Wednesday, January 25, 2017

a year from now, take two.

A year ago today, I wrote a post about daydreams coming true, about how my hopes were starting to manifest and become real life. It felt precarious, so I felt wary, wondering whether or not I should actually believe it was all happening. 

So I'm back to tell myself, from today's vantage point, to believe it, baby.

I am fully enmeshed in this dream life I didn't even know I could wish for. Naturally, because it's me, my anxiety is sitting right next to me, leaning in to read my words and warning me that if I write about how happy I am, that happiness is automatically doomed to disappear. 

But what's taken me so long to learn (what I'm still learning) is that happiness isn't solely dependent on circumstances. I'm not sure how my happiness would fare in the face of illness and death and despair, but does it help to worry about that right now? Or is it better to practice gratitude for all that's real and true? Whatever the vehicle for my current happiness is - luck, hard work, big choices, prioritizing, randomness - what matters is that it's here right now. And instead of caving to my anxiety, who's shaking its head and clucking that posting this is a karmic strike against me, I'm going to indulge in a little exercise. 

According to my blog, here's how January 25, 2016, rolled along. 

  • My two-year-old woke up at her new-normal time of 7:15 (not 5:00!) and chattered in her crib for awhile.
  • I kissed my husband goodbye as he headed out for a job that didn't exist in January 2015.
  • I had a debate with my sweet girl about semantics...which kinda blew my mind. [I remember this - it was when we argued whether I was wiping the counter up or down, never mind off.]
  • Rowan and I went to story time at the library, where she was one of the "big kids."
  • At the library, I met up with a friend to drop off three paintings I made for her kids.
  • I spent nap time applying to a preschool for Rowan; commiserating with my mom group friends about toddler drama; and accepting a writing position with a local organization that I totally loved and admired.
  • While Rowan was at Grandma's house in the afternoon, I swung by the post office to mail off another painting order.
  • And I listened to an NPR segment about the frontrunner for the Republican Presidential nomination, who was...wait for it...Donald Trump.
  • At 8:45 that night, while I was trying to finish a blog post (for the blog that I actually updated regularly!), I had to go upstairs to tuck my daughter back in, because she was still awake and her pillow was "too high."

It was an unremarkable day, ordinary and pleasant - and completely unbelievable to me circa January 2015. I couldn't believe that I'd been hired as a writer, that I was running an Etsy shop, that my baby was such a kid, that life was so...easy. Not that it wasn't hard at times. I mentioned parenting issues, deep worries, ongoing grief. But my day-to-day existence was exactly what I always wanted. Not only was it not a constant, crushing struggle, but it was enjoyable. Easy.

And so I dared to dream some more. I dared to imagine what today would be like, January 25, 2017. Bear in mind that a lot of these bullets really felt a little silly - like, how could these things possibly become my life? 

Here's what I dreamed, a year ago today, in comparison to how today actually went:
  • Your three-year-old will sleep past 7:30, which is great, because you're due with Baby No. 2 soon, and you need all the sleep you can get.
    • Well, we woke her up at 7:00, which is the best way to ensure that we all get work/school on time.
  • You'll kiss your husband goodbye as he heads out for the job that he still can't believe he gets to go to.
    • Yep.
  • You'll have a debate with your sweet girl about hurrying up on the potty.
    • Yep.
  • You'll drop Rowan off at her co-op preschool, and you'll head back home to do some quick chores. And, let's be real, to spend some quality time with Netflix.
    • Usually, yes, although today I accompanied her on a preschool field trip, which was super fun. Monday was exactly that, though: I ran some errands, worked on a painting at home, and prepped some quinoa and veggies for later before going to pick Rowan up.
  • You'll spend afternoon nap time counting your lucky stars that your three-year-old naps at all...and getting some work done. You have writing deadlines coming up and blog sponsors to respond to.
    • Yes and no. Yes, she still typically naps (and she puts herself to sleep, as opposed to me having to rock/walk her to sleep). But there are no deadlines or sponsors to deal with for now. I'm actually kinda cool with that - there are enough other irons in the fire for now.
  • While Rowan is at Grandma's house in the afternoon, you'll run some baby-related errands. You'll spot an adorable newborn outfit and you won't feel guilty dropping $20 on it, because you're no longer needing to pinch every single solitary penny.
    • Ha! Oh yes. Rowan is heading to Grandma's later this afternoon - for dinner...and a sleepover...and a trip to Chuck E. Cheese tomorrow morning. YAAASSS. I probably won't run any baby errands while she's at Grandma's, but the fact is that if I stumbled on the perfect newborn outfit? I might just buy it. We're still pinching pennies, don't get me wrong. Just not every single one.
  • And you'll listen to an NPR segment about President Sanders's new student loan forgiveness policy. Hooray, you qualify!
    • Okay, swing and a miss on this one.
  • At 8:45 that night, Rowan will be long asleep, and you'll be finishing some more work (from the couch, natch). Funny how you spend just as much time writing/working as you did in January 2016, but that now you're making a respectable living from it!
    • Essentially, yes. At 8:45 tonight, I'll be just getting home from my last Mindfulness in Parenting class, which I've been taking with some friends since September. Rowan may or may not be asleep at that point, but I don't really care, since she'll be at Grandma's! I'll come home and hang out with J.J., go to bed, and sleep alllll night.


I wasn't that far off from what I predicted, right? I mean, aside from the whole "President Sanders" thing. Polar opposite on that one. Otherwise? Pregnant. Potty-trained preschooler. Pinching fewer pennies. Alone time with J.J.

It's everything I ever wanted. (Again, aside from the United States crumbling to its death under the weight of pipelines and walls.)

So...how about next year? January 2018? Care to dream?
  • Your seven-month-old will wake up a little before 7:00, which is pretty typical. He mostly sleeps through the night, though not always. You'll snuggle in bed and nurse, which has been unbelievably easy this time around. Boob, bottle, breast milk, formula - he's not picky, just feed him. He won't wake up your four-year-old with his coos and giggles (seriously, happiest and most easygoing baby EVER), but your husband will wake her up anyway because it's a school day for her.
  • You'll kiss your husband goodbye as he heads out for the job he still can't believe he gets to go to. It blew UP this past year, in the best way possible, and there's still so much more potential.
  • You'll drop your daughter off at her beloved co-op preschool. You'll run a couple errands, and the baby will fall asleep in the car on the way back home. You'll bring his car seat inside and work on a few Etsy orders while he sleeps (or...you'll just nap, too. Either way).
  • You'll manage to sync the baby's afternoon nap with Rowan's "rest time," where she sometimes sleeps but mostly just chills and looks at books. You'll just be glad for some non-contact time, so you'll catch up on Facebook and blogs for awhile.
  • Grandma will take BOTH kids that afternoon, which is perfect because you'll have a consulting appointment at a child care center, which you'll be doing once or twice a week. Pennies are a wholllllllllle lot looser these days, which feels amazing.
  • And you'll listen to an NPR segment about how President Pence's cabinet is shaping up as the nation tries to recover from the Trump debacle. [I mean, the thought of President Pence is scary, too, but not quite as terrifying as Trump already is.]
  • At 8:45 that night, the kids will be asleep. You'll be relaxing with your husband, working on a blog post, and reflecting on how this entire day was last year's dream come true.


Instead of being scared to dream at all, now I'm wondering if I'm not dreaming big enough, if I'm not taking big enough leaps.

Maybe that's the best part of all of this - beyond the day-to-day happenings, I'm finding myself mostly in a state of equanimity. Which, by the way, is the opposite of anxiety, answering a question I posed awhile ago.

But more on that another time.

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