Pacing is vital in so many facets of my life. As an author, pacing is vital to deliver a story that keeps readers engaged and entertained. As an Army wife and mother of two, pacing is essential to keep the household running without catapulting into chaos.
Pacing is essential to character development. In my books, I make every effort for readers to engage with my characters, especially those kick-butt female heroines, by showing what they’re capable of and how they deal with conflict and challenge. I can’t dump all that on page one, it takes time to create that connection.
But one life lesson this summer has become clearer to me than ever before: pacing is essential for my physical and mental health too.
Our family schedule has been close to insane between preparations for significant life changes (both kids back to boarding school and college, another overseas deployment, a major surgery and subsequent recovery, and some testing and new attempts to improve my ongoing and ever-annoying back issues).
Rather than a typical summer with plenty of relaxation and fun, we’ve only had one day here or there that allows us just enough time to take a breath and veg out. Irritating? Yes. And not anywhere close to what I’d planned or expected, but sometimes life does that to you.
Admittedly, it’s proven a challenge for me to stay organized and not feel like the schedule is drowning me. With a jam-packed calendar it’s easy to get caught up looking ahead instead of enjoying the moment – whether that moment is waiting for a new dental crown to set or a family picnic on the 4th of July.
So pacing has become the quiet mantra in the back of my head during what we’ve affectionately dubbed ‘the summer that wasn’t’ schedule crunch. I pace our activities as much as possible, trying to spread out appointments and such.
More importantly, I pace my emotional investment in whatever activity has my attention in that moment. Early this summer I realized I was at one event, thinking about which event was next for the day or even the week. Running through the agenda all the time only frustrated me and made me feel like time was slipping by without my consent.
So I stopped that, pausing to appreciate whatever was happening, and allowing myself time to feel and appreciate those feelings. Hey, it’s gotten me through a really rough patch. Now, when it’s time to focus on the writing, I do it with all my energy. If it’s time to celebrate a milestone or give someone a sendoff? I’m right there, living it and giving it all I’ve got.
That’s what I call living the adventure! 😉