Variety + Priorities = Life

Life is glorious. If you’ve forgotten this, then maybe what you’re lacking is a little variety.  Change up your routines. Do something new, something you’ve always wanted to do–or something you’d never even considered doing before.

Variety is the spice of life.  Despite the inability to do much in any given day, there are a whole lot of things I could do. (Note how the “should be doing” is absent. Self-imposed deadlines are just that–self-imposed.)

I can read, write, blog, listen to music, watch a TV show or movie, explore the Internet, embroider, draw, paint, play a game, work on my website, alpha-read, organize something, go for a walk, dry flowers, help a cause, read blogs, spend time budgeting, write an e-mail or letter, talk to friends or family, plan a trip, dance to a song, research something, learn a new skill, take a nap, admire the paintings on my wall (you laugh, but it happens a lot), visit a museum, take a walk through the city’s gardens, go through a box full of memories, start a new project–

And have you seen my list of projects? If you haven’t seen my Storybox, know that this isn’t even the full list of things I work on off and on.

There’s so much to do and discover, even if I have little energy to give.

In fact, I have a list of 12 things that I can see from my bed for when I’m too braindead to do much or too much in a fog to think of something to do. I just look at the list, and pick whatever sounds the most appetizing.

Boredom, my friend, is far worse than pain.   There’s a huge difference between my ability to cope with my illness when I can’t think of anything to do and when I have something to enjoy.  So I keep that list handy of things that don’t take a lot out of me, and then I match the items on the list to however I feel.

For example, I spent most of today and my downtime yesterday (as I type this) watching the French musical Roméo et Juliette as recorded in 2001. It’s up in its entirety on youtube.  (Oh blessed be.)  It was both educational (exercising my French comprehension muscles) and fun and relaxing (the music is quite good and the lyrics are gorgeous).  What’s more, in all those hours of my brain simply not working well, I wasn’t bored.  The time passed quickly, and I am happier for the experience. Because I’m happier, then the people around me can be happy, too.  All-in-all, this little piece of variety to spice up my past few days has been good.

But for all the variety, if I don’t prioritize, nothing will ever get done.  Priorities, then, are what make accomplishments.  So out of all the million things I could be doing, I pick a handful to concentrate on.  That handful can change even from week to week or month to month.  For example, I was working almost exclusively on my novel The Witch’s Tower up until I realized that writing accurately about my illness was more important to do right now.  So I created Queen of the Eight Banners, my fiction project to that end.  Yes, I have been working on it for the past year, but I’m not as discouraged by this slowness as I was at the beginning.  Creating something new entirely wholesale, from scratch, is hard for me right now, and I’ve realized that’s perfectly fine, I’ll just keep going anyway.  But then I realized that I should write these nonfiction blog posts in the meantime. So, as I puzzle over a hang-up in Queen‘s part 4, I’m writing you these posts.

I have other priorities, of course, but they don’t relate directly to this particular topic, so I won’t go into them.  Instead, I will simply say –

Dream. Take chances. Try something new.  Have kind expectations. Prioritize.  Everything else will fall into place.


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