I left it all behind. I went on a 5 day cruise, just me and the husband. We've done it before, three times over the last 5 years, cruising with the Barenaked Ladies. BUT- this was the first time- I left it all behind. No worries about the kid- she was safe and happy with the Grandparents- in good hands. No worries about work - I had turned in sketches for a book with realistic expectations for the feedback to come when I got back. I had an offer to work on an App, so I knew there were opportunities around the corner. And - the SCBWI conference was over and left me feeling secure that I am on the right track.
I relaxed- for real. Just fun with the husband and friends. It's a rare feeling in the life of this Mom/artist. Always running in 15 different directions with way too much dog hair to vacuum and Mount Laundrymore threatening to avalanche and swallow up the cat. It is as necessary as the new found exercise routine to ensure physical, emotional, mental and artistic health. I draw a direct line from Sara Zarr's keynote at the SCBWI Winter conference to this feeling. She said she needed to give the speech she needed to hear - and in doing that, gave the speech I needed to hear.(and I suspect we all felt in that room- she was speaking directly to each of us)
She said of "A fulfilling creative life": "It gives back. It gives back to you and to others. As you're engaged with your work and your world you'll be a better spouse, friends, sibling. You'll be more self-actualized."
Truer words were never spoken. We need to be a whole person to reach at least the point of tenuous balance. That balance you feel when doing yoga - you stick that foot up to the inside of your other knee in "Tree" pose... wobbily....wobbily..... Yessss!-Look at me! I'm a tree!....5,4,3,2,1.. WHOOPS! But you were there- and you'll get back- it's all in the doing and trying and being. - let's all breathe and sigh, then next pose. (next job, next kid's class party, next holiday...) (you get it?)
Her speech was all about not getting caught up in the long look ahead to what you want and what might be. I do it. Always wondering when will "It" happen for me.. a big break, a big book - When will I break through into Kid Lit Wonderland?... Instead of getting caught up in that long look ahead- look around you, be a part of your "now". If you can do that- you can enjoy the work, your family and yes- even the school trip you take where you are put in charge of 3 children to teach them book keeping.(I did this yesterday- never ask an artist to keep the books in an imaginary $250,000 enviromental non-profit. I have scarred these kids for life and they will never balance a check book)( I had fun in a weirdo, chicken with it's head cut off kinda way.)
Basically- The secret of life is - enjoy the now and always try to get better at all aspects of who you are. That's it - and 42. That's what I think it means to be self-actualized.
I'd like to say to Sara Zarr :"Baby, you're the greatest"