.
I could take all sorts of stands out of this and make it an issue, but I'll go along with caring about this list because that's part of married life. I know the long history of who we are as a couple, and who I am as a person. I have my version and she has her version. It's a strain on her, watching me go off to the coffee shop, writing, hoping to find that magical breakthrough moment. She's been waiting, emotionally supporting me on my quest. The list is a bridge between our places in life and our relationship as a couple.
It's just a fact of life, she and I are not always in the same place. It's been about choices but also her health.
So I will care about the things on the list and seek the balance to do them, and shift the energy over to them. Yes, I will feel resentful, and I'll work through that, and I'll probably rant in a few more posts as an outlet.
Life is strange to me. Why should I care about my dreams any more than I care about that list? Why should writing matter more or less than anything else? Why does it matter so much to me about what she cares aobut?
Sometimes life feels like a large masquerade ball. We're all dressed up to care.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com