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34

March 20, 2017, Portrait at home by Feng

A lot of things can happen in life—mostly nothing.

I want a life full of experiences.

I don’t regret any of the decisions or mistakes I made. Good times, bad times, ups and down, everything is interesting. My life isn’t perfect, it’s never going to be perfect, but the adventure is damn fascinating.

But while I have no regrets, I have unfinished business—a folder on my desktop that bugs me.

Five years ago, I put the final full stop to a novel I wrote, a one-year project I had started because I had a good story outline and I wanted to see if I could actually write—and finish—a book. This was in another life where I had a good job with a great paycheck I didn’t think I deserve, where I was taking yoga classes and where I had enough free time and brain space left at the end of the day to work on my little side project.

I loved the writing process. Over the months, I made notes, interviewed people, reached out to experts, did research, brought characters to life, pieced the story together, wrote a first draft, printed out the manuscript, edited it, proofed it and edited it again. Ta-da, final version.

Then we went travelling. “After this two-month break, I’ll read it again and I’ll try to reach out to publishers,” I thought.

In 2012, I was planning to take a “gap year” at home. I had quit my job before our trip and I had two projects: starting my own freelance business and exploring publishing options for the book. I was 29 and since turning 18, I had been busy travelling, studying and working—often all at the same time. I was finally confident enough, reasonably street smart and I had more than $200 in my checking account. I was nailing this whole life thing.

In February 2012, we returned to Canada tan, rested and energized.

I also came back nauseous. A month later, I realized I was pregnant.

My “bohemian year” turned out to be the most emotionally and physically draining year of my life. I no longer had the opportunity to be self-centered for a few months. First, I rushed to France when my mom underwent a major surgery, then stayed a few weeks as she was recovering. As my belly grew bigger, the book project was definitely replaced by the baby-baking project—instead of brainstorming titles, I was listing baby names. I did manage to start the freelance business because I needed to—I wouldn’t be eligible for mat leave since I was now self-employed—but I never opened the book folder on my desktop again.

Then came Mark, and the follow-up project was obvious: learning our roles as new parents, no how-to manual provided. I kept on writing to stay sane and I shared our adventures on this blog but I every time I opened the book, the words I had typed a year earlier sounded empty. I wasn’t that person anymore. I had no idea who I was, anyway. In my new life, socializing, sleeping and eating were pointless activities and I would have deleted every single copy of the book if I had had enough energy to plug my hard drive in (luckily, I didn’t).

Last year, I finally found the time and courage to double click on the folder. I read the book and suddenly, things made sense. It was my work, these were my characters, this was my kind of humour.

“Damn… I like this book,” I thought.

I got to work, edited some parts, improved the work and…

… and nothing. I don’t know what to do with this book. It’s not a draft, it’s final. I let it rest long enough.

Now what?

I’m stuck.

I’m very superstitious. I never mention my projects unless the work is completed and some kind of result was achieved. For once, I’m making an exception. I’m not looking for support, I’m trying to motivate myself because I don’t want to ever regret not pursuing this project.

I’m 34 and I have unfinished business to tackle. This year, I want to give this project a chance.

March 20, 2017, Portrait at home by Feng

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