I’ve never really had this luxury before. This space to move my work and life back and forth along a continuum. One giving way when the other needs more, the whole bar shifting back and forth at will. Not so much giving up one when the other needs more than it’s share. It’s not, of course, all or nothing. Nothing really ever is. It’s more prioritizing. Subconsciously. A little less work so that family can expand as it needs to. And, always, vice versa. It’s not giving up writing while kids are sick or abandoning my computer when I feel the pull to nest or snuggle in with my people. And it’s not giving up time with their sweet faces in front of mine or missing the feel of their arms wrapped around me when the words are tumbling out and need to find their way to a blank page. It’s a flex. A give and take. It’s a focus on the things that matter and a momentary farewell to the things that are wonderful and fulfilling in normal times but must always be the first to shift when the winds change.
Family has needed me more lately. Or, maybe more to the point, I’ve needed it more. Needed them more. I worry, a little, that this is it for me. This pull to the world of tending and nesting and preparing our home day in and day out, I worry it is consuming me. Intoxicating me with it’s way. The way our mornings run more smoothly when I’m present in our home rather than burying my head in my laptop. The way the evenings feel warmer when I’m lighting candles and cooking to the soundtrack of living room playtime rather than checking my email and jotting down notes for ideas and articles. The way I’d much rather curl up on the couch at night, wrapping his arms around me, than layering sweatshirts to keep warm in my cold office. Yes, I’m falling in love with home and the simpler life of just loving my family. And I worry that this spells the end, the absolute last call, of productive work time and the career driven life that I used to pursue with feelings of pride. I worry that my life has been headed in this direction for years and it’s just now pulling into the station.
Of course, I’ve always preferred to end my year this way. Slower. Calmer. Focused more inward than out. Call it the first chill in the air that sends me burrowing deep inside. I used to think of it as the exhaustion of a year gone by. I’m tired in November. I’m fulfilled, satisfied with the year. No more big plans. Let’s just make a graceful exit. Even when career drove me from day to day and month to month and year to year, I’d still seek slow as the leaves began to fall. No new projects, please. No new work. Let’s just coast to the finish line.
That is the way it’s always been. So maybe I have nothing to worry about. Maybe January will come, as it does, in with it’s newness and freshness and I’ll look at that blank slate and plan a year of goals and work and I’ll sit here with renewed energy, my fingers flying fast. Maybe I’ll be ready to recommit again to my words. Allow home to shift a little so that work can expand again. That’s the way it usually happens. So maybe I have nothing to worry about.
Maybe I’m just feeling my way through this more luxurious life. Adjusting to the freedoms that I didn’t have before. I like to think it’s only natural, the pulls themselves are natural and my responses to them should be as well. Knowing when to give in, let the shift happen or help it along versus when to resist, keep everything in its place, that will come with time. Maybe I’m getting there.