Reap What you Sow

Rest at Harvest by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1865

That phrase has particular meaning for me right now. As autumn washes away the lush greenery of summer, bathing the world in shades of amber and crimson, it’s time for me to take stock in life. The ancient Celts would burn down the remaining crops after the harvest, a ritual farmers still endorse to promote healthy soil. Sometimes, to build a strong foundation, you need to tear down the worn and rickety one, and start anew.

Hisarlik, Turkey is the home of an historical find of nine cities (including Troy), dating back about 5,000 years. The cities were built on top of one another, suggesting that when the going gets tough, the tough have a do-over.

For me, this season is all about the harvest. I’ve rebuilt my city, again and again, and finally, my roots have taken to the soil. With my book’s official debut on Halloween, I’m feeling particularly close to everyone and everything right now. Relationships past and present have me in a state of reminiscence. Life’s choices have me taking stock of what I’ve done these past 33 years, and how I’ve changed life’s course. Looking back, I’m glad I was derailed. Because, had I not followed the signs, I may have ended up very different, and very unhappy, indeed.

In marketing, be it real estate or novels, there’s a common phrase: What you do today will reward you in three months. I’ve never been so great with the nine-to-fives. I know this. It’s not that I can’t do them, I just don’t wanna. I’ve always been happier doing things on my own terms, and either reaping the rewards, or smacking myself for slacking. I like knowing I get out of life exactly what I’ve put in. I can’t sit behind a desk for forty hours, work my ass off, or take naps, and still collect the same check. I don’t know why, but I’m very comfortable getting paid exactly what I’m worth.

So, going on this three month rule, I triple back, and think about small choices that have led me here. One day, instead of going shopping or wasting time online, I sat down and pounded away on my manuscript. Instead of making excuse after excuse, which I’ve done plenty of times, I typed until my hands hurt, sat at my desk even though my back ached, and wrote in the quiet even when I was feeling lonely. It wasn’t the big epiphany that ~gasp~ I should write a book that I’m talking about. I’ve been writing books for years. Which is why there are 15 unfinished ones collecting dust bunnies.

I’m talking small. Missing dinner with the family as I write. (I never eat without my family.) Cutting myself off from all those fun, time wasters I used to enjoy. (RP, TV, FB, IM) The decision to go to Starbucks and sit in an uncomfortable chair, with no internet connection, to type away until they closed their doors on me at 10:30. It was that choice over sitting at home online after the kids went to bed, doodling with a chapter for fifteen minutes before getting bored and looking to see who was around in my social media arsenal to keep my attention.

Writing is a lonely endeavor. There’s no immediate claps on the back, fat paychecks, or flowers for a job well done. What I write today won’t be seen for about a year.

Time, it passes silently, wicked fast, until it builds momentum, when all of a sudden that faint little tick is now banging like a gong. All of these small choices add to the bigger picture. And I’m realizing this more than ever right now. I don’t want time ticking away, moving faster and faster like a treadmill with me on the sidelines waiting for it to slow down. It’s never going to pause for me, or for anyone. I have to stand up, stretch my legs, and jump. Sure, I may trip once in a while. I think I’d rather fall flat on my face than to never try at all, and find myself an old woman with a box of memories almost had.


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