On happiness, parenting, and ambition

I’m six months into being a mother of three. My son is now four years old, and my twin baby girls are six months old. I won’t lie, it hasn’t been easy. Not because much of the work is double the amount (diapers, soiled clothes, spoon feeding, etc.) but because I find it difficult to put my life on hold for a year until the girls start in the nursery.

I have written posts on how having children finally made me realize the value of time and that it pays off to work 15 min a day. And I still stand by what I said in these posts. The trouble is that this time around, I don’t need to relearn these lessons. I still remember them. I have learned not to procrastinate, and I value my time. These days, I’m trying my best to squeeze in a bit of querying and editing (writing is a luxury) in the little time between the kids finally being asleep and my brain switching off.

I’m writing this post in the car, for example. The babies are sleeping, and I have a little bit of time between the girls’ PEKiP course and having to pick up my son from kindergarten. I’m writing in the cracks of time. Always in between.

And it has been driving me crazy.

You see, for me, writing is not some half-cared-about job that I’ll be happy to forget about for a year. I’m sure that anybody who has a job they truly love and who has at least a little bit of ambition knows what I’m talking about. But lately, a few things started dawning on me. It was about time, or I might have truly gone mad, or depressed, or something of the sort.

What dawned on me is the following: When I construct the plot of a story, I start with an idea and jot a few key points down (often, the ending is among them) before embarking on writing the first draft. I make a particular point not to plot out the whole thing before starting. This is because my stories work better (and I don’t get bored writing them) if I let the natural currents of my imagination steer the writing towards where I want the story to go.

So, at one point, it hit me. Well, isn’t life the same way? There are times in life when one needs to fight for what they want. I have mentioned before and will mention again the concept of the good fight that so impressed me while reading Paulo Coelho’s The Pilgrimage. There are some good fights in life we must pick up. And taking my writing seriously has been one of these fights for me.

But I have lately grown to suspect that, at the moment, I am in a time of my life when I need to rather learn to go with the flow. Basically, I can choose to drive myself crazy with the yearning to be able to do more writing, or I can take the current situation as a sign that I need to take it slower. Sometimes, slow is good. Sometimes, learning to float gets you there faster, especially if one learns to navigate the current.

This leads me to the point about happiness. In this time of my life more than any other, I’m beginning to realize that happiness is a choice. The last six months have been a very intense blessing. Our family nearly doubled in size. That alone is quite the change. But also, we have been fortunate enough to be able to settle and build a house. Now, we are starting to make a home out of it. I think many people would be like: So yeah, what are you complaining about?

Exactly.

I shouldn’t. There’s always misery in life if one is willing enough to dig it up. Yes, it has been stressful; yes, my body takes its time to recover from growing two babies; yes, at the moment, being happy or being unhappy is balanced on the edge of a knife.

It is up to me to choose which way I go.

Happiness is, indeed, a choice. Letting go and letting the current take you is a good choice sometimes. Sometimes, one needs to choose the grass on one’s own side, green or not.

By the way, before it started raining, this was where I had stopped the car to write this post.

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Not a bad view, right? Finding gratitude is one way of finding happiness.

Published by Adriana K. Weinert

I write novel-length speculative fiction with the occasional short story to boot.

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