New Year’s Resolutions or Mid-life Crisis?

It’s the time of year when most take a look back at what they accomplished, or didn’t accomplish and make a plan to make the next year better. For the Santos Family, I know that we survived last year, which I consider an accomplishment. It seems like ever since Isabella became sick, my NYR was for someone to just survive – majority of time it was for her survival. So now that we survived another year, I wonder what is ahead for me in 2015 and should I even make New Year’s Resolutions?

This year we hit the 2-year mark since her death. Enough time had passed that I felt like I need to take steps to find out who I was again. While I continued to help the Foundation grow, I decided to take on a new endeavor by going back to work for the first time in 7 years. It seemed like the right thing to do because I felt my career tugging at my all those years that I was taking care of Isabella. I found myself furious with her sickness because I had put myself through college and had a career I enjoyed. I’m not sure if I would have continued full-time work with three kids, but I felt like I wasn’t given the choice. Being her caretaker took me away from who I really was inside. I felt like I lost who I was in those years because I had to become someone that I wasn’t destined to be.   So through the last 24 months I found myself searching for who I was again, without her.

I decided to go back and find Erin again. I began looking for a job and over the summer, stumbled across a part-time opportunity to go back to do technology consulting again. I jumped at the chance to fill my free time with becoming a contributing member of society and a contributing member to our household income. I love the freedom and satisfaction that a job brings because I feel like I’m in control of my own destiny in a way. The company was a small start-up consulting firm that allowed me to have flexibility and valued the impact I wanted to continue making on the side. Perfect.

In the last 3 month of this job I have had an awakening. I was waiting for this “ah-ha” moment of feeling like I have found my footing again. Yes. Yes. This is where I was meant to be before my world came crashing down. But instead it showed me something else. All this time, I had felt like her disease was taking me away from who I really was. In fact, it made me into who I was supposed to be. Sure, my job is fulfilling because I know I’m helping businesses achieve goals, yada yada yada. But, for a brief time in my life I was that girl I was destined to be and I didn’t even see it. It feels weird to me to do a job that isn’t saving a life or making a difference. Never in my life would I ever have thought that non-profit work was where my true heart would be.

I have talked to many people about it and realized that for a brief time period when I thought I was the unluckiest person in the world, I was really one of the lucky ones because I was where I was supposed to be. Not many people have careers that fulfill their “destiny”. Most people are punching a clock and bring money into their homes to pay mortgage and go on vacations. Kind of a sad thought really. All this time I spend pushing the Foundation and Isabella away so I can find myself – and it turns out to be the home I’m was looking for.

Ok. So it’s not a job that will make me feel like I’m settling into this new life. So what is it? Maybe it’s having another baby?

I know what you are thinking…. WHAT? First of all let me assure you all that I’m not pregnant. At least I hope I’m not as I’m on my second 90 Minute DogFish Head IPA.   I’m not sure where this itch has come from. I keep telling myself that I’m getting older and my window is closing. I feel that window closing so I tell myself that if I’m ever going to do it, I need to do it now. Do I want another baby? I go back and forth all the time when I see these movies with these families who get together later in life. They are these big families with brothers and sisters and grandchildren. I thought that this was going to be my life. 3 kids, 2 of who are daughters who never leave their mothers. But now I have 2. And we all know Mother’s lose their sons to the wife’s family. (Crossing fingers that Grant stays strong!) So all I will have is Sophia. And what if she gets into an accident one day and dies? What if she decides to be single the rest of her life or doesn’t have children? Where are all those Grandchildren that I will be taking to Disney when I’m older? You see where this is going here…

But I love my life with the kids right now. They can vacation, they can make a sandwich, and Sophia is starting Kindergarten next year. Do I really want to go back to diaper, naps, weight gain, sleepless nights. Not to mention half of my friends that will bail on me for good if I get knocked up. Who wants to be around a pregnant lady? I knew I had to make this decision soon.

And then it came to me in a dream. Clear as day. I decided that I was going to have a baby. But the voice in my dream told me. This child will never feel like a part of your family. They won’t know Isabella and they will forever feel like an outsider to her legacy. There are no pictures of Isabella with them, no memories of them together. This child will one day say, “Ugh.. not another Isabella story!” and roll their eyes as well tell another memory of her. I awoke the next morning with a sense of peace. That door is closed. For many families in our situation, it is something that fills a hole in their heart. But for us, it would not do that.

Where does this leave me? I have no idea. What I do know is that 2 big questions for me in my life have been answered in the last 3 months. So I guess my NYR is to figure out what the hell to do with those answers. I want to stay in my new job because it gets me back into the land of the living. And knowing that it’s not fulfilling my life’s purpose is okay. I’m not going to have a baby. (So party the year away right?) How else do I try to find myself in 2015? Or do I need be okay with not finding myself next year? Should I throw myself into writing again? Should I just help guide my family into who they should become? Do I just make NYR like the rest of the world? Okay. That’s what I’m doing.

So here are mine.

  1. Stay in shape. Enough already with the go hard/go home. Stick with it. You are getting older – keep it decent.
  2. Donate platelets once a month. (Already have my January in!)
  3. Figure out how to be better in my job every week.
  4. Do something with this Foundation. Turn it into something global or go home.
  5. Write ;
  6. Don’t be so closed off to new people. I oddly hate meeting new people. Change that.
  7. Spend quality time with my kids.
  8. Support Stuart in whatever he wants to do. He wants to manage a Starbucks? He wants to train killer whales? He wants to grow a beard? Great. Support it. Be patient with his goals.
  9. Do something in 2015 that I will always look back on and think, THAT was fucking amazing.
  10. Be okay with just being okay. Don’t feel like you need to figure out everything. Survive.

Wish me luck. Happy 2015.