Photo credit: Helene Anne Fortin
Boy, I’ll tell ya’. There are days when this dream pursuit can kick me in the hiney. Days when writing something more than a journal entry can literally feel like pulling teeth; my own teeth. And the guilt associated with ignoring an ache for creativity can be overwhelming.
Some of you know what I’m talking about. You’ve had days like that too where you look for distractions, but none of them seem to work.
There are two things in this place that taunt me constantly. My guitar and my laptop. They whisper at me from the shadows wanting attention. Not the “Check that I’m still in tune” kind, or the “You might have new emails” kind, but the “Do something with me that counts” kind. They’re like neglected children some days, and wouldn’t I love to be a stay-at-home mom.
My day job, for those of you who don’t know, is in nursing, and it’s not easy. It’s easier than writing oddly, but that’s because it’s familiar, and I have predictable outcomes from my efforts – mainly a steady paycheck – but it’s less gratifying for me. Yes, I’m helping people, and yes, it’s contributing to their wellbeing, but it’s not what I have a passion for.
So, why does our passion have to feel like an uphill climb? Because that’s the point. It’s a climb. Get it? The day job is a walk on an even plain. No struggle; no summit. That’s how it works.
And speaking of nursing, I remember a particular night, many years ago, when I was working on a medical floor. A young man was sitting in a wheelchair near my med cart, at 3 a.m., whining incessantly because I wouldn’t go to the 7-11 and get him a slushy. I mean, this went on for ages, and the whole time an elderly gentleman with Alzheimer’s walked around and around the nursing station seemingly oblivious of his surroundings. Circle after circle he walked with this nattering voice in the background begging me to venture into the night and abandon my shift to satisfy a craving. Then, at one crucial point, the old guy stopped, looked at the young man, and said, “Nobody said it was going to be easy.” I giggled and he resumed his circles – one slow circumference after another. I’ve never forgotten him. One brief moment of lucidity and eight little words of wisdom.
Nope, nobody did say it was going to be easy. The problem is, nobody said much of anything at all. So let’s spread the word of support, shall we? Let’s acknowledge that even our truest callings can be painful. Let’s put it out there that we’re going to have days when we want to sit and whine. Hell, let’s just blatantly whine and get it out of our systems.
Keep circling the desk though even if you feel dizzy and confused, and every once in a while just stop and remind yourself that nobody said it was going to be easy. Have your own lucid moment where that memory returns, embrace it, and keep on moving.