A Quiet Heart In A Loud Life
This year has been a whirlwind and it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop any time soon.
A year ago, I was quietly clunking away at the first chapters of my book during Baby G’s nap times, and once a week I’d head up to San Jose for an improv class. Life was, for the most part, quiet. Baby G wasn’t talking yet. I didn’t have a lot of friends. I spent a lot of time in my own thoughts.
I think I was bored, although I didn’t have the courage to admit it then.
Then somewhere, somehow, my engagement with improv blew up overnight. Now, I’m doing it four nights a week, and I love every moment of it. I’ve said “yes” to every improv opportunity that has come my way in the last year, and it’s been a blast. But the trade-off is that now dinners are scarfed down with my husband as we quickly rehash our days for each other before I have to jet to San Jose for practices more nights than not. We haven’t had a weekend night at home in ages. We are a month behind on our favorite shows.
That little book I wrote during Baby G’s nap times has has piqued the interest of a few publishers, and I’m giddy. I’ve been on this publishing roller coaster long enough to know that I’m in for many more ups and downs, but right now, the the high feels intense and good.
My husband’s work has been a cyclone of stress and change, early mornings and late evenings and emails typed on iPhones at midnight and I don’t see that changing in the near future.
My two-year-old is turning into a teenager before my eyes. Yesterday she reached the pedals on her tricycle for the first time. Then she ran to grab her “Easter bonnet” and jumped back on the tricycle, and proudly told me to “take my picture and send to Daddy.”
LIFE DOESN’T STOP. I love the change, the excitement, the possibilities of new opportunities and growth… But a tiny, tiny part of me misses being bored. I feel like I’m on this really fast train, and I don’t even know where I’m going yet. I love the ride. It’s exhilarating. But sometimes I peer over the edge and I’m like OMG THAT GROVE OF PRETTY TREES I USED TO SIT UNDER IS NOW A BLUR.
I feel at war with my own self. I simultaneously crave a fast-paced life and a life of retreat and solitude and long slow breaths.
Tell me I’m not the only one…
Maybe there is a way to find that solitude in the crevasses of the madness. I’m figuring this out very clumsily. I love the hustle. Maybe a quiet life isn’t what I need, but a quiet heart in a loud life. Maybe it’s in a long slow breath taken at the red light of an intersection instead of getting in a move on Words with Friends. It’s in a disconnecting of the phone during those precious hours spent with family. Maybe it’s cancelling on an obligation every once in a while to connect with my life partner, or even just to watch Netflix in our sweats. I know that it isn’t found in checking my email a thousand times a day for publishing news. But maybe it is found in watching my girl on the tricycle, soaking up that moment without thinking of the future.
Here is what I wish I could tattoo on my wrist: Breathe. Live in the moment. AND TURN OFF THAT DAMN PHONE.*
*I don’t have enough space for all that, my wrists are disproportionately tiny to my body.