We’re just two weeks into the new school year and I’m already exhausted. I’ve been fighting my first “bug” of the season – congestion, cough, aches, and fatigue – and I had to check Rock Star out of school this morning because he was feeling unwell, too. And judging by the way the dog keeps scratching himself, I’m pretty sure he has an ear infection. Guess I need to call the vet.

Meanwhile, Middle Child is getting ready to leave for a several-week trip to Europe tomorrow. Europe! Has it really been thirty years since I visited myself? Anyway, tomorrow, after my doctor’s appointment – just a routine physical, no big deal – I will drive him and his travel companion to the airport. It will be all I can do not to cry when I say goodbye. How will I survive his being so far away for such a long time?

Also, since Middle Child offered to let his younger brother drive his car while he is away, this afternoon I made the phone call to add newly-licensed Rock Star to my insurance company – gulp! At least I don’t have to worry about where to invest all my surplus funds, ha!

Most disconcerting of all, Mr. Nice Guy, the fellow I have been seeing the past few weeks had major surgery today, very serious business. I was on pins and needles for hours awaiting word. I won’t go into all the details for the sake of his privacy. but according to the text I received from his daughter this afternoon, he is in recovery and doing well. Big sigh of relief there.

I celebrated my 53rd birthday last Wednesday. My three children joined me for dinner at a local Italian restaurant; it was the first time we have all shared a meal together in ages. It was a wonderful gift. I am also enjoying the cool clock my mom sent me. It is featured in the photo at the top of this blog post; click HERE if you want to order one of your very own. The Thoreau quote below it was already on my wall; it has been my motto, of sorts. But after a day like today, I feel discouraged. I didn’t make so much as a millimeter’s progress in the direction of my dreams. The sad thing is I cannot even tell you where the hours went. When I woke up this morning, I thought I would be able to squeeze at least a couple of hours of writing; the truth is I haven’t added a word to my novel since Thursday. Thursday! This is simply not acceptable.

So I am adopting a new motto. Write FIRST. Before I scribble my morning pages. Before I check email or send a tweet or log into Facebook. Before running or beading or playing the piano. I’m going to get up at 6, take the dog out, pour myself a cup of coffee (programmed to brew the night before) and spend the first two hours of the day working on my novel. Not a blog post or a book review or a letter to the editor. The rest of the day will be mine to spend as duty allows and my heart desires.

Yes, I have a busy life and many responsibilities. But the essential things will get done. They always do. Meanwhile, I will be going confidently in the direction of my dreams. As long as I write FIRST.