New Years… Fresh start. For an organized life. A healthier life. A time to rethink your goals. Unless you’re in my household, because then all you’d have at New Years is a cold. And then the stomach flu. Or the stomach flu, and then the cold. We are a week into 2017 and I think I’ve left my house twice, out of a necessity to feed my daughter (neither my husband nor I have done much eating this week). We are experiencing that plight of parenthood in which both adults are miserably sick and yet have to keep our child alive and fed. The old saying “parenthood never gets a day off” is starting to make much more sense now. How I wish we weren’t 3,000 miles from the grandmas! Sending out the SOS, waving my white flag – HELP!
This New Year is more symbolic for me than most, being that we are still “new” to living in the South, don’t have many friends yet, everything is pretty much entirely different from anything familiar to me (even the butter sticks are shaped differently! I mean really… butter!), and, well, I’m kinda miserable. Have been since we left the familiarity and comfort of our little town in Washington. Our true home. I knew this transition would be difficult, and I knew I didn’t want to do it in the first place, but it has been even more difficult than I could have anticipated. Does anyone know how long it takes to “settle in” to a new home? To feel like you are a part of a new community? From my perspective it’s gonna be a while.
You guys, I’m a total fish out of water here.
I talk funny down here – which, my good friend from Alabama just recently gave me some tips on how to help people better understand my Yankee accent in these parts. Next time I’m in the drive-thru I’m going to try this out, for science of course. I’ll report back. I dress funny – my casual Pacific Northwest wardrobe of blue jeans, cardigans, scarves and flats don’t exactly jive with hot and humid. And I apparently eat funny – I just recently learned what a hush puppy is, and I still haven’t tried cheese grits. Or any form of grits for that matter. Oh, and I was laughed at last week for having never been to a Cracker Barrel? Is that a thing?
There’s a lot more about living here that makes me feel out of my element, or just not “settled,” as I said (such as the GOD AWFUL smell of a paper mill somewhere nearby that enshrouds this town every other day and makes me want to throw up in the nearest trash can) but sooner or later I know I need to face the facts: I live here now, and I better get used to it.
I’m acutely aware of the fact that this move coincides with a new phase in my life – one of parenthood and establishing our family, of me being in my 30’s, and making some real decisions about our goals for the future. Translation: change change change. I never did like change.
I had a really great conversation with my mom last night about all of the thoughts and worries swirling around in my pretty little head, and (as usual) she gave me some perspective that I was really lacking. I told her how utterly exhausted I’ve been feeling lately. Just burnt out, no energy, no idea where to go from here, bone tired. Despite my exhaustion I’ve been trying so hard to meet people, establish a routine, get involved here and there, etc. etc. but the problem has been that my heart isn’t into it yet. I just want to miss my home right now, and be a little sad, and feel a little lost, and I didn’t realize that until talking with my mother. She told me to just slow down, take some time to rest and find my energy again, give into my exhaustion by embracing it and not asking so much of myself, until I feel ready to take on this new life. And you know what, I think that’s what I’m going to do. I’m usually always thinking of what to do next with my life, what my next goals are, what I should be doing, but right now I just can’t go there. So I’m not going to! I’m giving myself permission to heal from the last four months of chaos that my family has gone through, to focus on myself and my daughter and what makes us happy, and to not try so hard to be settled already. Maybe that means staying home more, taking on some projects around the house (it could use it anyway), or focusing on cooking even more. Maybe that means finger painting on the back porch and cuddling my little one while we watch “Sesame Street” together more often. Whatever it is that brings me small moments of happiness, that’s what I need for now, until my soul feels more rested and rejuvenated. And I hope eventually…the rest will come.
So while my New Years goals also include working out regularly again, and eating well (which isn’t exactly a resolution for me; I pretty much try to do these things on the regular, but my life has been Hell lately, so I’m using the New Year as a motivator to get my life as I know it back on track), they also include giving myself some permission to breathe for a while, and to do whatever the Hell I want until I figure out exactly what the Hell I want.
And I REALLY want to feel better now. (Sneeze).