It’s a gray, rainy day here in Austin, Texas, but I’m wearing new red pants with bare ankles, so all is well! I have a few hours of downtime today between work gigs, so here I am with a life update.
Overall, life is good. Work is busybusybusy—I have a full roster of students, and I like working with them. Most of my students this semester are high schoolers, so I’m anticipating that when they go on spring break in March, I’ll have a slower week. When that happens, I’m looking forward to working on some content for my professional website. It’s been too long since I’ve posted anything over there. (But I do love my most recent post on what Cheryl Strayed and Wild taught me about tutoring. Honk honk—of course I toot my own horn!)
In light of my work, Paul has really stepped up his game at home. Not only does he do a lot of the dishes after our meals, he’s been turning our home into an art/engineering exhibit. A list of his projects this year: a hydroponic garden with a computerized lighting/watering system, a set of cubbies for our living room, and a remote-controlled power box for the strings of lights in our living room. He’s amazing. And in February, we celebrated two years together! What an adventure it’s been for us—the best.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about “big things,” like motherhood, authorship, and what my purpose in life is. Truthfully, I feel like Paul and I have been doing a big thing together this year, which is helping our roommate Courtney get back on her feet, financially and otherwise. In some ways, I feel very parental toward her, even though she’s a grown-up. Paul and I are older and more stable in life. Together, Paul and I have been able to use our financial stability to help Courtney. After being underemployed for seven-plus months, Courtney landed a job with a cool company called Legal Zoom in north Austin. She started working in January. Now, for anyone who hasn’t been unemployed or underemployed for an extended period of time, I can tell you that it’s a long, slow climb out of the unpaid bills that accumulate during unemployment. You go from having lots of time and no money to no time and no money as you start paying down those bills. So while Courtney works on her bills, Paul and I are keeping our house afloat, paying the rent each month and helping out as unexpected expenses pop up. Given our collective circumstances, I feel a lot poorer right now, but I also know that it’s absolutely the right thing to do.
Now that my career as a tutor seems to be stabilizing, I’ve had more mental bandwidth to start thinking about other big things in life, like having a baby and writing a book. I’ve been wanting to start working on a book for like two years now, but I’ve lacked whatever it takes to truly commit to a book project. I’ve had some false starts, but I’m wondering how I’ll know when I have an idea that’s good enough to nurture into full existence. Maybe I won’t know until the end, when I look back and say, “Yes! Now that is a book I am proud to have written.”
As for babies…I have never been more ambivalent about that possibility. And when I say I’m ambivalent, it’s not that I don’t care. It’s that I really want and don’t want a kid at the same time. I think of a line from Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert and I just know that I would have moments of parenthood like this:
The one thing nobody ever warned me about when I started having babies was this: Brace yourself for the happiest years of your life. I never saw that coming. The joy of it has been an avalanche.
And then there’s this tidbit, also from Committed:
Just go for it. It’s not that hard. You just have to push against all the forces that tell you what you can’t do anymore now that you’re a mom.
It probably says something about me that I’m more drawn to the “go for it!” quotes than the “it’s so hard” quotes. Because the truth is that I already know it’s hard. But is it what I want? Do I want motherhood to be one of my “big things” in life?
I don’t know. But I do know that I want to give birth to a book, so maybe I’ll focus my creative efforts on that one for a while. At least with a book I can put the project aside for a while and nobody will start screaming!
Happy day, friends.