I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t. I know so many are having similar experiences. It’s been an absolute struggle for me to even sit at my desk and turn on my computer, let alone write an article. What follows isn’t so much an article, though. It’s something I’ve been thinking about doing for several months, long before the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted life as we knew it. It’s more for me than anything. You see, I’ve had zero motivation to write and I’m hoping this exercise of putting my fingers to the keyboard and putting some words out into the universe will give me a little push.
So, yeah. Zero motivation is my biggest struggle at the moment. There are so many blog posts and articles that I need to write from past travels and I just don’t have the will to get them done. Before the pandemic, there were other developments that kept me from publishing new content.
Back in the “before time”
You may have noticed here and on my social media platforms that, as far as my family goes, things look a bit different. It’s because, last year, The Working Dad and I ended our marriage. I won’t get into the “why” or anything like that. I will say, though, that The Working Dad and I are communicating well and our children are doing just fine. The divorce and subsequent changes took up all of my time during the last half of 2019. I was so focused on making sure my children were going to be okay. I also moved house and – oh, I needed to figure out how to make money.
I wasn’t working full-time outside the home anymore. I left my job with the City of Chicago, after 20 years of service, in November of 2017 to be home more for the kids. It also allowed me more opportunities to travel and further my writing endeavors. So, yeah, I needed to find some kind of a job because – let’s be honest – full-time blogging doesn’t exactly pay the bills.
So, around this time last year, I was spending hours each day working on my resume, then sending it out and applying for all sorts of jobs. Nothing was coming my way. Then an opportunity kind of fell into my lap. I had been working part-time as a social media manager for a successful real estate business. The owner, an extended family member, knew of my situation, and graciously offered to put me through the real-estate licensing class. All I had to do was complete the class and pass the licensing exam and I had a spot on his team. Years ago, I learned from a mentor that we should always take advantage of the opportunities presented to us. Even though I always thought real estate wasn’t for me and it was a job I never could see myself doing, I wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass.
Understandably, real estate licensing classes are demanding and time-consuming. I added this new responsibility to all of the other matters taking place in my life at the time. Writing? Hah! No time for that.
Spoiler alert: I got my real estate license in November 2019. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was right, real estate wasn’t for me. I spent hours at the office each week, begrudgingly making phone calls and trying to force myself into the proper mindset for that line of work. Hours for which I was not being paid because, as we know, real estate agents earn income via commission. No deals, no money. So, it didn’t solve my unemployment problem. Meanwhile, my blogs were neglected and my writing really came to a halt. Emails from prospective sponsors and partners, with interest in and offers for paid projects, went unopened for weeks. I didn’t have the time to take action because I was at the office trying to make deals. Oh, I also had to be a mom, as well. In February of 2020, I still wasn’t making any money with real estate and I was missing out on paid writing opportunities. I had to make a decision. So, with extreme gratitude for my former managing broker, I left the real estate world behind. Within the next few weeks, I earned more money from blogging and social-media influencing than I had in the previous 3 months in real estate. I felt good about my decision.
So, yeah. Things are starting to look up, right? My writing is getting back on track. The kids have adapted to their new family life and are doing amazingly well. I’d also decided to pay the State of Illinois hundreds of dollars to reinstate my teaching certification and started to apply for jobs in nearby school districts.
Oh, one other thing. I started a new relationship during all this. I’ll have to save all the sappy stuff for another personal post, but my guy, Tom, is pretty fantastic (you may have caught a glimpse of him here). Everything was going remarkably well, despite our living 90 miles apart (he’s in Wisconsin). We were seeing each other on a regular basis. Our kids were getting along famously. It seemed, after a rough year or so, that my life was finally being put back together.
That’s the universe pummeling the brakes, causing everything to come to a screeching halt. Well, not exactly the universe; specifically, COVID-19.
So, the writing and all those paid projects I mentioned? Yeah, that’s not happening now. Partners on 3 separate lucrative projects backed out. There went that income.
Teaching jobs? Well, schools aren’t even open now.
That new relationship? It’s rough, man. I mean, the actual relationship is still as strong as ever. But Tom and I can’t see and visit one another. We live in different states with stay-at-home orders and we’re not handling it well at all.
There is a silver lining, however: I get to spend every weekday with my kids. Not having a full-time job is allowing me to “homeschool” my children. There are days when I’d like to send them to detention but I wouldn’t give up this time with them for anything.
Take all of those points above, add them up, and it equals zero. As in, motivation. There are days, specifically the weekends the kids are with their father, that I can’t even pull myself out of bed. I’ve dealt with anxiety and depression for a number of years, but the current situation poses a whole new set of challenges, the root of which seems to be all of the uncertainty. Will we be able to travel again? Will I be relevant anymore as a travel writer and influencer? Will school buildings reopen in the foreseeable future? Will Tom and I be able to see each other anytime soon?
I’m barely making it through the day doing the basics and it’s exhausting. I’m left with no energy and no motivation to do anything else.
I’m not sharing all of this so people can feel sorry for me. That’s the last thing I want. It’s also not a list of excuses. As I mentioned at the beginning, I’ve been wanting to share much of this since last year but it never felt like the right time. I’m struggling now and I know millions of others are, too. So, I thought now would be a better time to share what I’ve been going through, with the hope that it will encourage others to open up more about their own struggles. I also hope it jumpstarts my desire to write again and be creative. In the meantime, please bear with me and – most importantly – stay safe and healthy.