Monday, May 1, 2017

May = "Make It Work for Me" Month

Happy first day of May! For those of you who, like me, start an entire new life on the first day of each month, may this one be infused with the buzzing, blooming energy of full-blown springtime.

I like to have themes for my months, when I can think of them. For this May, the theme is going to be "Make It Work for Me." I'm going to prioritize my happiness, my productivity, and my creative joy - all without short-changing what I owe (and gratefully give) to others. My task is going to be, in everything I face this month, to ask myself, "How I can make this work best for ME?"

A few examples as I begin my month-design pondering.

I need (and want) to spend time taking care of my in-residence grandchildren, to give their mother the opportunity to take care of herself in various ways. But I feel trapped and desperate if I'm stuck in a house for hours with small children, and I also feel nervous if I head out on ambitious adventures all alone with an extremely independent three-year-old and stroller-bound baby. Solution: this Thursday I'm joining forces with a writer friend who has a four-year-old of her own, meeting up at the Denver Zoo where she has a membership that will admit all of us for free. So while I'm taking care of grandchildren AND giving their mother some time for herself, I'll also have a delightful outing with a good friend and fun galore for all of us.

I need to take the new-to-me car I bought last week back to the dealer to have one little thing fixed on it. I'll probably need to wait an hour while the work is done. What a wasted morning - NOT. I'm going to take the book on plotting that everybody on earth seems to have read but me - Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder - and start reading it there.

I'm heading to Minneapolis later in the month for a week of research at the Kerlan Collection of children's literature at the University of Minnesota - digging into correspondence and manuscripts of favorite authors such as Maud Hart Lovelace, Eleanor Estes, and Carol Ryrie Brink. This is already going to be an amazing trip. But why not make it even more amazing? I want to make sure that I'm not lonely in the evenings by lining up some dinners with children's lit friends who live in the area. If I'm going all that way for all that time, I might as well squeeze maximal bliss out of it, right?

Finally, I need (and want) to spend early mornings cuddling with three-year-old Kataleya. But I also need (and want) to spend early mornings revising yet another children's literature paper, this one an expansion of a paper I gave at the Children's Literature Association convention a couple of years ago. How can I make this work for me? Well, the solution is obvious, but I need to remind myself of it every single morning as I glance at the clock while snug in my bed: GET UP EARLY! Not at 5, but at 4:30. It's so hard to do, but every single time I do it I feel downright giddy with joy for the rest of the day.

These are four ways I'm going to make May work for me. Are there ways you can make May work for you, too?

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