Tuesday, December 23, 2008

If Only All Crises Could Be Solved With Sticky Toffee Pudding

I think the holiday season drags dormant depression and angst and sadness out of everyone. Why? What is it about this time of year that has everyone a their wit’s end? Through catching up on everyone’s blogs out there it appears that I am not the only one going through this holiday madness.

But I have been doing a lot of thinking. One of my issues is that I define success through the eyes of others. How messed up is that? In my own eyes I have several accomplishments that I am proud of: I have a stable, healthy relationship with someone who I truly can call my best friend. I succeeded in quitting drinking and smoking, which was no easy feat. I finished college and two Masters degree programs. And, of course, my two girls. Most people might think having children is a gift or a blessing or whatever term you want to use. But considering how hard it was for us, and how many miscarriages and chemicals and rounds of IUI and IVF we endured, how we bent our relationship to the almost-breaking point as I dipped in extreme depression, and how lucky we were to make it to the other side of infertility, yes, I consider Madeline and Avery an accomplishment. Perhaps the biggest one.

My lesson in life is to learn to not care what other people think. Is that even possible? Can anyone do that?! Please pass on the secrets to me.

There is so much about my life that I love. Nicole, the girl, my family, my friends, my home, my life in general. I feel so lucky in so many ways. I AM lucky in so many ways. But the reality is, the truth is, the heart of the matter is I feel a bit lost sometimes on the career front, and that really can make me feel worthless and loser-like. I’ve said this before, but it doesn’t help being married to a Career Super Star. I also think I am a victim of changing focus too much: From passions to security to money to relationships to, sadly, drinking. I knew, for example, the career path I should take, but my priorities were way out of whack. Instead I poured a lot of my energy and focus into my relationship, because I feared I would not survive a broken relationship (a legacy that many people from divorced families suffer from, I think). I had to make that relationship work, no matter what. Talk about unhealthy. In the end, I never focused on anything long enough, which is why it all sort of fell apart in my 20s.

Now I am in my mid-thirties. In many ways, I have more than I ever even dreamed I would. But I still wonder what I am going to do when I grow up. I try to remember my own advice and counsel, how I believe we all have to stick our hand into the trouble bag and pull out a few misery marbles. Some people have amazing careers, but awful marriages. Some people have awesome marriages, but awful health. Some people financial security and then some, but no true friends. We all get checks in the plus column and checks in the minus column. We all have issues and crosses to bear and challenges in life, reasons to throw our hands up in the air and scream “I give up.”

This career thing is mine. And I am still trying to figure it all out.

On a bittersweet note, I am a published writer! I say this tongue-in-cheek, because really, I am a self-published author, via lulu.com. But I think it is funny, how my first dream, my only true career aspiration was to be a writer, and I am, but not in the way I thought. I cut and paste every blog entry and compiled it into two volumes. The first volume, 2006 and 2007, is almost 250 pages! It is my Christmas present to the girls, and will be every year. I am excited because I want the girls to know who I am and know how hard I try to be a good mother to them. It looks and feels like a real book: Hard cover and dust jacket and all that. I had to design the cover and flaps, so it looks a bit amateur, but still. The book is for sale on lulu, but I imagine I will be the only one buying copies. I wanted to include all the pictures, but that would make the books cost almost $150 PER copy!! And it could only then be printed in soft cover, and I am a hard cover snob.

I think all of you out there with blogs should do the same. Having everything on the computer backed up somewhere in cyberspace is great, but having it in a book form is even better. If anyone is interested, I would be happy to talk you through the process and forward templates, etc. And I will post pictures of the book when it arrives. You can see the cover and a little bit of it here.You can also read my copyright page, which in retrospect, seems like it was written after a few too many egg nogs.

Thanks for all of your comments. I think we should all commit to making 2009 the year we are really start working out some of these deep issues. Which means we all have to commit to being really really honest.

Pictured above, pictures from Nicole’s and my annual eve of Christmas eve (or eve of eve of eve of the eve) dinner at Tea and Sympathy, this tiny British south of Chelsea but just north of the West Village. I got the macaroni and cheese and she got the chicken and veggie pot pie and we split sticky toffee pudding for dessert. You might call the picture of Nicole out-of-focus (wow, how fitting for me!) and over-saturated, but I’d like to think it is a bit artistic! And wow I so want to fix that crooked picture over her right shoulder!


amy said...

my wife made a book out of our blog for the first 2 years as a gift for me last year. it was a brilliant idea and i know our daughter will love it since so much of the blog is about her that we're going to do it every 2 years and print 2 copies (now, since our 2nd baby girl will is due in Feb) for each of ours as well.

Anonymous said...

this is how i (for myself) answer some of the agonizing life questions you pose...


that dinner looks delish!

bleu said...

Cool about the blog book I will have to check that out. I wrote journals daily for the first 2 years of Bliss and then often after I still want to translate into a blog or just type out and a bound book would be sooo awesome to do.

I have a question that came to mind while reading your post re: the career thing. Are you lost as to what YOU want or what you think you SHOULD be doing?

I felt like maybe that wasn't clear and wasn't surew if it was more of an unfulfilled in that one area thing, or a thing you think should be a certain way because of what you perceive "others" to think.

Just curious.

Take care and Happy Holidays.

K J and the kids said...

I'm sending you an email poem/story. It's much to long to type but I feel everyone would benefit from reading it.

I think we (SAHM's) all feel like this at times.
I had to fix my mind set so that this is my job. It's the HARDEST FUCKING job I've ever done. EVER. Some rewards mostly thankless and lots of criticism around every corner but it's for me to perfect and screw up all at the same time. I take it seriously with lots of sarcasm and hope with all hope that one day I can look back and say....it was all worth it.

J has the attitude, WHO CARES. She doesn't care what she looks like when she leaves the house, if someone comes over and the house is a MESS she'll invite them in. It all doesn't matter to her. Don't sweat the small stuff she tells me.
It's wearing on me. I don't know if it's age, wisdom or what but I have relaxed A LOT since we've been together. Maybe it's because of the kids. I don't worry about trying to be perfect all of the time. I still try. But I'm better.
In my mind I know that J's way is the right way. The more relaxed and happier way. so I try. :)
I want to make a New Years resolution with you.....to stop worrying about what others think so much. Worry about my family and about being happy and content more. I think it's a gift we can offer and give our children.

Wew, good thing I didn't add the story or this would be THE LONGEST COMMENT EVER !!!! :)

Anonymous said...

Never mind the crooked picture, what about the bloke with his cap on?!

Jess said...

I love the book cover. What a great idea! I have got to look into this.....to cool.