A little while ago, I told my husband that I felt like I was going through a third life crisis. Much of my life felt completely out of my control; having a newborn baby will do that to you. I was suddenly plunged into an unpredictable on-call state of being, responsible for this little creature’s care 24/7, plus the added responsibility of remaining a kind, caring, and capable parent of my first born. Oh yeah, plus the necessary task of maintaining some semblance of a relationship with my husband, whom I saw less than ever and the extent of our romance was mumbling a sleepy and unenthusiastic “love you…” as we handed off the baby from night diaper changes to feedings.
Many of my previous priorities and goals felt stale and no longer resonated with who I wanted to be, or what really mattered to me now. I felt I had outgrown my previous identity that I clung to for so long. A shift was in the air, it was palpable and it was uncomfortable. I had ideas and figments in my minds eye of new, budding aspirations, but they were all disconnected and disjointed from each other, and from my current reality. My life was in upheaval, unsettled, and seen through a lens filtered through the murky state of sleep deprivation.
It feels like I’m starting to come out from the other side. I’m starting to see little glittering and dazzling dreams and possibilities and skins to grow into now that I’ve shed my old ones. I needed to let go of ill-suited expectations and goals, people who weren’t positive influences, and shit tons of mom guilt and just regular old guilt for being an imperfect human. In letting go and becoming starkly aware of the vulnerable openness in my life which consequently freaked me out, it made way for the discovery of new interests, approaches, friends, methods, ideologies.
I’m not “on the other side” yet… Everything still feels a little disjointed, and I’m wondering how my gajillion interests, huge stack of books to read, and long list of personal goals will somehow come together. I’m wondering how incorporating all these things into my life will make me a better or worse parent, person, friend, spouse. I’m wondering if I CAN incorporate all these different aspirations into my life without feeling like I’m taking on too much change all at once. But it’s exciting. Exhilarating, really, to give myself the freedom to try new things, and have the courage to try without fearing failure to the point of paralysis.
A lot of what’s allowed me to think more and start considering my life more is tuning out social media. It might be an extreme approach to completely shut it out of my life, but I feel like it’s been a real service to my well-being and mood. I’m spending more time reading, cooking, exercising, and spending real time with real people, instead of virtual interactions with virtual friends. I’m attempting to be more present for my family, which is a daily struggle. There are so many distractions in this day and age, you have to fight for what matters to you. The older Isla gets the more I know that I can’t shield her from all the screens around her, all the processed foods, all the foul language, and all the sad parts of life (and death). (I.E. She just witnessed her first bunny slaughter courtesy of our cat this morning, looking out her bedroom window). But I can determine what morals and lessons our children learn from witnessing how I interact with them and the world around us. I need to concentrate on what I can do, and let go of the rest.
Big things ahead, guys! Well, a bunch of little things, really. But I can sense that there is a lot of good in our future, and I’m stoked.