Jumping off the Cliff of Uncertainty - (and discovering you can swim)

Last year, we started to realize that our current life was not working for us, and thus began a year long quest for a more workable arrangement. (And by that, I mean, I got so insanely stressed out that I got seriously, physically ill for months and months, and M went nuts trying to figure out how to help me and everybody quit their jobs with no real plan in place to deal with mortgage payments or water bills.)

When I was doing my annual reflection journaling for 2011 and 2012, I wrote out a bunch of lists of how I wanted to see my days go. Big ideas and little details, I put them all down on paper. Some serious, some silly. For instance, I really wanted to work in my community - to give back to the people I pass on the street every day or ride the bus with, instead of commuting to another place. I really wanted to return to my focus on literacy. I wanted a flexible schedule and to sleep in until at least 6am. I wanted to be able to pee during the workday. And wear yoga pants. I wanted to be able to pick up my kid from daycare when she had a fever without it turning into the Most Stressful Event Ever.

It took me 11 months, but yesterday I realized that I actually made it happen.

I was bouncing on my exercise ball in my little makeshift office (well, corner of my bedroom), happily typing emails and reading Common Core standards and brainstorming. Working. From home. In yoga pants. Until the phone rang and it was Laurel's teacher, calling to report that she was crying and had a fever of 101. So I picked her up and brought her home. Gave her a popsicle and read a story and put her to bed. Worked a little more and emptied my calendar for the next day.

It took me longer than I thought to figure all this stuff out. It didn't fall easily into place and there were some scary times in the past year where I definitely had trouble believing that it would all work out. As a result, I ended up interviewing for jobs while 7 months pregnant. Turns out, I'm not so alone in this. Pregnant women are seeking jobs in ever increasing numbers, and while a lot of them are not getting hired (and then filing discrimination complaints), it's becoming more common. More on that later.

For me, a big part of the process was reconciling my identity as a mother and as a professional. I realized my family required a lot from me...not just the in-person caregiver-type demands that I expected from motherhood, but also as a financial contributor to the household, and as a role model to my children by engaging in work I was passionate about. (I have a lot more to say about that, too. Later.)

Anyway, life isn't suddenly perfect. There's the whole broke sink/aging plumbing thing to contend with. Our chimney is falling down. A baby coming in 4-9 weeks (why is human gestation so imprecise?), and very little preparation done so far.

But, whatever. I'm happy. Life is good.

I just found this link to a workbook of journal prompts to guide reflection on the past year and plan for the year to come. If you are feeling a little lost, I swear this is a key step in figuring out what you are supposed to be doing with your life. Click the link! Click it! Fill it out, pick a word!

Unraveling the Year Ahead

Have fun!

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