This morning I woke up with the urge to write. Anything. Everything. Just write.
A rainy, gray Sunday morning calls for sleeping in and general laziness, but I seldom like doing what is called for. Contrary certainly sums up a good portion of my personality. So the crack of dawn it was.
I figured this would happen: walk away from the blog, allow other aspects of my life come into focus, and one day (soon) I'd be called back. Only when I was good and ready. And this morning, I'm ready.
Upon searching through my files for photos that sum up life lately, I realized I didn't even have a January photo folder. My iPhone photos haven't been dumped in ages. This has been a natural progression which started with closing my seldom-used personal Facebook page back in December. I have always had a sordid relationship with that particular medium, and I decided it was high time we broke up... for good, I think. Easing up on Instagram, which I still enjoy, followed suit. Unplugging from the oft complicated and undefined social interactions that accompany social media came out of necessity more than anything. Although I've never had a single defining bad experience, it was never good. And so.
With a new year came new goals and ideas. Sometimes by accident: hanging a new calendar typically calls for such things in an organic way. A shiny blank calendar asks to be written on; a canvas of untapped potential.
The last few months I'd let fear and uncertainty seep through the cracks. Although so happy to be in this new life of ours, I realize now that some of my old baggage made the journey with us. "How will Kiddo survive high school without my constant vigilance? How will I do x, y and z with Husband's work schedule? Best put my life on hold so as not to cause strain." I ruminated on these types of conversations (sometimes internally, sometimes with Husband) until everything I thought I knew was turned on its head. I felt further from my hopes and dreams than ever before, despite the fact that we'd moved all the way across the country to be closer to them.
Living in limbo, negotiating with myself for less than I deserve... it was all taking its toll.
After months of hand-wringing, I decided it was high time to make a decision. And I did. Just three days before the next class started, I signed up for a course to gain a certification that will allow me to get my foot in the door at the local hospital. So for the last two weeks, I've been in a classroom again. I've met great people, challenged those pesky Can I do it? fears, and taken big, jaunty steps toward my goals.
Being at home with Kiddo full time for the last 6 months, although so valuable, has left me feeling out of sorts. I needed that time to help him settle into his new school with its unfamiliar format; to acclimate to our new home; to wait for Mario's new position and its lightened travel schedule to begin; to decide what the next step in my journey should be. But somewhere in the process the line between who I am and who they are became blurred. My edges melded into theirs, and while they still had their individual lives with school and work, my identity became lost in the process. Kiddo's late homework assignments became my late homework assignments. At one point in January I had just 28 hours with my husband over the course of 14 days (13 of which were spent getting the bare minimum sleep). Now, as I write this, he's halfway across the world. Along the way I started to believe that the only way to achieve balance was to abandon my dreams for the foreseeable future.
I forgot that the best me shines through when I'm learning and passionate about something and have a purpose outside the home. I was fighting my inherent nature at the expense of my happiness.
Thank goodness I didn't give myself enough time to second guess my enrollment in this class. Because the first few days, and the intense feelings of discomfort they brought about, put everything back into perspective. Getting this certification is forward movement, but it certainly didn't feel that way at first. After years of undergraduate work, I inadvertently developed an ego of sorts. The kind that says "A degree means never having to do that." And yet, degree or no, I'm in the trenches; on equal footing with my other entry-level peers. This whole experience has been humbling and eye-opening and uncomfortable and worth its weight in gold. Because I found my hustle. That fire in my belly I get when I set my mind to something. The part of me that grabs the bull by the horns, even if it means starting at the very bottom. I missed her.
(Did you know that some of the most important, compassionate, hardest-working people in healthcare, the ones who tend to the most basic needs of other human beings, barely surpass minimum wage? I must have done the calculation in my head fifty times over the last week: what they make every month, after taxes, wouldn't cover our rent. What they do is thankless, back-breaking work. The respect and compassion I have for caregivers is overwhelming. A post in and of itself, I tell you.)
There you have it. What I've been doing and thinking over the last few weeks. There has also been the testing of new recipes with abandon, wardrobe rearrangement, and travel prep. Because oh yeah! we are headed to Costa Rica in just 10 short days. My toes are so excited for the opportunity to thaw.