Things were looking really good.
I mean, really, really good.
I can’t recall the last time I was this happy. From about the time I was just out of high school until I was almost 40 years old, I was self-employed. Sometimes things were okay during those years, but when you own your own (very) small business, you’re always under a lot of stress. When the money’s good (and sometimes it was) you have enough to take some time off and go on a vacation. However, you can rarely do that, as the business often requires your constant presence so that it will continue to run efficiently and profitably.
For almost the past ten years, though, the Federal government has employed me. I have great benefits and decent pay and wonderful vacation time and a 401k, and so on. Things have been relatively good. I have time to do things and to go places. My position is filled when I’m not there, and the government isn’t going anywhere and it’s not going to shut down if I take a couple of weeks off.
When I’m not working for the Postal Service I can either be found writing novels, or reading, or backpacking, or camping and canoeing in a state or national park with my wife and son. I discovered a couple of years ago that I had enough disposable income to buy a travel trailer and a truck to pull it so that it could serve as a base camp for my trips into various hiking locations and wilderness areas.
Last week I was especially happy. I was planning a long vacation with my family to the Florida Keys where we would, among other things, visit the Dry Tortugas National Park. I was really relaxed and looking forward to the trip.
And then something really wonderful happened. Something most writers would see as an excuse to jump for joy and go into rapture. The chance at the brass ring that most people dream about and few see. I won’t say now what it is that happened, but be assured that I’m on needles and pins and will be until I (or my literary agent) gets the official word.
I think of it as a Woody Allen moment. I should be really happy, but now I’m stressed. I was in bliss getting ready for a long vacation, and now my thoughts be sidelined by what might be, what could be, what may very well come to be. It’ll be nagging at me until I get the final word one way or the other.