Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Me and Thelma and Louise

Today, all day, I felt a need to escape. I don't really know where to or what I would do when I got there but for the last few days I have been feeling so stuck. I look out the window and see the same empty parking lot every day and the houses full of people we still don't know. Nobody in our neighborhood (and I use that term loosely) seems to spend any time outside, except for the man across the street who walks the garbage to the dumpster in bare feet. Even in winter. I drive the same roads weekly to go to the same grocery store and buy the same food. I cook the same meals and wear the same clothes and sleep in the same bed. I wake up in the morning and I do it all over again. I can't help but think that right now, at this very moment, there are people living amazing and exciting lives in Dubai, Paris, New York and Tokyo and I am, here in Ranchlands doing, well, let's face it - a whole lot of nothing.

It's my fault that I feel this way. I have all kinds of things I could and should be doing and I feel like I just never get around to it. Some of it is because I'm often spending time with Paisley but if I am honest with myself, it is more that that. It's the way I've always been - full of grandiose ideas and plans and shy on motivation and self-discipline. I have a website to work on but have found myself tragically short on talent, knowledge and time. I have a baby book to work on and of course, writing. So much writing that never gets written. I am supposed to run 5 times a week and I don't. I was going to start to cook all kinds of ethnic and adventurous foods in my kitchen. I wanted to spend time learning more about photography. I have foreign languages to conquer and books to read. I have places to go and a person that I am supposed to be.

I am terrified. I am scared that this is it and I am going to wake up in ten years and my most recent trip will have been a cruise to Disneyland rather than an overland adventure through Argentina. I am scared that all the stories and books I want to write will remain unwritten and that my life will consist of the same grocery stores, the same rooms and roads and quiet evenings and all that will change is the view outside my window.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sometimes the most incredible stories and moments in the history of the universe happen on the smallest of scales. For example, the combination of the original amino acids to form the first protein in the primordial goo was an overwhelmingly normal and boring event on the micro level, but an incredibly important and fantastically extraordinary event on the macro level. I guess my point is that amazing stories and events can take place in the most simple of moments - we only need to keep a sharp eye and an openness to wonder to allow them to sweep us away. The thing about atheism as a world view is that it is much harder to maintain your happiness at a constant rate (and there are studies to back this up) - there will always be cycles of despondency and excitement with your lot in the world. You simply need to ride out the shitty times and really, really enjoy the good times. You are an expert at enjoying the good times, so you already have half of the puzzle figured out. The most important lesson is that this is a joint assignment - you can look to others for help - even if that help only comes in the form of a good conversation or a shoulder to cry on.

Jennifer said...

I remember feeling like that every time I have a newborn. I'm not belittling how you're feeling AT ALL. I'm just saying that I know how it feels to want to be productive but you have no energy and you're tired of blaming everything on being a new mom. I remember thinking that if one more person told me to relax and not expect to do much because I had just had a baby, I was going to pull out the semi-automatic and start taking out nice old ladies.

A part of it is wanting to have the freedom back and I'm not looking forward to being back there, once this baby finally comes out.

I think it takes time for our idea of what's the new normal to happen. We change when we have children and our environment changes and our plans change and it takes time for our heads to wrap around that and to be content with it. It might sound depressing and morbid but once you've accepted the new woman you are you find new goals and new ways of achieving the old goals and life goes on with just a short layover in Babyland.

Jennifer said...

I forgot to add that things don't necessarily have to stop when you have a small baby. We went to France when our first was 9 weeks old, camping when he was 6 weeks and went on several airplane rides to Grandma's house in Washington. We found that once we realized that a new baby is like luggage, all sorts of places opened up. The baby sleeps anywhere and as long as we're packed well they don't know the difference between home and anywhere else, as long as they have mom and dad.

I say travel as much as possible while you don't have to pay for a seat for the little one.

CeeMCee said...

While reading this I felt as though you had put to words what all mothers, particularly those of newborns feel at one time or another... sometimes more. While it doesn't solve anything, sometimes it's good to know that you're not alone.

Whenever I need a reminder of how precious this time is for my own little family, I sit down and listen to the following song by Trace Adkins:

You're Gonna Miss This

She was staring out the window of their SUV
Complaining, saying "I can't wait to turn 18"
She said "I'll make my own money, and I'll make my own rules"
Mamma put the car in park out there in front of the school
Then she kissed her head and said "I was just like you"

You're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this

Before she knows it she's a brand new bride
In a one-bedroom apartment, and her daddy stops by
He tells her "It's a nice place"
She says "It'll do for now"
Starts talking about babies and buying a house
Daddy shakes his head and says "Baby, just slow down"

Cause you're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this

Five years later there's a plumber workin' on the water heater
Dog's barkin', phone's ringin'
One kid's cryin', one kid's screamin'
And she keeps apologizin'
He says "They don't bother me.
I've got 2 babies of my own.
One's 36, one's 23.
Huh, it's hard to believe, but...

You're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this"