A Blank Slate

I was going to write about the winter solstice. I had it in my calendar. I had thoughts. Then it came and went and I was going to write about Christmas. Then it came and went too. Now here I am, intent on writing about New Year’s, but not really sure what to say.

I have plenty to say. I just don’t know how to say it. I have plenty of time to write too. Much more than I’ve had in months. But I feel stalled, and I don’t know why. There’s a huge mountain of change coming my way, and I don’t know what it looks like. I don’t know if I can climb it. If I have the tools or the strength or enough snacks to get to the top. (Always worrying about snacks, btw). I just have no idea and I feel paralyzed by that unknown and uncertainty.

So I have resorted to my most notorious coping mechanism, and one that really only appears in dire circumstances. Not feeling. Not thinking. Filling my time with Netflix TV binge watching (right now it’s Gilmore Girls. I’ve never seen it. But I’m now halfway through Season 4, so clearly this coping mechanism is taking over). Letting my brain turn to mush. It’s easier and simpler than the alternative, which is finding my way through the tangled web of thoughts and feelings as I approach the mountain. It’s feeling them, then processing them, then organizing them, then writing about them, and it all seems way too exhausting and way too daunting, so instead I tell Netflix, “Uh of course I am still watching Gilmore Girls, please continue to the next episode.”

As I near the end of my pregnancy, I am both trying to prepare and trying to let go. Feeling the need to have a plan, and recognizing that I have very little control.  Trying to organize and arrange and also trying to be chill. (Sidenote for those of you who aren’t aware…..chilling out isn’t really something I do well.) I’m simultaneously happy and sad that it’s almost over. I am incredibly, uncontrollably excited and also pretty damn terrified.

And well, as if becoming a parent weren’t a big enough change, I’ve decided to throw a big career change into the mix. And by change I mean halt? Ok no, I don’t like that. How about take a vastly different direction that I did not anticipate, but feel is the right decision? Ok, yeah, so after months of turmoil, many difficult conversations, lots of number crunching and sleepless nights, I’ve decided to leave my job. Next week is my last week and my last day will also be my three year anniversary with the organization.

And so the “wtf is parenting like” mountain has also become the “what is my career” mountain, and the “will I ever work again” mountain, as well as the “for how long can we afford this” mountain sprinkled with a little bit of “how will my partner and I work together” mountain with a dash of “how will this affect household duties and responsibilities and how will I maintain the (somewhat) egalitarian marriage I have worked hard to establish” mountain.

I mean it’s a lot, right? Clearly Gilmore Girls is the way to get through it.

As I’ve written before, I love this time of year. I love the fresh start of a new year. New calendars. New planners. Feeling refreshed after the holidays and ready to tackle new challenges. I’m also a rare breed who doesn’t mind the cold and finds solace in the short days of winter, in the peacefulness of the dark and the rejuvenation of the quiet. We need this season. We need to rest. And really, this is a very fitting time for me to have a baby. I get to start my new year with a very new chapter.

I just have absolutely no idea what that chapter will look like. Who will be the protagonist and how many pages it will have. It’s exciting of course, and since it is not yet written, I get to help craft it. With the help of the lemons life throws at you and all of that.

It will all be okay. I’ve found my way before and I’ll find it again. I’m proud of myself for staying true to who I am, for living out my values and making tough sacrifices in the process. It’s just not at all how I imagined things would be.

And that’s okay. That’s often how it works. Sometimes the circumstances you didn’t imagine turn out to be better than the picture you created in your head.

For better or worse, 2016 is a very blank slate.