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Dec 21, 2014
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50/50 (or Halfway There)

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I’ve had jobs that require skills, professionalism, a sense of humor, appearances that impress, the ability to let the small stuff roll off your shoulders and even skimpy clothes and reliable dancing shoes.

Columns, Homepage Sub, Keri English  •  Jan 14, 2013

You know when you want something really bad? So bad that you actually try to pray for it, even though you’re not even religious? You ask anyone who will listen how you should approach getting it. You think about it every minute of every hour of every day. You take time that you do not have to daydream about it and when you do have time, you plan it and work on it and even when you sleep you are in it. When something means so much to you… you eat it, drink it and breathe it. Nothing else is as important. Not work, not people, and certainly not the everyday grind.

This is where I’m at.

The upside of all this is that it feels good to know what you want, especially after years of constant vacillating from one thing to the next. Thinking all the time about the book-baby that needs to get born; knowing that I have to actually show up for the day-to-day, and trying to blend the two are not an easy task. Also, when you decide that the desire to see your words on a page surpasses all else…well then the other stuff tends to get a little blurry.

Knowing in your soul that you must finish this book, you get tunnel vision, like when running from the cops… or during really good sex. You can’t hear things like you used to. Words become dulled into whispers as you float through conversations with the book in the back of your mind edging its way closer and closer to the frontal lobe. Other people are out of focus. They are there and you see them…I mean, you can still drive and all that…but it all goes by in a fog. It’s sort of like a blackout without having to drink. The world goes down a notch but you can get by and interestingly enough, most people don’t even notice you’re distracted at all.

But you notice. You notice every day.

So what do you do when you hit the point where you can’t be in the middle anymore? You can’t hack it for one more minute. No way can you continue going on with the daily grind at this point, right? No way can you live with yourself if you are miserable while you slog through life in the general direction of your goals. Not if you know that you can do more.

This week is the halfway point to my graduation from yoga teacher training. The experience has been immensely fulfilling and I feel amazing about learning so much about the world that I love to be steeped in. Another perk? I am calm and able to absorb all the daily grind stuff that would normally have me pulling my hair out… or at least running screaming from wherever I am when it becomes too much. I’ve learned to breathe and be patient. This is good. But that’s not to say that I am pursuing my goal of having a book finished in 2013 with any less passion.

Just this past week I’ve drafted a plan that will change everything. Life keeps throwing curve balls and the curve is getting trickier to see coming. Of course the curve balls often come to me in a joyous burst of light. There are so many positive things happening that my head spins every day. Literally—I am dizzy typing this. But I keep going. Why? Because when my bank account is in the black and I have savings for the first time in years thanks to only myself and proud as hell of it, and when my family (who I can’t wait to get home to at the end of the day) is proud of me and believes in me too, then that’s all I need.

Nothing else.

I’ve served beers, steamed lattes, garnished Mignon and folded two hundred dollar sweaters. I’ve scanned groceries, made popcorn, painted scarves, rolled silverware, spun records, washed hair and cleaned bathrooms. All these things are a part of who I am. I’ve danced on stages, chopped tomatoes, served juice to celebrities and spewed poetry on more stages with lights blaring; people staring, filled with antagonistic entitlement but speechless because they didn’t expect to enjoy it. All of this is a part of me. I would never take it back and I don’t regret a second of it.

How is this related to the burning distraction that sits atop my eyelids each day? What does it have to do with the book I need to finish? Well it’s simple. I want it bad enough, so everything is changing. Not just in a way like “Oh I guess I’ll leave this corporation because I enjoy being in the studio.” More like, “The time has come. It’s my day.” I am halfway there and nothing will stop me now. All the hiccups that have happened thus far, plus the ones occurring now and those yet to come (perhaps more earthquakes than hiccups) are all a part of the plan. I am a firm believer in the curveballs being thrown for a reason. They strengthen our skills, take away the fear of commitment and the lack of drive to keep on dancing to the rhythm life is playing. We need the curveballs to write the book. We need a really big glove sometimes—and that’s ok because we get better at diving for them and with some practice; it’s all good.

 I know what I want and I’m going to get it. This is the year I finish my book. What are you working on?

*Thank you dear readers for your support as you are now reading Paper Weights #50!

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Keri English
Keri English is a native New Yorker with a penchant for pages both written and downloaded. Now a writer, editor and professor, Keri has also explored a bevy of mini career paths that have provided a wealth of literary ammo for the short story collection she is working on. Some of her favorite things include the scent of paper pages opened after a siesta on cedar shelves, blue Bic pens and black and white composition books. Keri's work has appeared in anthologies, newsletters, The Huffington Post, Indie Reader, Jezebel.com, USAToday.com, In the Powder Room and she blogs at kerialifeinwords.blogspot.com. Follow Keri on Twitter @WriteLoud