I wonder who I’ll be in 20 years. Ten years ago I was a productive fiend, knee-deep in articles to read for my fellowship. Minutes were used “well”, and very few were “wasted”, although I do have distinct memories of dancing in my driveway to “A Little Less Conversation….” re-mixed by somebody-er-other. Truthfully, I didn’t have much spare time for friendships, which is part of the reason I chose to stay in the SF Bay area after the fellowship ended. The women in my bible study never had seen me outside of survival mode, and I wanted to be their friend on more equal terms. (I’m so glad I stayed!)
Something snapped right about when I finished the fellowship. I wanted freedom! Scheduling fell by the wayside. Discipline dropped. I longed to breathe and not.do.anything. So I did. For too long. Don’t get me wrong, I had moments of glory–training to do a couple of triathlons, taking a class or two. But true discipline? Nah. Then I got married and had a couple of kids. And, for better or worse (or both), the perfectionist tendencies kicked in again. I wanted to do the right thing, all the time. I literally walked with back labor for almost 24 hours so that I could give birth naturally, because drugs were evil in my mind. Despite sheer exhaustion (and I do need to go to counseling about this) when R. was little I wouldn’t let anyone feed her at night, so I would sleep for 15-30 minutes at a time before starting the nursing cycle again. I read books ad nauseam about sleep (see above re: not sleeping much) and even when I felt like I knew the “right” thing to do, all it took to throw me off course was one well-meaning person questioning me about it. Even now, when I am convinced that play is the best gift I can give my kids at this age, I question myself when other kids have multiple activities to attend. Because I want(ed) to be perfect. I can intellectually say this is false. Unattainable. Unhealthy. But that can’t override my emotions most days.
But today was a good day. Today it was 70 degrees, sunny, clear blue skies here in the Seattle area. It was a day for shorts, a t-shirt, and Keens. The sun warmed my back, the trees glowed green, and the world was right. My kids played in a makeshift tent of chairs and blankets on the deck and I took a walk…and was gone for two hours. Sure, I did take in a couple of open houses (yes, the house hunt is on!) but mostly, I breathed deeply and soaked up the sun. It wasn’t about Vitamin D. It wasn’t about exploring neighborhoods to find the perfect one for us. It was about being in this place, in this glorious time, seeing the earth on Earth Day as a gift indeed. Maybe there’s hope for me yet.