Bad brain design

I have a gear in my mental engine that is dedicated to anxiously waiting. Seriously, why do I have that setting? Being committed to waiting means I accomplish almost nothing else, as I sit perched in a state of cat-like readiness for something that will happen regardless of my anticipation. Tomorrow morning the wife heads off to the hospital for minor foot surgery. Very, very early in the morning, in fact. and now, of course, I am already tense and prepped to leap into action. There is no action to leap into for at least 9 hours, and most likely, there won’t be any leaping required at all. Will I get a good night’s sleep in the 7 hour window I have available before she leaves and I’m on dad duty? I wouldn’t bet on it.

And the stress of the impending surgery is raising the collective household stress level, though so far the little dude is impervious to it. He’ll get to have a fun day out with his aunt tomorrow, so that will keep him happy and entertained while I sit here and fret the day away until the wife’s out of recovery and ready to get picked up. From that point on, until her foot is back online, I’ll be hefting more of the parenting load, including taking the morning shift. You know the morning shift: it’s the one that can start as early as 5AM, and will involve me trying to calmly get a sleepy and sour boy downstairs without waking up his convalescing mother. I have made the transition to waking up at 6:30 every morning, so 5AM isn’t as massive a gulf as it might have been, but it’s still way too early.

More about my brain machine: it’s all fragile ego and duct tape down here, but things are improving. A lot of the things that I’m trying to do right now require a ridiculous amount of self-confidence. And to be honest, they also require more experience and task-specific knowledge than I have. So when I send off article queries to major newspapers and magazines, I know that I’m punching above my weight. I’m out of my (current) league and it takes a tremendous effort to push myself to keep at it. Feel free to add in something about “leaving your comfort zone” to the mix here, but remember that my comfort zone has historically been really, really tiny. Anyway. This week, I fired off a handful of queries, and I got some valuable, if gruff, feedback from an assistant editor. The feedback didn’t come attached to a contract or anything, but it was helpful stuff. And as it usually does, the proof that I wasn’t perfect in every way sent me into a tiny panic as my self-esteem collapsed, but the recovery time from the deflation was much shorter than past instances. If I can keep stumbling forward like this, I’m going to get to a point where it will take an astounding event to challenge me, and that will be cool.

Neither here nor there, but I’ve got a sense that my professional life has some momentum. I can’t necessarily qualify the sensation as a jubilant one, though. It doesn’t feel like I’m being carried towards a glorious destiny. It feels like I’m caught in a river current that is tugging me down stream to some unknown eddy, or like the first serious lurches of a roller coaster. I think it will turn out to be a fun ride, but I can’t see the next stretch of tracks yet.

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