Monday, December 31, 2007

A Simple (but not so easy) Resolution

This year I've set my sights on a single, yet profound new years resolution.

In 2008, I, Amy S., resolve to enjoy my life more.

Yes, that's right. I'm determined to enjoy my kids, my husband, my friends, my family, my professional life and life in general alot more than I do now. Problem is, I'm not quite sure how to go about this.

This idea came to me one hectic afternoon as I juggled a conference call for work while trying to keep my kids satisfied and occupied at home. My eight year old was blathering about something I couldn't quite keep up with, my four year old was "bored" and wanted me to help her figure out something "ta-do!" and the work call droned on and on as I prayed no one would ask me a question.

And it hit me -- what am I doing? What value am I adding to this chaos? And more importantly, what am I getting out of any of this?

My husband is the model for how one should live life. He has a great job that he loves. When he's at work, he's fully engaged, there 100% for his clients. But when he's home, he's on a mission to wind down and relax. He reads the newspaper, he veges out in front of the TV, he plays video games (he's enthralling our daughters with his latest Super Mario Wii game as I write this). He plans activities, outings and vacations -- an occasional concert or ball game, dinner with friends, a golf trip with the guys or a family trip to Disney (yes, I'm invited to most of these things). He has no qualms spending money on the things he enjoys and outsourcing the things he doesn't. He thinks about his pleasure activities almost as much as he thinks about work and, aside from an occasional golf outing with a client, he rarely mixes the two. He told me the other day that he couldn't be more content with his life.

The thing is, I'm not completely miserable. On paper, my life is great. But that moment that afternoon defined how I've been feeling this year -- on autopilot desperately trying to keep up. And while I don't hate my life, I'm not particularly enjoying it either. It could be a simple matter of allowing myself some activities I do enjoy -- an afternoon shopping at the mall, some quiet time to read a book, maybe even some time set aside to keep up with this blog. Or it could mean some more profound changes like paring down on work to be more present for the kids, connecting more with friends, or finding another kind of work that lights my fire more than what I'm doing now (another post for another day). I have a sneaking suspicion, it's a little bit of all of those things.

Just thinking about liking my life, about enjoying all or parts of my days is making me happier, more content. I hope this is one resolution I can figure out how to accomplish.


Jill said...

Amy, I know this comment really can't help you, exactly, but if you don't know, please feel assured that you are not alone in what you feel and are expressing. I've been there, I'm still a little bit there and I've been working very hard and in a very concerted way to do exactly as you're hoping to do - enjoy more.

It can be a very painful process to figure out why you feel the way you do - and I don't mean to get too deep or anything. But just to let you know, I finally was able to say outloud to my husband, that, after seven years of not being connected to any single direction of work, I hated - yes, I used the word hated - the fact that I had given up working as I had been before my last child was born.

Without boring you, I'll just say that once I realized that I'd been feeling guilty that being a mom wasn't enough for me and I accepted, and got my husband to accept, that this feeling had nothing to do with not loving being a mom, or wanting to be a mom, but rather had to do with my enjoyment in other things, I started to feel freed up to think about what I really enjoy and how to pursue those things.

It's been teeny tiny incremental steps. But if you're really willing to look at yourself, your relationships and so on, and give yourself TIME and space to just feel whatever feelings come up from this exploration, you will find that enjoyment. :)

Good luck. And don't stop expressing yourself.

Amy@UWM said...

Wow. Thanks for this, Jill. Good to hear from you again. Was just re-reading our lice exchanges from this fall. So glad we've left that behind (for now)!

I think I know what you mean. But I admitted to myself (and my husband) long ago that I needed to be more than a mom. I also learned along the way that there were parts of being mom that I do love. The trick is finding ways to make work (or advancing my professional self) and mom-dom work together. I'll blog about this more soon. Thanks for the encouragement!