I've spent the entirety of 2017 in a productivity panic. It seems insanely cruel that our holidays are set up such that we spend a week hosting several events, drinking too much, partying, spending more money than we have and eating prodigious amounts of shortbread cookies before careening towards a new year in which we are immediately expected to have our lives perfectly assembled and ready for a shiny new twelve months of accomplishment.
Plus, the hangover. Why, oh why, the hangover?
I spent the evening of January first drinking tea and doing a 2016 reflection/2017 visioning booklet by Susannah Conway. (See, doesn't that make me sound like I've got my act together?)
For a few blissful hours, I felt proud of my year. I could clearly see what I'd learned from the challenges I faced, and I felt overwhelmed with gratitude for the successes I'd experienced. I had a clear vision for 2017, one that involved self acceptance, self care, a colourful and love-filled existence.
Then I woke up the next day and made my to-do list and just about burst into tears.
This is going to be a big year for me. My kid is two. She's not a baby anymore. And after spending her entire babyhood at home with me, she's going to Waldorf daycare two days a week while I work on Nest & Story and, in September, my creative writing MFA.
(Oh, right -- I got accepted to grad school for poetry. That was one of the things I was momentarily proud of until the horror of my to-do list set in.)
I'm not going to be a stay-at-home mom who sneaks in work anymore. I'm not sure what I'm going to be -- some sort of working/studying/mom hybrid, ready to set the world on fire -- except that I'm not ready, I'm not, I'm not.
I'm ready. I think. The ennui has started to get to me. I need a new challenge that doesn't involve soap scum. But then I think about how I used to zip my tiny daughter into my coat and trudge through the snow for hours so she'd sleep and I'm back to tears, back to not wanting to set anything on fire, least of all the world.
One day someone will invent a time machine where you can safely float above your past self and remember clearly how hard it was, how much time you spent attached to another human being, how afraid you were that your life had exploded. Once upon a time, there was nothing on my to-do list but keeping my daughter alive. And now here I am, at the precipice of adult life again -- and I remember how hard that was, too.
(Jeez, you'd think she was going off to college. God help me when that happens.)
Wish me luck, friends -- it's going to be a big year.