This blog was born eight years ago today!
The timing strikes me as funny because as we wrapped up 2019, there was a lot of talk about “the past decade.” In November and December, I saw a lot of posts on social media that said things like, “THERE ARE ONLY SIX WEEKS LEFT IN THIS DECADE… HOW WILL YOU MAKE THEM COUNT?!?”
Which was awesome because that time of year doesn’t have enough stress built in; it was nice that people wanted to help nurture those roots of anxiety. 😒
Being as I had barely “made the previous ten years count” – all I had done was RAISED HUMAN BEINGS – that felt like a lot of catching up to do in just six short weeks.
So, I did what I always do in late November-early December:
- Shopped for holiday gifts.
- Spent time in the kids’ classrooms.
- Wrapped 138 presents.
- Shopped some more
- Ate candy. (A lot.)
- Baked cookies (Not a lot because I’m not great at baking but the kids think it’s fun).
- Went to holiday concerts and parties.
- Shopped some more.
- And then, as usual, I watched Love, Actually while I wrapped the last of the presents. (Obviously, I cried at the end when the little boy jump’s into Liam Neeson’s arms at the airport and they spin and hug. If you don’t cry at that part, you’re a robot.)
And then guess what happened? New Year’s Eve rolled right into New Year’s Day, as it always does, and now it’s 2020 and there’s a whole new decade during which you can make things count. Yay time passing!
Why isn’t anyone making memes that scream, “YOU HAVE TEN YEARS (minus nine days) IN THIS DECADE… HOW WILL YOU MAKE IT COUNT” right now? This would be much less stress-inducing than all those posts in December. Granted, it wouldn’t be particularly motivating either, as that’s a LOT of time. Most people would probably just think, “Eh, I’ve got plenty of time. I think I’ll procrastinate a bit… until like 2024 or 2028.”
Staring into the abyss of a new decade, I’ve been thinking about what it looks like to “make it count.” What does that mean? What counts? Does keeping up on laundry count? Does reading/listening to audiobooks count? How about drawing/coloring? Because if those three things count, I am ON FIRE in this decade so far.
It’s more than that though, right? Probably something like “having a meaningful impact on the world.” OK, but what does THAT mean? Am I doing that now? I’m certainly having a meaningful impact on my kids’ worlds… although whether it’s a positive impact or a therapy-inducing impact remains to be seen.
I joked about barely making the previous decade count but 2010-2019 was pretty kid-centric for me. At the start of 2010, I had a four-year-old, a two-year-old and a newborn. I barely even remember 2010-2014. The whole decade could be summed up with just a bunch of words: tantrums, snacks, laundry, exhaustion, carpools, homework and “can we have dessert?”
I launched this blog exactly eight years ago smack in the middle of that foggy time because my head was spinning with anxiety and boredom and sleep deprivation and writing things down was a way to make my brain a little less swirly.
Also, because everything I was reading about parenting at the time was pretty rose-colored. “Kids are blessings and you should enjoy every minute” and blah blah blech. Sure, my kids were great, but they were also driving me CRAZY. So, I wrote about that.
And then as soon as I could say “Publish this post,” (actually, I wouldn’t say it because this was pre- Alexa days… I would actually have to click the “Publish” button) I would start hearing from other parents, usually on the path leading into the preschool where I lived at the time, saying “SAME SAME SAME that’s my life, too!”
The misery of preschoolers’ parents definitely loves equally exhausted company.
I did a few other things as well: with the help of friends and family, I wrote a book about my Dad; we travelled to England, Ireland, Mexico and Alaska (I found a way to effectively deal with my fear of flying, which was huge… spoiler alert: it’s drugs) and I became more politically aware and active than I have ever been before. But for the most part, it was the decade of child-rearing.
Now, a NEW decade lays out (lies out? Is laid out?) in front of me with a million optional paths. But they’re all kind of blurry. And it’s unclear which path will lead to MEANINGFUL IMPACT – for the world or for myself.
Is it the get a job path?
Write a book path?
Find a way to make the hours I spend on doodly drawings worthwhile somehow?
Learn how to play piano?
Take more walks?
Spend more time outside?
The right answer is probably “all of the above.”
I would like to look back in 2029 and think, “Nice job, kmac. Look at what you’ve done. You really made it count.” (I actually don’t talk to myself that way, but maybe if I accomplish all of the above, I will?)
So, it’s time to get hiking.
Of course, in the meantime, I’m fine with a slow amble on the only definitive path* for now:
Continue raising the human beings. They’re not finished yet.
Oh, and also, learn the proper usage of lay vs lie.
What does “making it count” look like for you? Goals for the decade? When will you start? How about now? NO PRESSURE. You have ten years.
Happy 8th Birthday, Who Needs a Nap? ME.
*I really took that path metaphor too far. I’m sorry for that.