I am a woman who is suddenly aware that I can control my destiny by creating the day that I most wish to have.
For almost a year, it felt like we were on triage. I think that is just what new parenthood feels like (not to scare anyone away). Like as long as we didn’t break the baby, we were doing great. But now, the baby isn’t a baby anymore (even if I still insist on calling him one because he’s my baby) and, well, I can’t use the “I have a new infant at home” excuse for the rest of my life or his now, can I? So now, now I can get back to the living of life and not just the stop gap measure of is this mostly edible, yep, is this mostly wearable, yep, am I mostly presentable, yep, is this more or less readable, yep, and so forth. Because living, I like to think, isn’t just rooted in reaction. It’s rooted in choice and action and growth and embrace and excitement.
And so I am making notes and observations, realizing that there are some things I liked to do pre-baby that I no longer like to do when my time is measured out in seconds now rather than hours and there are things that I liked to do pre-baby that I would still like to do, except I haven’t worked them in.
In one of the journaling workshops last year, I had my attendees write a twenty five word (or less) descriptor of themselves that was not rooted in physical description. Who were they if they were not what they looked like? What were they about? And that sentence above is what I came up with… I am a woman who is suddenly aware that I can control my destiny by creating the day that I most wish to have. Except I wrote that at a time when our nights were so fraught with wakefulness that it felt impossible for me to do much that was inspired during my days. I was waiting to sleep again at night so I could make my day what I wanted it to be. Recently, we went through another months long spell of very little sleep (we were averaging about 3-4 hours per night because that’s what the little guy was averaging). Things are a bit better right now, but we’re not entirely out of the woods yet. I don’t know that we’ll ever entirely be out of the woods and my awareness of that possibility has actually made me return to that sentence I wrote so optimistically months ago.
In so many ways, we wait to live life, don’t we? We wait until our hair is long enough or we’re thin enough or we’ve learned enough or we’ve met the right life partner or until we sleep enough. And the thing is life doesn’t exist in a vaccuum of perfection. Nope, it exists everyday with our hair and weight just as they are, with a partner or without a partner, with sleep or without sleep. I cannot force my child to sleep more. I can’t will my hair longer in the next 24 hours (well, I guess I could with $1500 extensions). I can’t dramatically alter my body in just a day (or maybe at all). What I can do, instead, is LIVE the life I imagine as much as possible in the midst of the life that I have right now. Maybe I won’t be the most well-rested novelist in the life I have right now, but I could still write a novel if that is what I choose to begin doing with my days. Maybe I won’t be Frida Kahlo, but I can still paint. Maybe I won’t be the fastest runner, but I can still run. We wait. We put off so much. We talk our way out of our dreams. As spring approaches (and please tell me spring is approaching despite the snow I can see outside my window right now), I am no longer talking my way out of things. I am talking my way into things; I am finding my inspiration. What’s yours?