Sunday, January 4, 2015

Here we are again...

What a difference a year makes.

Some years it seems like not a whole lot changes. And some years, like 2014, everything changes and you’re left on New Year’s Day 2015 wondering what the hell happened.

Last year at this time I still had a dog. I still had a living grandfather and a living uncle, an uncle who was such a strong, vibrant being I’m still wrapping my mind around the fact that he’s gone. He was the only family member (to my knowledge) to read my blog, and it pains me to know he’s left his last comment.

Last year at this time I had no idea I was very newly pregnant and that my life was about to change drastically forever. I had never felt the Earth-shattering fatigue, the “morning” sickness, the butterfly flutters, the kicks and the in-utero hiccups of pregnancy. I’d never watched my belly and the scale numbers grow drastically, never experienced the intensity of childbirth, never breastfed a human. What a difference a year makes.

I always thought that at some point my life would stop being a giant question mark, that at some point I’d “settle down” and stay the same for awhile. Getting married certainly didn’t make me settle down. Buying a house had the opposite effect, causing me to rebel and travel as much as possible to escape the suffocation and chained-to-the-bank feeling I felt when I was “home.” Moving to Seattle brought more and more adventures and changes. And just when I’d adjusted to the fact that life would always change, I had a baby. Surely that would settle me down, right?

In some ways, it has. Sleep deprivation will do that to you. I didn’t even consider getting a babysitter and going out on New Year’s Eve, not only because I truly didn’t want to leave my baby girl (she’s actually quite delightful) but because I knew I’d be exhausted the moment I arrived at any public destination. I’m honestly looking forward to a few years of staying in more. I want to get better at cooking, get more efficient at meal prep, decorate my home with beautiful things and do more in-home entertaining.

But today, life is just as much of a question mark as it ever was. Once again we’re faced with moving since we can’t justify the crazy expensive Capitol Hill rent now that we’re not going out a lot and enjoying it. I don’t know where we’ll be living in a few months.

And while I spent the first couple of months of motherhood in the postpartum coma everyone told me I would, my work started to dry up. This is the life of a freelancer—contracts come and go. Except this time it’s different, because I haven’t had the time or energy to replace them before they’ve ended. Not only that, but I’ve got another human to consider. I’ve got to strike a balance between work and caring for the baby, or land a large enough client to justify the expense of leaving her with a nanny all day.

I’ve got ten pounds of baby weight that are hanging on for dear life plus an extra five from the holiday season of 2013 that were still hanging around before I got pregnant. This isn’t a huge deal… I’ve lost 15 pounds before, I can do it again. But I’ve never had to do it after I’ve turned 30, after a baby, when I average five hours of sleep a night in 2-3 stretches and it’s cold outside and all I want to do is hide under a blanket and eat pizza. In the meantime, I’m stuck with a tiny “in between” wardrobe with a few pieces of clothing I can’t wait to burn one day (in all honesty I’ll likely donate them, but you get my drift).

And then there’s the wanderlust. While I was in said postpartum coma, my friends went out and lived their lives. They networked and grew their businesses. They landed new jobs. They moved….and they traveled. They traveled a lot. And I sat nursing with one hand and scrolling through their Instagram feeds with the other, watching. I didn’t get jealous or bitter...seeing them happy makes me happy, and it’s not like I’m not where I want to be in life, for the most part. But it did nothing for my wanderlust.

So basically, I’m sitting here at the dawn of a new year, adjusting to all the changes. I’ve got a bunch of puzzle pieces at my feet that I need to figure out, and I need to figure them out fast. I need to figure out how to balance work, motherhood, fitness and health, and being a wife and friend. I need to increase my workload immediately or face financial doom (no pressure). I need to figure out the next neighborhood we’ll call home. And most importantly, I need to figure out how I can still travel, both with and without my little family. Traveling not only gives me life, but it will greatly enrich my daughter’s.

And then there’s the fact that there’s this little book I started writing four years ago that I had to put away for awhile, a book my now deceased uncle was always getting after me to finish and won’t ever get to read, that’s dying to get finished, escape my laptop and be released to the world….

But the difference between January 2014 and January 2015 is that I have complete faith that it will all work out. That’s something I’ve been working on for years. It might involve letting go of certain outcomes and releasing control, and it might not work out the way I’d imagined. But it will work out. It always has in the past, even when fate has waited until my darkest hour to step in. It took a lot of loss and change for me to realize everything will be OK. I have no reason to believe I can’t put this puzzle together.

What a difference a year makes.

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