Ugh. I’m doing it again.
This is the thought running through my mind while I wave goodbye to my husband and children as they go off to school and work. They love it when I come outside onto the porch and wave, watching them disappear out of the cul-de-sac and around the corner. I do it almost every day yet over time, what felt sweet and spontaneous sometimes feels like a chore.
I sat in my chair. Let’s just say goodbye here! Kisses and hugs, come on! Oscar complied and Calvin laid on my lap asking, can you PLEASE come outside and wave? Of course I can, my sweet boy. I lift my tired body up and walk outside.
Wheels turning, I watched them get smaller and smaller, picked myself up and shuffled back inside with each step taking me under a waterfall of what I am not and things I haven’t done. Ahh, yes. We are here again. I had hoped the break would be longer.
The whys come. Why don’t I have the drive she has? The drive I used to have? Why am I like this? Why don’t I care the way I should? Why can’t I get it together?
It makes sense really. The things I’ve built rose to the top, among them strong family bonds, lasting friendships, a flexible work environment, a place we can call home. It’s in a constant state of “progress” but that’s how I roll. As you may know, I’m also in a constant state of progress.
Read more: Becoming Mom
Yet, I move slower than I once did. Certain things don’t matter to me the way they used to. I’m finally ditching the boxes in which I do not fit and for a while, it felt amazing. Like a big middle finger to society and a culture that says a 39-year-old mom of two goes over here. Or a 45 year-old single woman goes over there. I backed off so many of my shoulds and coulds that I am truly becoming…just.
But this morning, just really feels like a four letter word again. The thoughts that I need more hustle, more consistency, more drive, more success, more more more, swirl around in my head all day. It’s a tightrope between inspiring and soul-sucking and at the moment, I’m not feeling inspired. I see my old boxes and remember the good about them, the parts that made me feel extraordinary and like I mattered. I start to wonder if I should bring them back inside.
I poured my coffee and ate my breakfast thinking of all the ways it should be healthier. I finished every last bite. Nothing can be with me, I remember. It should always improve. I am in a constant state of progress, remember? Or, I was. Now, I am just…..
The dirty dishes in the sink. The folded laundry on the playroom floor. The leather couch that is disintegrating and needs to be replaced after years of wear and tear. I’m the sigh when my kids ask me for something. I’m the sigh when I hear myself sigh. I’m the closed eyes begging for something to be right. I’m the half-done projects and the ones that never got started. I’m the dreamer who is too slow. I’m just…enough.
I’m uncomfortable outside my boxes. There were some good things in those boxes. I made friends, got jobs, tried new things and had a lovely time. There was also a lot of stress there; a constant tug saying to try harder, be more and stay relevant. It’s uncomfortable outside my boxes. That’s where I am.
What is Progress?
This is the struggle of change, when I know there is something better for me. Breaking away is the hard part, but staying away? That’s a completely different ballgame. It’s unfamiliar and scary. It can feel lonely. I’ve always looked to the next step. Where do I go from here? There is comfort in that but in this season, I need to be here.
Here, waving to the boys as they drive off to school. Here doing my best at my regular job with a team I love. Here, washing the dishes – or not washing them. Here laughing as much as I can and loving as hard as I can. Here just being myself, liking what I like and not worrying if others think I’m silly. Here being thankful for what I have while still feeling unsettled and unfinished. Here knowing there is room for both inside my complicated heart. Here loving and being loved.
I’m a work in progress. But progress doesn’t always look like movement. Sometimes progress is about steadying the ship. A moving ship that is constantly turning left and right might be in motion but it’s not getting anywhere. The captain needs a steady hand and a course knowing when to charge ahead and when to be still.
Right now, it’s the time to be still.
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