Saturday, April 19, 2008

Existential crisis? Check.

Every now and again, I have what Jason calls a "break down, break through". For whatever reason, something triggers and I kind of freak out and wonder what the hell I'm doing with my life. And as often happens when I do this, I first turn to music. And as is often the case, the lyrical poetry of Jason Mraz most succinctly summed up exactly how I was feeing:


Hands in line
Arms close to my sides
I'm fighting tides
of an ocean's undertows
And I figure that I might not make it

And I'm taking empty
But seldom speaking
and the words retreat
Well they're breathing histories
ill at ease
into stories untold
And my arms unfold
So I tried to think about exactly what I wanted. And everything I could come up with seemed to contradict the last. To wit:

I'm sick of flat-dwelling and I want my house and yard back.
But I want to stay in London as long as possible so I can travel to all the places I want to see before we go.  And I know we'll never live anywhere as beautiful as Richmond-upon-Thames.  

I've got major baby fever and it's not going away this time. I'm ready to be a mommy.
But WTF, I am totally NOT ready to be a mommy! I still eat kids cereal for crying out loud! And I watch The Hills and Gossip Girl. And I covet Prada heels and Marc Jacobs bags. These are not things a respectable mommy does, right?!?

I feel a bit useless at the moment and I want to go back to work in some capacity.
But the only things I'm passionate about are fashion and writing. And you may be shocked to find out that jobs in the fashion industry are not exactly in great supply in Raleigh, North Carolina, great city though it is. And I'm terrified to submit a manuscript to a publisher because I think rejection would crush me. And if all that weren't enough, I also really want to be a stay-at-home mom until our kids go to school. So, just to recap, I want to work but one of the jobs I want, I can't get and the other I'm terrified to do and I want to have a baby and be a full time mother.  Go me.

And so on and so forth like this. I'll spare you the rest. You're welcome.

And how do you think Jason handled all this? Well, first, he let me talk circles around myself and he let the tears roll and he didn't say a word the whole time. Because he knows that when I do this, I just want to get it all out and I don't want to hear solutions.  And that's why I love him.

Then, when he knew I was ready, he said that we only have about five more months here. And five years from now, when we're standing in a kitchen covered in Spaghetti-O's and the kids are screaming and the house is strewn with toys, we're going to look back on this time and fondly remember the lazy Saturdays spent picnicing on the green or cycling through Richmond Park or strolling through the back streets of a beautiful European city.

So basically, live for the now while we can. Don't worry about things that don't matter today. Just enjoy. Don't simply exist.  Live.  And that's why I love him.

All this brought to mind another Mraz song - Live High.
I try to picture a girl through a looking glass
And see her as a carbon atom
See her eyes and stare back at them
See that girl as her own new world
Though her home is on the surface she is still a universe

Glory God, oh God is peeking through the blinds
Are we all here standing naked, taking guesses at the actual date and time
Oh my, justifying the reasons why
Is an absolutely insane resolution to live by

Live high, live mighty
Live righteously
Taking it easy
Live high, live mighty
Live righteously

Just take it easy and celebrate the malleable reality
Because nothing is ever as it seems
This life is but a dream

Live high, live mighty
Live righteously, taking it easy
Live high, live mighty
Live righteously

And if I may return to Unfold for a moment:
My hands are high
And I'm holding on
Holding on
And I figure that I just might make it

Crisis averted.


andrea said...

Oh Heather, I so feel you. And I had baby fever and look what happened? Finn did! And while he made the ability to stay in London and travel more difficult, you adjust and know you wouldn't change it for the world.

And while I am SO ready to be back in a house, deep down a part of me will miss London.

But not enough to turn down a dryer, dishwasher and yard :)

You will figure it all out, I have faith in you!

andrea said...

Oh, and I totally watch The Hills and Gossip Girl. I just do it while feeding the all works out!

beth said...

Oh man I wish you had called. All topics that have come up in this little apartment this week (minus the yard part, I hate yardwork)! Though I'm totally down with being a Marc Jacobs mamma. ;)

geo said...

This is beautiful, Heather. You have put into written words the feelings of many women -one of them being me- often experience. It just shows that we are not alone in our madness! Hats off to Jason for being the wise husband he is.

Now, for some reason I thought you didn't want kids. Didn't you post something about that in the past? Am I getting confused? oh well, I'm so glad I was wrong. I think one day you will be one of the coolest mums ever!

Melanie said...

Oh Heather! You just simply rule! I just got back from my Jason Mraz adventure and feel so rejuvenated...much needed! I mean whoa...could his lyrics be any more amazing??? I go to him when I am in a funk and suddenly my world becomes a better place :). Glad you do the same :)!

Melanie said...

Oh and duh...I miss you.

Melissa said...

Hey Heather! I've been lurking instead of posting lately-sorry! Things have been busy with a crappy pregnancy and now a brand new baby girl! She's a week old and I'll have pics on my blog as soon as I can find time to do so. I'm sure it will help your baby fever to see my beautiful baby girl in her adorable clothes and cute "huge flower on the top of her head" headband....oh my gosh, it's so fun dressing a girl after 2 boys!

If it makes you feel better, I still eat Captain Crunch most mornings and I love to watch America's Next Top Model. Ethan will even watch it with me. I still realize sometimes, "Holy crap! I'm a mommy to 3 kids!" I still feel like I just got out of college. I don't know how all of this happened so quickly! And as much as I LOVED my teaching career, I don't know that I'll ever go back to it because I love being with my kids so, so much more. It's 100 times the reward that it ever was teaching other kids. I just make sure I keep my photography hobby/business on the side so I get to escape from them once or twice a week or I'd go insane at times!

Good luck-I still love reading over all your adventures and am a bit envious! I sometimes wish we'd get surprise orders to Lakenheath, England or to Germany so we could do some of the traveling you've done!

Suze - Manchester UK said...

Oh my gosh - this post rings so true for me too.
I want to leave my job but can't because it pays too much. It's soulless and upsets me on a regular basis. I work from home so the only people I speak to are clients who never seem to have anything nice to say to me. I sometimes don't leave the flat for a week and as a result I sometimes fear going outside in case people are horrible. Sometimes I even have to cancel things because I end up too panicked to leave the flat and can't calm myself down.
I want to go home every time the leaves turn brown after a disappointing 'summer' with no beach. I feel homesick, but last time I visited Australia I felt like a tourist with a weird accent. In short, I don't know what I want in life. I'm not glad you're feeling like this, but at least it confirms that other people don't have it all sussed out either.. big hugs for such a brave post!

Steph said...

hang in there! :)

Alice said...

Wow. I read your blog often, but have never commented. I'm a friend of Andrea's back in Atlanta. But I had to comment this time because this entry really spoke to me. Beautifully written. I have no doubt you'll figure it all out. And when you do - could you clue in the rest of us?

Susan said...

Hi Heather,
I used to work with you at S&R and I've been checking up on your blog for a while now. I just had a baby in December so I've also been wrestling with a lot of these same issues.

Anyhow, I think you should definitely submit a manuscript to a publisher. Your blog is much more entertaining and well-written than most other blogs and even some books. Go for it! You've already got an audience as the above comments attest.


Heather said...

Thanks to everyone for all your comments. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who has no idea what she's doing half the time :)

Beth N said...

Oh honey... you have voiced the concerns of every woman I know. Just do what I do... down 2 margarita's and worry about it tomorrow ;)

Ps. the above make your little "word verification" rather difficult. FYI.

Aunt Sandy said...

Better way late than never. I am an almost 46 year old Mommy and I STILL eat kid's cereal. All I've got to say is you've got one wonderful sensitive hubby there. He's a keeper.
You are a wonderful writer. SUBMIT a manuscricpt! Be a stay at home Mom. HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO!!!!
Aunt Sandy