I haven’t blogged in the past year. Actually more than a year. The past year turned out to be one of the most difficult of my adult life after my mom was diagnosed with cancer, and my dad was diagnosed with dementia.

Through the challenges that those situations and others presented over the past year, I found tons of grace in tangible ways all around me. But understandably, it left me little margin in my life to take time to write.

I wished I could write. I needed to write. Writing is one of the most cathartic outlets in my life, and helps keep me feeling sane. I started writing many things in the year, but I found time to complete and publish none of them.

The good

On the positive side, not writing gave me one less thing to worry about. One less thing to focus on. And that was critical in a time of life when I have needed every shred of margin I could get.

My parents were staying with us for a couple days every week while my Mom was going through treatment until just a few weeks ago (her treatment center was very close to our home, but a long distance from theirs).

My wife and kids have needed my presence and attention like never before in our family’s history. My open source work and side projects have been sorely neglected. And my job has been all consuming lately (well, it always has been).

So letting go of even one thing was an important reality to maintaining any semblance of balance in my life.

The bad

And yet, it still wasn’t enough.

Actually, I didn’t stop worrying about writing, because the constant pressure of wanting to take time to articulate my thoughts in my own venue never got it’s release of actually doing that act.

And on top of that, I felt like somehow I was personally obligated to write and publish to my blog.

I felt like I needed to write because I knew in my most difficult times, I needed the time for reflection and processing that writing provides me. And I felt like I needed to publish on my blog for sillier reasons: mostly so that my personal website didn’t get stale, and people didn’t think I didn’t have anything to say.

The later concern, of course, is silly and I’m learning to let go of that. But the former concern – the need to have an outlet to process and face my inner dialog – is a very legit concern that I take more seriously than I have before.

Here we go again

My mom has finished treatment and is cancer free, for which I deeply rejoice on many levels. I’ve let go of some of my side projects, and refined my focus in open source work. Things at work have really started to balance out as my role there too has been focused more on the most important things.

So I have a bit more margin in my life, and I’m back to writing again. This post marks a significant personal milestone in my life. Not because my writing is so important to anyone else, but because a) it’s such an important thing for me to do for myself, and b) because it marks the end of one the most difficult seasons of my life in a very long time.

So here’s to words.