It’s 4 p.m. on Monday, and I haven’t written a word, not one single word, of the blog post I’m supposed to publish today. And the boss lady in the corner is tapping her foot and crossing her arms and giving me a thorough scolding with her eyebrows.
But I don’t care. Mostly because the boss lady is me, and if I want her to shut up, I shut her up.
And that is freedom.
Maybe not success but definitely freedom.
When an 8 a.m. text tempts me to go to the zoo with my toddling, towheaded nephew instead of sitting inside glued to my laptop on a deliciously crisp fall day, I say yes.
Though at first I say no because, well, boss lady in the corner is frowning, and I need to stay disciplined, and I need to get my work done, and yadayada.
But then I say yes because, well, priorities.
Priorities are the best. This blog may be important to me, but it’s not on the top shelf in my pantry of priorities. That shelf’s reserved for other things, like my health. And my relationships.
And this morning when I had to choose between the isolated, unpaid, and often painful labor of writing or spending time in the fresh air with my family and my nephew’s ultra-kissable marshmallow cheeks, I chose the latter.
And I don’t regret it.
When I’m old and gray and telling my grandnieces and grandnephews stories from way back in ’16, I imagine I’ll be more likely to remember my nephew’s first trip to the zoo than I will sitting and writing this blog post.
I imagine I’ll smile with a twinkle in my fading blue eye and tell them how ridiculously adorable their dad was when he called the penguins “pengies” and how he squatted in his little skinny jeans and tennis shoes to stuff October leaves down the storm drain by the snack shack.
I’ll remember how his little fingers clasped mine, cheeks bulging into smiles, giggles erupting out of his baby belly in a way they never will again, pure and clear and joyful, like a stream high up in the mountains.
These moments, these relationships, is what life is about. It’s why I live where I do even though 75% of me always wants to be somewhere else.
In the end, I’m not going to remember how many people read my blog or what the boss lady in the corner thought of me when I published late (again) this week.
But I will remember my nephew. I’ll remember my family and my friends and spontaneous trips to the zoo.
And that is why this blog post is shorter than usual and perhaps not very good. And why maybe only a few people will read it, and no one will share it, and the boss lady will scowl and treat me like a failure.
But today I went to the zoo with my nephew. And if that isn’t success, then success isn’t worth having.
Long after 2016 has faded to a dusty chapter in history and I have faded with it, this blog and my boss lady won’t be the ones sitting beside me, holding my gnarled, arthritic hand.
But hopefully my nephew will.
This is for you, T. I love you to the moon and back.