Just breathe, my husband tells me (like, all the time now).
Sometimes there isn’t time to breathe, I snap back between dishwasher loads and T-shirt folds.
He’s right. I’m right. But when everyone is right… no one takes productive breaths.
The last month has been a wild+wonderful blizzard for me here in sunny California.
It’s been 30 days since I was unexpectedly delivered a most perfectly-incredible new full-time job that feels like it was custom-created a la divine intervention to include every single smidge of all my past career experiences, while working alongside smart, logical and likeminded people to celebrate and propel values that have lived inside me my whole life, yet, weren’t ready to unabashedly erupt until this tumultuous past year revealed a deeper ‘me’ to myself (as well as anyone who follows me on social media, ha).
The metaphorical baby is now here and it was worth the wait. Which means: I’m in new-mom mode… exhausted but blissfully happy. Often lipgloss-less. I feel complete and am at absolute capacity. Breathe.
Use the in-between time, I used to say as a new-mom. Except, I’m finding I don’t quite remember how to harness that in-between time I used to access so easily 10 years ago when I really was a new-mom.
Why?! Why can’t I find the in-between time anymore?!
It’s been bugging me to the point of infuriation. And then it clicked: I’m older. AGE is real. And she can be a b!tch. I don’t say this as a complaint or an excuse. But: AGE.
Our expectations shift with age. Our worries evolve with age. Our bodies feel things they didn’t used to with age. How we cope and live with all things changes with age. It’s ok, and it’s reality — with or without Botox and what might be the very best under-eye concealer ever.
Since my first day on the new job one month ago, I haven’t stopped to catch a breath. (Which doesn’t age well at this age…) While adjusting to all-things ‘new job’….
I drove two 3-hour one-way banzai trips in one week (to my hometown) — one to say a final, unexpectedly-emotional goodbye to my most fabulous+adorable+wise almost-101 years old Grandma (may she Rest In Peace — funeral was on my exact birthday, which will now inevitably be something I feel the pangs of on every future birthday) and one for a family baby-shower (yes, I went to a real-life baby-shower, indoors, 30+ people, all has been fine). My girls competed in their very first dance competition (in-person, all was great). We finally relocated our septic tank from the backyard into the front yard and are gearing up for a total-renovation on our home. Our puppy got fixed and was forced into a cone-of-shame — which quickly changed into a donut-head once I started dealing with her cone-head zooming and jumping on us in the house. I wrote and sent several short-fused emails to my kids’ school district and board, barking how all children should’ve been back in school by now (my younger one went back last week, older one finally returns in another week thanks to an overdue it’s-a-miracle announcement saying all Southern California elementary school kids can return to classrooms immediately). Every Saturday has now consumed with doing 5-6 loads of laundry.
The grief has been extra real (Grandma was my mom’s mom… and I miss my mom even more, even though that doesn’t feel possible). The fun has been real (baby shower packed with cousins and kids and cute little favors). The joy has been real (1st dance competition in glitzy pink tutus). The stress has been real (septic tanks, bulldozers in my front yard and all things home reno). The frustration has been real (60lb puppy who jumps on counters in my kitchen). The fury has been real (extended distance-learning for no more reason at all). The laundry keeps reproducing and I can’t figure out why. I’m still cooking dinners 3 times a week like a fool. And how are we going through so much more milk, too?! At least the distance-learning is now (almost) over.
Age makes me feel like I’m moving slower than my usual, but all these life-things are LIFE.
We are each responsible for coping with and solving what’s dealt our way, even when the timing is wacked-out. My life’s pattern? Total vacation-mode (ie: absolutely nothin’ goin on!) or wild+wonderful blizzards of 70mph winds zooming in and knocking me over as I try to unload heavy equipment out of my car while kids scream about being cold after someone peed their pants (ie: absolutely everything goin’ on).
I’m used to it by now. But being this age while doing it all feels different. Do-able, but different.
I respect it. I’m grateful for it. I welcome it. I’m adjusting and tweaking my go-to methods of the past. I smile and think of what my mom might say about it. “You can do it,” she’d ego-boost me. “You’re still you,” she’d say.
But I’m also thinking this is why people caution against having babies after 40? Ha.
BREATHE. I’m finding the air is right where I need it if I just force myself to physically stand still and tell myself, out loud, to inhale it. (Taking the stupid mask off helps too. Try it.)
Ah, there it is. AIR. Now where’s my lip gloss?