The general tone of 2016 wrap-up-posts is pretty clear: this was a dumpster fire of a year, and no one will be sorry to see the end of it. Celebrities dying certainly stir up conversation, but I think it’s safe to say that 2016 will show up in the history books because of the Pulse nightclub shooting (among many, many other shootings), because of the fall of Aleppo, and because the most powerful country in the world chose to elect a xenophobic cheeto as its next president, instead of a competent woman.
So: yeah. A lot was pretty shitty in 2016, and I’m having trouble reconciling the deep horror and sadness I feel about the world with the absolute rapture I’ve felt this year as I became a parent. Y’all: motherhood is for me. I knew I’d enjoy it, but I didn’t imagine how deeply satisfied I would be with every single little aspect of it. I have been fulfilled, contented, and delighted by the life I’ve been living. This has been the best year of my life.
But events close to home and far afield have both left me with this: a longing for peace unlike anything I have ever experienced before. It’s far away and insurmountable and so, so vague, but I want it for myself and for my son and for the whole dang world, which has been in so much pain.
So I’ll be figuring that out, nbd.
There are many more tangible things I want to accomplish in 2017, but with the major changes coming our way next week (back to work!), I’m pretty sure “surviving and adapting and adjusting” should be my main aim.
Still, I do love, on the brink of a new year, to imagine what that might look like. What would make me feel proud of our adjustment? How would I like us to be this year? January 1st isn’t some magical day that will change me, but it’s a welcome chance to think about the ways I’d like to focus my energies.
I’ve come up with the following:
putting family time first. I’m going to spend significantly less time with my family than I did in 2016. Ouch. It hurts to even write that, but it is absolutely going to be true. And this means it’s going to be really important to focus on the way that little things can mean a lot. I already fight the urge to hurry things up, to find little efficiencies, in so many of our daily rituals, and this is something I’ve got to work on calming. Eating breakfast, folding laundry, or taking a bath can be fun things when you slow them down and do them together. The walk to daycare is an opportunity, if we take the time for it. And in the evening, drinking a beer and sharing our days with my husband is exactly how I should spend my time. This all sounds obvious, but if I don’t keep it at the front of my consciousness, I fear I’ll forget.
working deeply, on the clock, and shutting off completely at the end of the day. I love my job, and I want to come in in the morning and be engaged and focused. And then I want to walk away from it. Hahahaha, right? I’ve been doing a lot of reading on this subject while on leave, and I’m ready to try out a few different things in the name of making this happen.
having time for myself. I didn’t do much running in 2016, and I’m not embarrassed or sad about it (I was doing other shit!), but I’m ready for 2017 to be different. Time to run and time to read are the two things I’d like most for myself. (LONG-FORM READING, JACQUELINE. NOT INTERNET READING.) See you on the trails!
Those three paragraphs are the dream, which I’m sure sounds naive to the seasoned working mums. But: I want to try! It’s not that I think I’m going to find a perfect balance, only that I want to be conscious of working towards it. And I’ve got the whole dang year (and, well, the year after that, and many more after that) to find ways and means of making it happen.
So: farewell 2016, the year my son was born, the year I became a mother. You were just wonderful and I wish I could stay in you, but 2017 is hurtling towards us with no regard for such wishes. How lucky to be here to face it.