No, it wasn’t a sabbatical

Dear readers: I didn’t forget about you for the past three months. My absence from the blogosphere wasn’t planned or intentional, no scheduled sabbatical.

I just put you in The Stack. 

You know, THE STACK. The one sitting on your desk full of papers you need to either file, read, reply to, throw away, recycle, tear into pieces, or rant about to a friend over lunch and then burn in the fireplace.

I don’t know about you, but for me, this stack gets really really high – we’re talking upwards of Willis Tower heights. Letters from friends, letters requesting donations, sticky notes “Email so-and-so,” decisions about the future, books to read, people to talk to, appointments to schedule, friends to make amends with, blog posts to write.

Sometimes I put you in The Stack. You might be there for three months. You don’t like being left there. It’s like purgatory – waiting for some kind of judgment day-action from me, the Brooke goddess who stinks at making divine decisions and will procrastinate them until you speak to me from the pile – “I am dying here! Make a decision already!” 

This semester at Hope I wrote a lot: poetry, short stories, reading responses, and a 25-page life view paper. Writing requires constant decisions. Perhaps that’s why so many students hate writing essays in college. Not only do you have to decide on a thesis, but you have to choose what you will say, your stand, your viewpoint, and the substance that will fill your paper. Decisions, decisions! 

I am not friendly with decisions. As a perfectionist-people pleaser-fraidy cat, I am one of the worst decision-makers in the history of decision-making, hands down. 

And this blog demanded “Decide on a word, Brooke!” Tired, teeth brushed, bunk bed calling, I was often too lazy to scribble out a post to you. Really, I had words to share, but I was too worn out to choose which ones… the perfect ones that you would comment on and love. This indecision on what to write worried me – i thought, how can I call myself a writer when I’m too scared to write my own blog for fear I write the wrong things?

TIm Kreider of The New York Times wrote an interesting piece this week entitled “Cycle of Fear” that I think relates a little bit to my stack-issue. Here’s a quote:

“Of course it’s the things I can’t control that I worry about. Worry is not productive; it’s a kind of procrastination. I like to pretend worry is passive, something your brain does when it’s trapped and helpless, but it’s more often a way to avoid taking some direct action that would be frightening, difficult, inconvenient or boring, like drawing up a monthly budget or doing sit-ups or finally just summoning up the nerve to ask someone What, exactly, The Deal Is.” 

Yes – The Stack is my way of avoiding “direct action,” the way I get around the often-frightening question of “What is the deal here?” And how often am I glad of avoiding these hard but necessary steps of action? Almost never. Procrastination almost always causes me more pain, heartburn, and insomnia than the temporary delay of action is worth. 

Well, readers. I’m back. I’m lifting you out of The Stack. Get ready for some small changes in theme to this blog, more frequent posts and pictures, and more discipline from this would-be writer who’s currently ashamed of her past performance on this beloved blog. 

Thanks for listening, and thanks for understanding. 

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8 thoughts on “No, it wasn’t a sabbatical

  1. Thank you, Brooke, for knowing exactly how I am feeling. Your words are so true for my life right now too!

  2. Sounds to me like you just had a lot of things going and had to eliminate a few things to be able to do what you had to do at the end of a term. Some times we have to take inventory and put some things on the back burner for a while. Nothing wrong with that if we eventually get to them when the time is right. Keep on keeping on and everything will work out in its own time.

    • It’s true! The back burner is an okay place to put things, as long as you don’t forget about them and let them catch fire… thanks for reading! 🙂

  3. Thanks for defining the “stack”. I surely have one too, and it is growing taller each day. Looking forward to your upcoming posts. You always enlighten me and make me smile Brooke!

    • I think it’s safe to say we all have a stack of some height. You are a busy wife, mother, and professional, and you do a great job of tending to so many relationships, it’s amazing! Thanks for reading, Sue!

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