Wednesday, February 5, 2014

When You Say Yes to One Thing...

...You're saying no to something else.

Easy concept, right? So why has it taken me darned near fifty years to figure it out?

We're looking at moving to a better school district for our kids. Problem is, I really enjoy my corner of the planet: The Writer's Barn, my garden, my manicured horse pastures and lawn. Yes, we're fifteen miles from decent shopping and forty minutes away from my middle kid's school. But it's quiet out here. In the spring, we're visited by rabbits, bobcats, and the occasional deer. In Summer, we sit on our back patio every evening and watch fireflies while our kids prowl the woods behind our property. Every Fall, I mulch my garden and vow to do a better job pulling weeds next season.

So why do I bitch--daily--about the drive?

Maybe because I haven't truly grasped the concept that when I say yes to one thing, I'm voluntarily saying no to something else.

For a control freak like me, taking ANY option off the table is the worst kind of torture. I hate to hear no, and my coping mechanism is to 'find a way,' which works about a well as you'd expect.

For example, when we built this house, I didn't want to waste money on rent. We sold our house in town, I found an RV, and for eight months we camped; me, my husband, our infant son, and our seventy-pound dog. But RVs decline in value. Propane is expensive. And weathering an Oklahoma storm season in a fifth-wheel trailer with a baby and a thunder-shy Doberman will cure you of the camping bug. Forever.

But I face the same problem with every situation. When I decide to write a thriller about the guy whose former girlfriend wants him to help find her low-life husband, I'm saying no the other dozen stories residing in my outlines folder.

When I say yes to being out of debt, I'm saying no to a new car, and when I say yes to a writing retreat, I'm saying no to being debt-free sooner. When I say yes to living in the country, I'm saying no to low gas bills and short drive times and great schools.

In the end, if I wind up saying yes to city living, it means saying no to The Writer's Barn, to my garden and visiting wildlife; saying no to my manicured horse pastures and lawns, to my fireflies and peaceful mornings. It means saying no to rototilling, to watching my tulips bloom, to harvesting peaches from the trees I've planted. And that makes me sad.

So, I suspect this will be a year of Trying to Find A Way. This time I plan to do better with praying for help, trusting the universe, and accepting the results.

Hopefully my solution won't involve anything that remotely resembles camping.

Cheers...and Happy Writing!

-T