And then there were three again!

Once upon a time, I went to college and had two wonderful roommates. Also one horrible roommate, and a couple who were nice but who I didn’t really become friends with. But the two wonderful roommates and I became very good friends, and we had a lot of fun together.

And then, as often happened back in the days where there was no internet, and where people’s phone numbers changed every time they moved, the three of us lost touch. 🙁

A couple of weeks ago I was thinking about both of them. I was pretty sure I could track down roommate #1, but had no idea how to contact roommate #2. I’d tried to look for her several times over the years, with no success. I decided to try to find them later, since I was super busy with edits and the day job (that was the week I had 50 meetings at work…yes, 50).

Two days later, roommate #1 sent me a message! We set up a Zoom call, and before we met I poked around and to my tremendous surprise I found roommate #2! We hadn’t talked in over 30 years, so it felt weird to call her out of the blue, even though I really, really wanted to. I decided to talk with roommate #1 about this, since we already had a Zoom session scheduled. While we were on Zoom we sent a message to roommate #2, who jumped on the call with us and said she had just been thinking about trying to find us too! It was SO great to see them both!

I am so very, very happy that we’ve reconnected! It’s really funny that we all were thinking about each other around the same time. 🙂

Me, right before I started college. Isn’t my hair awesome?!?

This has made me think about all the things we did back in college. I was only at that school (the University of Colorado, in Boulder) for two years before moving to Florida, but we packed a lot into those two years!

My life now is significantly less interesting, which in some ways may be for the best. 🙂 Back in the spring I thought I’d have a ton more time to do things since I’d be working from home for the foreseeable future. I was going to exercise every day, clean and organize everything in my house, learn a language (or two!), write a bunch of short stories and several novels, take up painting, work in the yard, read, knit/crochet/sew lots of things…it was a long list.

I’ve done some of what I planned. I reorganized part of my office. I listened to about 10 Spanish lessons. I wrote first drafts of one-and-a-half novels. I pulled weeds. I read one book, and started many others. I got out my basket of yarn and moved it around my house for a few months. But it turned out that I didn’t really have that much more time than I used to, and I didn’t realize that living through a pandemic would affect me in weird ways. Like: there was a stretch in the summer where I didn’t want to work on any of my writing projects. I didn’t feel down, but now I realize I was sulking about the pandemic. I didn’t know how much I’d hate running with a mask on. I didn’t realize that getting rid of my 6-minute commute and whatever errands I’d normally run really didn’t add up to that much more extra time.

Now that I’m eight (!!!) months into spending most of my time at home, I’m more used to all of this, and appear to have accepted the lack of excitement in my life. But it’s made me look at things a little differently. After this is all over, I’m planning on going on lots and lots of vacations. 🙂 But I’ve also been thinking about what’s important to me, and giving thought to how I can make my life better, both in larger ways (more vacations!) and in smaller ones.

Jasper helped with this puzzle!
For example, for the past couple of months I’ve made myself do something around the house every weekend—but it has to be something I wouldn’t normally do. One weekend I cleaned the radiator covers in the living room. Another time I cleaned and reorganized some of the kitchen cabinets. My goal is to make this a habit that I keep even after the pandemic, since this is the kind of thing I would normally put off. Doing everything all at once feels overwhelming, but doing a little bit each week is totally manageable. Plus now it’s easier to find (some) things since the house is (somewhat) more organized. 🙂

I’ve also tried to make myself take time every once in a while to do something fun. I realize this seems pretty obvious 🙂 but I tend to fill my time with work. Even if the work is fun (like taking a writing workshop, or editing an anthology, or whatever), it’s not good to fill up all of my time. I’ve been trying to read more, which you’d think would be easy to do, but it’s hard for me to sit down and read without feeling like there’s some task I should be doing. I’ve had better luck with jigsaw puzzles, although with those there’s always the danger that I’ll get sucked in and not stop for a couple of hours. Maybe I’ll eventually get to the basket of yarn I keep moving around…

I have been doing more editing than writing for the past few months. Hauntings is the latest anthology I’ve edited—completely by coincidence, it was published on my birthday. 🙂 It’s the first issue in The Haunted Anthology, which is a new series—the plan is to release an issue every fall. Next year’s issue will be about haunted places—I originally planned to make the theme about haunted houses, then decided to make that a bit broader and see what the authors come up with.

I’m planning on wrapping up edits for a few more collections in the next few weeks, and have a couple of short stories that are due this month. After I get all that out of the way I’ll get back to the next novel (which doesn’t have a title yet). I finished the first draft in June, but haven’t looked at it since then—this is the manuscript where I wrote 17,732 words in one day. Seriously. I still can’t believe I did that, and I never, ever want to write that much in one day again. 🙂

I’m looking forward to getting back to this project, but am even more excited about my next get-together with my two long-lost college roommates!!! ❤️❤️❤️

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