Just like that, we’re halfway through November and, by extension, NaNoWriMo. With 66,395 words overall and 26,395 of those written in November, I’m just a hair behind the 1667 words-per-day pace, but I’m not too concerned. I’ll probably catch up this week and I don’t necessarily plan to finish NaNo this year. Unlike my NaNo project last year, which ended up around 120k, I don’t expect this novel to reach 90k like I’d originally planned. This one will be closer to the 80k of my second novel — short and sweet. I can see the finish line now, and that’s always an exciting phase of writing.
I’m also approaching the halfway point on a different goal. About six months ago, I committed myself to singlehood for a year. It was an arbitrary number. What I really wanted was to be single “for a while”, and a year seemed like a good long while. The first month of these past six felt like a year, but the rest has shot by in the blink of an eye. Now, as I stand on the foothill that is the halfway benchmark, I wonder to myself: am I happier? Healthier? Stronger? When I look back, I tend to see my struggles: flying to New York to mourn a relationship that had died a winter ago, hooking up with another ex, rekindling and unfriending my friend-with-benefits, falling for inappropriate guy #1, falling for inappropriate guy #2, finally breaking things off with ex-from-last-winter, sleeping with my best friend. When I look back, I see myself cycling through the same patterns of highs and lows. When I look back, I am blind to my progress.
But the reality is that I have made a lot of progress. Just like my current novel, which has been neglected at times due to work and friends, my journey of self-improvement and healing hasn’t always been steady. At times, my judgment has lapsed. At times, I’ve taken the detour because it was more enticing and I had to take the long route back to the main road. At times, I’ve felt like nothing has changed at all. The same way 1k became 2k and 2k became 20k, though, my mental state has strengthened. Most importantly, I have been true to myself and what I really want. I have lived, certainly, and I have taken plenty of risk, but I have done so within the range of my own boundaries. At the same time, I’ve pushed my boundaries in healthy ways. I joined a Meetup group that I thought would be full of old folks and ended up making the best friends I’ve had in a long time. Last week, we went running in freezing temperatures and I made it all the way around Gallop Park. As I hate running, that was quite a feat. Today, we went climbing at Planet Rock and, despite my self-doubts, I reached the top. Afterwards, we were sure to eat back all the calories we burned in tamales, tortas, and tacos. I’m still full.
Like NaNo, the finish line for my yearlong singlehood is flexible. I won’t hold myself to it, because it’s no longer necessary. Being single now is not a punishment, nor is it unbearable. Now, I have too much to lose, I am too content, and I know too much about pain to give this up for just anyone. The next relationship that I get into will have to knock my socks off, because I’m pretty damn good at knocking my own socks off.
Keep calm, my fellow NaNo writers. You’re halfway through. As for everyone else, I don’t know what personal goals you’re working towards, but I wish you luck in getting there. This too shall pass.
À plus tard,