Over a year ago, when my mom was planning on taking my tween daughter to Europe for a month, I said a little sadly, “I want to go to Europe.”
She smiled at me and said, “Well, then perhaps you need to stop collecting obligations that keep you here.”
I will admit, I smarted a bit at that. After all, I hadn’t exactly wanted to take on caring for my ill father. But when I had gotten the call, I had gone to Panama, retrieved him, and, until mid-February 2019, cared for him daily in my home. I had also been the one to push for us to become foster parents – and now soon to be adoptive parents, of a wonderful little girl.
It’s not so easy to travel when you have folks depending on you on a daily basis. So eventually I had to admit that she was right, I had been collecting obligations that keep me here.
And for several years, when finances were tight, I would insist that the folks doing the traveling were my husband and tween – after all, I was needed here, and so here I have stayed as they went off to San Francisco without me. I wanted to go, badly, but it was a pain to find someone to care for our pets and keep things going on the home front. Plenty of good reasons, it seemed, to stay right where I was.
Buying a ticket to the TRIBE conference in Franklin, Tennessee was an impetuous decision, but one that I didn’t regret, even as the introvert in me tried to talk myself out of going several times.
I had committed to going to a conference in 2019 and by damn, I was going to do it.
In fact, I had hoped to go instead to Las Vegas in November 2019 for the 20Booksto50k writer’s conference, but even after reserving my room at the special rate in November 2018, I had missed the opening day of sales for the conference tickets. It sold out in 30 minutes. They opened up a second tier and that sold out in less than an hour. I missed both of them.
“That’s okay,” I told myself, “I get to go to Franklin, Tennessee and I’m going to have a great time there.”
And I did. It was fantastic!
This morning I saw an email in my inbox from the 20Booksto50k folks telling me that they had opened up an additional 50 seats. I hit the Buy button so fast my computer could barely keep up. And just like that, I had the ticket, the reservation for a room at Sam’s Town, and I then found a round-trip ticket for under $150 that would take me there a day early first thing on Monday morning and return me on Friday, the day after the conference ended.
Five days…in Las Vegas…at a writer’s conference.
I feel like dancing. I really do.
And while I was spending a little dough, I went ahead and spent a few more on updated business cards. They were long overdue. And I had a ton of fun designing them…
It is, after all, quintessentially me. I’m weird, annoying even, but invariable an author and general malcontent. These cards suit me the best of all of the different business cards I have ever ordered over the years. Just $56 and change for 500 cards. Thanks, Vistaprint!
So what’s different now? I think that, honestly, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned that you can love and love and LOVE someone, and they might see it or they might not. They might acknowledge it, or they might tell you to go straight to hell. In the end, at some point, it is best to take care of yourself and stop trading your here and now in order to please others.
I also finally accepted that my life, and my family’s life, was suffering with my dad in our home. That he wasn’t going to get better and that his personality had become toxic. After he broke his arm, and kept falling, it was time for the nursing home. Afterwards, the air was cleaner somehow (and no, not just because he didn’t want to bathe very often and smelled like old shrimp), and we were free to relax once again in our home.
I realized too that, I can have kids and still travel. Sometimes they will come with me and other times they won’t. And not just that, but [gasp] I can even travel places by myself. [double gasp] It’s a thing that happens. Who knew?!
I’ll be honest, I could NOT go to London without my husband. I’m pretty sure there would be an uprising if I did. But the kids? Darlin’, those kiddos can stay home!
And so here I am, edging ever closer to 50 years on this Earth (if you count from conception, it has already been a half century), and realizing it is now or never. I need to stop putting these things off, stop telling myself “Next year I’ll travel.”
So I guess you could say I’m doing my best to remove ME as the obstacle to future travel. There is no reason for me to put it off, and every reason to embrace it, kids and responsibilities and all.
Cottage West is Live on Airbnb
This is a huge deal. For those, not in the know, my husband and I have been renovating a house at the west end of our property. Little by little, through savings and small loans and lots of work – we just added Cottage West onto Airbnb.
There are two reasons why this is excellent for us:
- More income means more ability to travel
- We all need multiple streams of income
#2 is a biggie. I listen to this great author, futurist, and podcaster – Joanna Penn. She has her finger on the pulse of the future of the writing world. I honestly get more out of her general info at the beginning of the podcast than I do from her guests most episodes. She has given out some fantastic advice to newbies like me that has resulted in book sales (as well as audiobook sales).
Joanna advocates for everyone to have multiple streams of income. After all, if you work full-time for a company, and they go belly up, what do you have to fall back on? It’s the same for authors. If Amazon suddenly changes their book-selling terms (like they did with page reads on Kindle Unlimited a few years back), your income can change, even dry up, literally overnight!
For the past two years I had been listening to her and my simple monkey brain kept thinking, “Well, she means multiple streams of income in the writing biz.”
No, she doesn’t.
And yesterday, as I cleaned a client’s house and contemplated how my first listing of Cottage West was now up (I have three separate listings, one for each room and one for a whole house rental) and live, I now had yet another stream of income in place.
When you look at it that way, my family currently has five streams of income:
- My writing income
- My housecleaning business income
- My husband’s full time income as an IT tech
- Our Cottage West Airbnb
- Foster care income (by the way, did you know that Missouri is second to last in the country for foster care reimbursement rates? So no, it’s not much money)
I was so delighted to realize that I had, in fact, secured a new income stream that I sent a tweet off to Joanna Penn…
The Elephant in the Room
And now for the bad news. Because life is complicated, twisty, turny and all that.
I haven’t been writing.
Not at all.
For over two months.
This really needs to change.
As I worked on the Airbnb, my own house, or at a client cleaning – several times in the past couple of weeks I could hear a friend’s words echoing in my mind.
Are you writing anything? The world needs your words.
Best get on that.
Hey! If you have read this far, comment below. The spammers are coming for me and I desperately require human contact. Tell me I’m pretty! Hell, tell me I’m a pain in the patoot, whatever, just talk to me. Please?