As I write this I’m eating one of my recent baking projects – the most delicious cinnamon rolls I have ever had. Actually, I’m eating my third delicious cinnamon roll. Of the day.
I baked them over the weekend and I only ate two in one day before having a dream that I got really fat from eating all my baking. I’ve been baking a lot. I’ve also been rediscovering that I LOVE to bake. This is not working for me and my husband’s waistlines, but forget that. It’s a revelation of self.
I haven’t written in a long time for a variety reasons, but not for lack of ideas. It’s just that there is a line for me about what is truly personal and what is either worth sharing or just too funny not to write about. Also, I have suffered from months of carrying around a mental weight that made it hard to be creative, and also hard to find the energy to do something like writing. Writing is another thing I find satisfying, so you’d think I’d want to do it no matter how stressful life may be. But it’s exactly the opposite. The more stress we have (or rather, I have) the more likely I am to push off doing things that make me personally happy or satisfied because I don’t think I have time for them.
Two important things have happened in the last couple months that have turned this tide back for me. First off, my husband and I sold a house in Chicago that we built on spec starting in 2007. That’s right. Four, almost five, years ago. Pre-economic collapse, pre-real-estate-bubble-burst. Through either sheer stubborness, naivete or straight-up foolishness – and maybe a little bit of all three – we clawed our way through to finishing the house and getting it sold after four years of extreme stress. In retrospect we were living at a level of stress that could only be classified as Olympic qualifying. But you know how it is. Things get worse gradually and it’s only when the thing is absent that you realize just how bad it was.
So that’s done.
The other big thing is that starting in the new year I am working part time. Three days a week. Which means a four-day weekend every week. Aside from high school, I’ve never had a part-time job. Never even envisioned a part-time job. I come from a long line of hardworking people so I guess I had assumed a sort of all-or-nothing viewpoint. You wouldn’t believe the knot I had in my stomach about approaching my partners with this idea. But it turns out they were fine with it because I was severely abusing our “let’s all work and still have a life” policy as it was. This change to an actual part-time schedule was just an acknowledgement that I suppose they appreciate and relieves me of guilt.
What I didn’t expect was that it would cause me to do some re-examining of my identity. I’ve always been proud of working. I like working. I just didn’t realize how much I defined myself by it until it took up less hours of my week. Maybe it’s overly analytical, but I am still kind of reshaping my way of thinking of myself. While that goes on in my subconscious, however, I am finding that working part time is totally AWESOME. I mean, my house isn’t magically perfectly clean, but it’s a hell of a lot better. I have a planned time to grocery shop at a time of day that is both quiet at the grocery store and does not involve me being exhausted or rushing to get it done. I’m doing better at keeping up with the laundry (which wasn’t that big of a problem because Chad does the bulk of it). But here’s the biggest difference – I’m about 100 times more relaxed on Sunday night.
I didn’t realize how much pressure I was putting on myself to get the house cleaned up and the ducks in a row on Sunday because once Monday hits it’s madness and then I can’t keep up. Nope. Instead I can do some picking up in the morning just to get things cleared up, but then I can relax knowing that on Monday morning the big girls will leave and I’ll be able to get life in order. Subsequently, getting the girls out the door Monday morning is also less harried. For me, it’s an incredibly freeing feeling to know I will have two days in the week to run errands or do things at home that A) won’t have to be squeezed into the weekend because B) I know I will have a day to get whatever it is done instead of figuring out which lunch hour or after-work timeframe I can use to squeeze it in.
Between selling the Chicago house, working part-time and reassessing my core identity I’ve discovered that I like doing crafts. Well… truthfully, becoming addicted to Pinterest helped me discover my heretofore unknown love of crafts. All the other stuff helped give me the energy and time to do them. So far I’ve baked my brains out, re-covered the bench in my hallway, made cute clipboards for teacher gifts and am in the process of making a cell phone holder out of an old lotion bottle. Oh yeah.
Here are a few snaps of my crafty endeavors:
At our house 2012 is what we think of as our rebuilding year. This is true in so many ways. It’s also a good reminder that you never can know what’s around the next curve it the road, but whatever it is, if you make the best of it and keep moving forward you’ll be alright.