Where 2012 Has Brought Me

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January 1, 2013 by Julia

I don’t think I made any resolutions at the beginning of 2012. I was pretty certain that I was already doing all I could – fighting back the constant creeping tide of filth, trying to play with my kids in between desperate attempts to keep the train of life chugging along, trying to be a good friend, trying to be a good wife, trying to read and keep up with all the quality TV. (At least I put TV last.) I was happy (overjoyed!) with what I’d been given, yet struggling with the sheer work of it all. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Coming into 2013, I feel a little less like I’m underwater, fighting for a breath every now and then. You could say I’m…swimming, now. I’m not on a yacht with champagne, I’m not even on a floating recliner, but I’m swimming, and I’m confident that I’m going to make it to the shore before nightfall. Yep, it’s still really hard some days, as a mom staying home full-time with two young kids. But we’re going to be okay. And on the days when I lose that hope, I ask someone for a lifesaver. (Have I used enough water-based metaphors yet? Yes? I agree.)

I attribute my lessening sense of desperation to several things that happened in 2012. One, at the beginning of the year I decided to try antidepressants. My thoughts were becoming obsessive and irrational about small things that didn’t actually matter, which in me I believe is a side effect of anxiety and depression. My symptoms didn’t seem like something that could be resolved through talk therapy. It could have been triggered by post-pregnancy hormonal changes, or just the fact that having a second baby is hard. So for the first time ever, I saw a psychiatrist mainly for the medication she could provide me with. And it helped.

The other thing has been that Jack has grown into a toddler, and I am no longer caring for a helpless baby. Yes, his mobility and burgeoning will to do what he wants, when he wants is presenting a whole new set of challenges, but the stress is less frantic. When he cries about not being allowed to throw macaroni and cheese across the room, it’s not panic inducing the way his hungry infant cry was, as I quickly mixed his cereal or bottle.

Also, this blog has truly changed my outlook on things. It feels amazing to work on something that I love to do, to write about whatever is consuming me in any given moment. And I have a sense that if I can find the time to do this, then I have the time to search out other ways of making my life better and happier and more giving. (The more you do, the more you feel able to do.) I’m still amazed that I’ve found the time. I think that it’s only happened because I genuinely enjoy it. If it just felt like another chore, there is no way I could have stuck with it these four months.

I guess that is in essence why I can’t think of any major resolutions for 2013, either. I am already working on the things I care about the most. I think that our values eventually rise to the top of our lives, regardless of self-imposed will.

Instead I want to express gratitude for where 2012 has brought me. I have no gaping holes in my life; I am surrounded by family and friends and love. Plus, I get to read and write. (And watch quality TV and movies.) Things feel a little easier, and more rewarding, than they did a year ago. It’s all good.

…Well, on second thought, there has been one resolution I’ve been toying with. I’d like to learn how to cook dinners from real foods that don’t come out of a box. Meals that are nutritious and yummy and, most importantly, new. But I only want these dinners to take ten minutes to prepare. And they have to somehow be appetizing to a tall man, pre-schooler and toddler. And they can’t contain eggs. And the ingredients can’t cost too much. And the recipe has to explain each step to the nth degree, because I don’t know how to ‘wing it’ in the kitchen. I’ll let you know how that goes!

Also, I’ve been inspired to do some charity work. http://thegreenstudy.com/2012/12/26/the-revolution-of-one-step-1-identify-what-is-important-to-you/ (Thanks, The Green Study, for this series.)

Happy January 1st, 2013!

I give you “Casual Christmas Card” photo attempts 2012…the rejects are always fun.


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