A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Composing a Soundtrack

I had a plan for 2020 but it went awry. This is a true statement for practically every human in America. However, my plan was for writing - nothing to be affected by quarantines or social distancing. Yet, I was still derailed.

It was a good plan, 100% plotted out in an Excel spreadsheet because I’m not just a writer, I’m also a nerd and a data analyst. I introduced the project through a blog post early in the year then had a schedule to follow: two posts a month to begin, then three posts a month through the summer, retuning to two a month through the fall, ending with a final epilogue on New Years Eve. I hoped to spend the year blogging my way through the soundtrack of my life.

The first few months went according to plan. I kept the pace through March, despite a hospital stay at the beginning of the month. There was a little hiccup in April but I thought I could get back on track only to falter, completely fail my schedule, and miss my self-imposed deadlines.

But why?

While most everything going haywire in 2020 can be blamed on COVID-19, my blundering inability to complete a blog series is not a victim of the pandemic. A global viral outbreak didn’t break me but health issues were my first complication. A year ago, I landed in the hospital. My diagnosis was diverticulitis with a rupture. Rest, antibiotics, and a change in diet wasn’t enough to heal on my own. I returned to the ER a month later and was scheduled for a pair of emergency surgeries and a weeklong stay at Kootenai Health.

My first hospitalization wasn’t my downfall. I kept pace and refused to be discouraged. I continued writing and even published a blog post inspired by a visit from my kids and commercials aired on the TV in my hospital room. My second stay was different. It was longer, more painful, lonely, and exhausting. By then, new rules had been instituted due to the pandemic and visitors were no longer allowed.

After all the medical crises were done, I made some attempts to get caught back up until I got bogged down in content of the posts. The true reason I didn’t complete my project according to plan is the mental fatigue of reliving my past.

As a series, What It’s Like to Be Me was (is) divided into four sections. First, In the Beginning reviewed the songs I relate to my childhood, teen years, and young adulthood. The Family Man covered those songs reminding me of starting a family and raising kids. The third chapter was All Falls Apart, these songs put my divorce into perspective. The final chapter will be called Begin Again, a collection of songs reflecting who I am now, from being a single father to a second chance at love and blending two families into one.

All Falls Apart is where my plans fell apart. This is the darkest phase of my life. Retelling those stories wasn’t easy and there were more recalled but never shared. When I created my blogging schedule, I underestimated the emotional turmoil I would feel dredging up those unpleasant memories. Who wants to relive the ugliness of their past? I didn’t. The more I wrote, the less I wanted to write.

Lesson learned.

There is good news though. The most unpleasant time of my life was followed by the happiest. I finished the worst chapter of my soundtrack at the end of the worst year in modern history. With the new year, I get to tell new stories about the new me. Instead of cramming the songs that have carried me through the last seven years into three months, I’m going to spend the rest of 2021 year sharing tales from my favorite years of my life. Chapter four, Begin Again begins soon.

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