MusingsAugust 6, 2021

42.

Well here we are, another year done, another on the brink. Last summer we were deep in a pandemic at my birthday and I had just given birth two months prior to Emma and so I was not a great place mentally.  Ok, let’s be honest- I was a hot screaming mess. So my birthday gift was a night alone in a hotel, and I learned that time alone truly is the best gift, especially when you are a busy working mom of two (and STILL in a pandemic!)  So I’m writing this from my hotel room again, about to check out, after a fun night out to dinner with close girlfriends and lots of laughs (but not much sleep because, well, wine hits you harder at 42!)  It felt almost like “normal” life again,  and it was the first birthday in 8 years where I wasn’t in an IVF cycle, pregnant or nursing. So I felt almost… free.

Almost.

I’ve mentioned this in passing on Instagram but I’ve been struggling a lot with the idea of true happiness lately. Trying to figure out what it is and means to me- as an individual, mother, boss, wife, friend.  We’ve all been given a lot of time in the past year to reflect on what we value most and what brings us joy, and while some have found clarity in that time, some also have felt confused and unsure. I have, for certain.  Andrew always tells me he thinks I don’t know HOW to be happy. That I really only know how to be busy and strive for the next accomplishment in hopes that THAT is what will make me deeply happy. And he’s right.  I think I wrap a lot of my sense of happiness up in achievements and goals instead of the process and path to those goals. And once reaching them, instead of enjoying the moment, I set the next one and start the cycle over again.  But have I ever really thought deeply and calmly about what exactly it is that makes me happy? Like, really happy?  I think I’ve confused achievement with happiness and my goal in year 42 of my life it to untangle that web and figure out how I can move through life with more genuine joy, peace and gratitude. And starting it off with friends, laughing over a great meal was the perfect start.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with being ambitious, not at all. I like that I strive for big things and I applaud it in others as well, especially women. But I need to make more room for calm. More room for silliness. Fun. Deep breaths and quiet moments unencumbered by the never ending to-to list in my brain and the guilt I constantly feel about one thing or another. And that’s not easy. And I guess technically it’s another “goal” I’ve set for myself- but this one is rooted more in self-awareness and health than success and work.

I do a pretty decent job at balancing work/motherhood and self care, I think. I leave work everyday at 4:30 to make sure I get a workout in before 5:30 when I go into “mom mode”. I’ve discovered that working out consistently, and pushing myself physically, helps ease my anxiety quite a bit. So I’ve been committed to that for the past 3-4 months and it has shown good results. So I do make sure I make that time 5-6 days a week- be it spinning, running, cardio classes, pilates, yoga…. something different every day. But I know I need to be more present with my kids and husband and really do better at letting go of all the nonsense I worry about and give them my 100% focus. I think between the time I make for myself alone and spending more quality time focused on them I can work towards figuring out my own path to being happier than I am.

Because let’s face it, I should be pretty damn happy.

I have everything I have ever wanted, and certainly everything I need, and yet something feels missing. And that’s a little scary, because I really have no idea what it is.  One of the ways I best work through feelings like this is to write, and so that’s why I’m here today, trying to get back to my writing (which I have not made time to do this past year) in hopes that it helps me figure things out and maybe helps you a little too.  It’s been a TOUGH year and a half, for some more than others, but this isn’t a time to compare hardships and play the (very unfair) game of “who has it worse”.  Because as one of my favorite quotes says : ” Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”.  We all have internal struggles, many of which we never share or let others see. I just happen to be the type to just put it all out there…. ;)

So here I go: 42. Time for more self-reflection, kindness, boundaries, confidence, focus, love, sweat, tears, laughs and lots and lots of love. More love, always.

Thanks for listening. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

XO,
Erin

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