Spring weather is slow to arrive this year. We woke up to delicate snow flurries this morning. But despite winter’s lingering grasp, the signs of spring are all around: the greening of the grass, the birds belting out their sincerity, bulbs pushing up out of the ground and blooming defiantly. And another perennial visitor–spring restlessness.
Restlessness is real!
Call it spring fever, cabin fever, the awakening–whatever. It’s a real thing. But it hits me in a particular way, with restlessness. Specifically, the temptation to make impulsive, risky decisions. I’m not talking about ordering something different at my favorite restaurant. I mean, one year I almost bought a restaurant. Like, I went far enough down that road to dream up the menu and design the interior. (Thank you, Dave Ramsey and Dan Miller! Your bulletproof advice saved me that year!)
Other years, I’ve felt like getting in the car and driving until I run out of road–and once, I did. Or buying plane tickets to surprise my husband (he hates surprises and he hates planes). You get the idea.
Luckily, even though the restlessness catches me off guard every year by how right it feels, I recognize it. I defuse it before I sell all our possessions, put the house up for rent and live out of a Volkswagen van. Or buy a rescue ranch in the southwest–pygmy donkeys only, please. You know. Spring fever stuff.
As writers and artists, we’re fortunate to have the outlet to live in those alternate realities, though! That restaurant, the one I had all planned out? I wrote a story about it. Last year, when I was thirsting for the southwest, I read novels set in New Mexico. Then we took a detour to New Mexico, and I documented and wrote about it. Artists and musicians can make similar forays into what-ifs.
- What if you moved to the city/country/desert/Alaskan frontier?
- If you sold everything except what you could fit in the trunk of your car, what would you keep?
- What if you were summoned to the island of Malta by a distant relative–a real one, not a cyber-scammer?
- If you had to start over, what would you do differently? What would you fight to regain?
In reality, it may be wildly reckless and ultimately destructive for me to buy a crumbling restaurant overlooking the Ohio River. (In fact, the sellers couldn’t get *anyone* to buy it, and eventually demolished it. Sad. But I’m off the hook!) But creatively, I can clutch that idea and run with it as far as I want. And neither Dave Ramsey’s financial advice nor Dan Miller’s career counseling can stop me.
Where would you go, and what would you do if you knew you could control the outcome? How can you parallel those dreams in your work?
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