: a device having an endless belt on which an individual walks or runs in place for exercise or physiological testing
I'd like to think of my life as a journey, with no steps wasted, even the hard, difficult, painful steps ultimately leading me to where I need to go. But I must admit that lately I've not felt like I'm on a journey. It's felt much more like a treadmill. I wake up in the morning, hop on the treadmill and run until it's time to go to bed. I feel busy, but I'm not really getting anywhere. Some of this is circumstantial, but some of it is choices I've made.
Last Thursday, for example, I chose to clean my house instead of writing. I actually had a few hours free and could easily have elected to spend the time with a fictional character, writing a personal essay or editing an article draft that has been gathering mental and literal dust. Instead, I straightened, cleaned, dusted, mopped and vacuumed. Now, I'm not saying that those things didn't need to be done (I'm not the most diligent of housekeepers, so they certainly needed doing), but I cleaned to avoid writing.
I mentioned to a wise friend the problems I've been having with making time to write and with the fear that grips me when I think about writing and she asked a great question: "You were doing great for a while. What changed?" It was a simple question, but not one I had asked myself. After thinking for a moment, I decided that what changed was partly beyond my control (lots of outside commitments that threw off my available time), but largely within my control. Essentially, I let circumstances derail my discipline and when that went, the fear of starting again set in.
So instead of being on a productive journey, I've been treading on an endless loop of housework, child-rearing, cooking, and other necessary tasks that aren't getting me anywhere. So I need to step off the treadmill, go back to the world of discipline and get back on track for a journey worth taking.