Sometimes you have to accept the life you have, not the one you used to have

Once upon a time I had no dependents and time off from my day job was mine to spend exactly as I pleased.

Life is different now. For starters, I have a husband, so it’s not all about me anymore. Then there are my parents, who are elderly and in poor health. They need a lot more support than they used to.

I’ve been exhausted throughout the summer and was just starting to feel human again. But even though I have negotiated a five week break from my day job, that time doesn’t belong wholly to me.

We’ve just returned from a five day break at the seaside with my Mum and Dad. It’s the first time we’ve gone away with them. Accompanying them was the only way they would be able to leave the house and have a change of scenery.

It went well considering. But on the last day my Mum went down with some kind of flu-like bug so now they need a lot more help, perhaps for the next few days.

As much as I am tempted, there is no point trying to recreate what I call the “Cali time” of yesteryear where I was free to follow my heart and do whatever I pleased. Circumstances aren’t the same anymore.

I think this is where it gets hard as a writer and a creative person. We are always striving towards something that is often a side project in our life. We want to progress. We want to achieve. We want to get on with our work.

You need time and energy to do that. And sometimes you don’t have as much time as you like.

So I’m trying not to look back but to accept the life that I have now. This is a phase where other people need my support. Of course, I don’t have to give it, but I couldn’t imagine doing that. I love my Mum and Dad and I am proud that we are a close family where we are happy to help each other.

Instead of “Cali time” I’m going to make “Cali moments”.

Today was one of those “moments”. I had to pack up my parent’s luggage at the hotel, drive for three and a half hours to get home, then unpack and sort everything out for them. It was after six o’clock before my husband and I walked in the door of our own home, exhausted from both the emotional and physical effort.

But I have managed to write my 500 words for today. This is a victory.

I wonder what other “moments” I can create in the next few days and weeks.

Want sensible realistic advice to help you find time and energy to be creative? Then download The Gentle Creative Manifesto. 28 brilliant tips on making time to be creative, overcoming fear and recognising the value of your artistic life.

Realistic advice on being creative alongside your busy life. www.gentlecreative.com. I write novels too. Need romantic escapism? Check out www.calibird.com

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