Resolutions? Ugh.

This is a natural time of year to re-evaluate and check in with yourself about your life and your goals.  I’m feeling especially eager (and apprehensive) about doing it this year because I’m in the midst of such enormous personal changes.

A so-called “virtual” friend of mine recently posted about her 5-year plan for things she would like to learn or experience by her 40th birthday.  This hit home for me since I will also be 40 in just 5 short years.  I feel like time is sort of slipping through my fingers and I’m not making much progress with my life.  I think about everything I want to do, and I just feel totally overwhelmed.  Some days I’m on a high and I feel like “Hey, why CAN’T I become an expert at X and revolutionize ideas about process Y?  Why not?  Let’s do it!!!”  This unbridled enthusiasm is usually quickly eclipsed by intense fear, fatigue, anxiety, and the nagging feeling that I’ll never be good at anything.  In my head, I start and stop several different career paths/projects/ideas in a 24-hour time period.  I feel exhausted by the thrash of this internal churn, to the extent that I just don’t want to even try anything again ever.  I feel too old and tired to start over.  I feel afraid that I’ll throw myself into something again, and that despite my passion, dedication, and drive, I’ll just fall short again.  I kind of don’t want to go through that.

I very clearly need to be busy.  I don’t do well with a lot of time on my hands.  And when I say this, I’m kind of doing myself a disservice because I currently DON’T have a lot of time on my hands.  I have a very, VERY active 20-month old and a curious 5 1/2 year old.  They keep me busy at all hours of the day (and night).  So technically speaking, I don’t actually have a lot of time on my hands now.  But what I’m talking about here is that despite being very busy with my kids, I am not being challenged in ways that nourish my soul.  I can go nearly an entire day without talking to another adult.  I’ve gone months without reading a book.  And I relentlessly compare all of this to my “old” life, where I was publishing articles, teaching students, and contributing SOMETHING.  Compared to this old life, I feel like a different person.  A person who I don’t like or respect.  I feel alien inside my body.  I feel like I am dying.

In those moments where I feel most detached and lost and unable to figure out my path, I get desperate.  I start grasping for the next big thing I’m going to do.  A couple of weeks ago I decided on a whim that i just needed to start applying for jobs again.  I thought maybe I’d try the job market out even though I don’t feel fully ready to send Emery to daycare full-time.  I thought I’d try this just because something needed to change.  And I have nothing to lose.  And things have been horrible, frankly.

So what am I going to end up doing?  I have started consulting on the side—so do I develop this consulting business more fully, or do I just take an off-the-shelf job?  To be successful with the consulting, I need to invest a lot of energy into marketing myself and making connections.  I just don’t know that I believe in myself enough to even invest the effort, honestly.  Where would the energy and stamina come from?  The drive and the desire?  It’s just not there.  For anything.

So do I come up with the same bullshit resolutions I always do, about exercise and being healthy, blah blah blah?  No, not this year.  In 2012, it was all about staying present and listening to my emotions.  In 2011, I gloated about how well I did in 2010, and how I didn’t need any new resolutions.  In 2009, we decided to stay in Vermont, and I thought that was resolution enough—to which I naively proclaimed, “It’s time to start my life.”

It’s been 4 years, and I still haven’t.


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