I love October. When it seems your entire life revolves around the month of September, the date of October 1st feels like heaven. Sure, there are lots of loose ends to tie up from our big event, but nothing that keeps me up at night. I am oddly finding times of pure silence or relaxation – which is great right? Right?
When you live a life for years running at full steam, the times of quiet can give an uneasy feeling. I am finding things to do of course. Lots of things I WISH I could have done are getting accomplished. I have thankfully found a new workout routine that seems to be getting me out of bed… and I’m addicted to it. I get to volunteer at my kid’s schools and get to know who their teachers are and who they run with on the playground. Time with friends and family are finding conversations not centered around marketing ideas, PR opportunities, race figures. Hell, I can even devote time to my (rightfully) attention starved husband. This is all good. But I find myself wondering, is this all there is to me?
Over the years of caring for a child you tend to feel that who you are becomes a bit lost. Before the big “C”, I was a project manager at LendingTree.com and actually really enjoyed my job. Sure, all jobs have something that drives you crazy, but I felt like I was learning and providing value to something that was cool and fun. My opinion mattered on subjects outside of soccer sign-ups and birthday party themes. I actually felt smart. But when things in your life suddenly change and you become a mom or a “Homemaker” (worst job title in history), you start to lose pieces of yourself and feel well, let’s face it.. Dumb.
I ask myself who I am now that these life changing events are behind me. Taking a good look at myself is hard. It seems like everything I am is centered around someone else. I am a mother. I am a wife. I am a friend. I am a daughter. I find myself looking at a blank piece of paper and struggling to write something down that is who I am. I can easily blame myself for this because I have built myself up as “Isabella’s Mommy”. A title I take very seriously.. but once again centered around someone.
Sometimes I wonder if it is because I don’t have a job? I know, I know.. I am President of the Isabella Santos Foundation. Which at times is a REALLY COOL JOB. It’s a job I am very proud of, but it’s also a job that at times can be very unhealthy for me. My therapist says that after the race is over that I need to find out who I am. Hmmm.. that sounds like it might be fun. But unfortunately life takes over and whatever I once spent my hours doing is now filled with other stuff that isn’t really about me either.
Is that what being a Mother is all about? Giving up yourself for others? Not really being anyone when you are standing alone?
All people tell me is that I should take time for myself. Make myself the number one priority for a bit. Once I’m above water, then and only then will I be better for others. But life isn’t that way. Life is about trying to shove 15 pounds of shit in a 10 pound bag. We are trying to do everything we can during the hours we have each day and very rarely is that spent on really improving ourselves.
I feel like when I take a step back and look at what I’m doing its constantly trying to achieve some work/life balance. Work/life balance is an urban myth if you ask me. I find that everything in my life is an apple that is ready to fall of the tree. The house is in shambles, try to get things in order here. But then when you do that, your son starts having issues because he’s not getting the attention he needs. So you try to spend quality time with him to reel him in and while you are doing that, your daughter clogs the bathroom toilet. While you are unclogging it, your husband is calling to chat but you can’t grab the phone. You get distracted answering emails and checking in with your mom and then it’s off to after-school activities and a rushed dinner and bath before the kids lay down for the night. Your husband comes home and asks why you didn’t call him back and just wants to know about your day. When really your day was just a series of catching apples before they fell to the ground. He then wants your attention as you clean up the house for the third time today and then you fall asleep at 9:30. Alarm jolts you up for the bus at 6:15 am. Does this sound like anyone else’s day?
Now I’m not saying I’m constantly on the run for others. Did I get to have a glass of wine last night with a girlfriend? Yes. Did I watch an episode of Orange is the New Black? Yes. Will I get a pedicure this week? Damn right. Not sure if that is making me who I am.. maybe just giving me nice looking toes.
I keep telling myself that maybe it’s time for me to go back to work. Maybe I need something that forces me to stop doing all this nonsense or apple catching throughout the day. Ideally, I would love to write and actually get paid for it. But that too seems like an urban myth. It seems that it is all a game of who you know.. who has time for that? I know, write the book right? Does anyone realize what a daunting task that is? The fear of failing on the book is preventing me from starting. How silly. My fear is that in the quest to find myself I will go out and get some part-time job at Tory Burch or something… someone stop me.
So in closing.. how does one find themselves? How do they bring meaning to their life when it seems so empty and lost? How do you figure out how to write characteristics of yourself on a piece of paper without them being centered on others? Seems like all my questions are revolving around urban myths, the fear of failing and Tory Burch. And that’s never a good thing.