What I Want

Thank you all for commiserating with me over my spilt milk and horrible morning. That day was rough. I still have the fiery sore throat I woke up with on Wednesday, and I haven’t had more than five hours of broken sleep any night this week, so I’m definitely running on fumes, but today is Friday and I think I’ll make it through.

So, I’ve mentioned before that life has really settled down in the last month. Monito sleeps well, Osita is less volatile (she still has her moments, but they are fewer and farther between). Mi.Vida and I have fallen into a rhythm that works well enough for both of us. He does mornings with Osita (his parents pick up Monito before she gets up) and then loads the dishwasher and cleans up the kitchen before bed. I pick up Monito from my in-laws’ house, do laundry and straightening up with him at home before I pick up Osita from school. Then I get him to bed and get Osita fed before Mi.Vida comes home. We all hang out together for a bit, then Osita and I do some intense “wrassling” on the our bed and finally I get Osita ready to eventually fall asleep sometime after 10:30pm (WTF?!) for bed. Sometimes Mi.Vida and I will spend 30 minutes to an hour on the couch, eating dinner and hanging out, after Osita finally stops calling us into her room every five minutes and settles for playing with her dolls/belting Frozen songs at the top of her lungs/making forts until super late goes to bed. Then I finish some laundry, do some more clean up (or think about cleaning up), pump, lay out my clothes for the next day, and barely crawl under the covers before passing out.

That is pretty much our life. It’s kind of hectic and runs us a bit ragged, (and we feel quite bedraggled most of the time), but it’s our life, and it’s a good one.

Now that I’m out of the crazed fourth trimester and back at work, I’m trying to figure out how to carve out some small spaces for myself. It’s funny, how I wanted this all so much, and now that I have it, I’m not sure how to protect myself from it, to make sure I don’t get lost in the demands of my children and my marriage and my job. Everyone wants so much of me, I have to determine what I, myself, want. And then I have to figure out how to make it happen.

I know it’s going to be hard, to preserve the pieces of myself that motherhood threatens to chip away. I know it will be hard to make myself a priority, to find the time to dedicate to the things that are important to me. What I didn’t foresee, was how hard it would be to actually determine what I want to do.

Back when I was being killed slowly by struggling with disordered eating I read a book that ended up being the first real game changer for me. One of the tenants of the book was that you were supposed to eat what you wanted to eat. Always. You weren’t supposed to eat what you thought you should eat, or avoid what you didn’t think you should eat, but instead you were always supposed to eat whatever you were craving. The idea was that if you didn’t eat what you wanted, you’d end up eating more of other food, in an attempt to fulfill that longing. In the end, you’d probably do more damage trying to avoid whatever it was you were craving, than you would have done just eating it, and you still wouldn’t be satisfied!

At first I was skeptical. Surely if I succumbed to my cravings I would quickly (and spectacularly) spiral out of control. I couldn’t trust myself when it came to food and I didn’t think I could adhere to this cardinal rule of eating what I craved.

But I made myself try, because at that point, I didn’t have much to lose. I already felt out of control. I was absolutely at my breaking point. I was reading the book and making changes because the ways I was doing things weren’t working. I was going insane.

So I did it. Or I tried to. What I quickly figured out was that knowing what I really wanted to eat did not come easily to me. There were so many moments when I sat at the kitchen table, trying to tease out what I really wanted from all the suggestions floating around in my head. It took months of practice to get good at determining what I really wanted to eat. It took even longer to let myself eat those things without feeling guilty. It took longer still for me to believe that it was actually working, even when all the evidence made clear that it was.

I’ve never forgotten that, how hard it was for me to learn to listen to, and really hear, my cravings. By the time I read that book, my relationship with food was so disordered that I had to retrain myself to understand my own signals. The fact that, on a daily basis, I might not know what I wanted was so insane to me; it was like I had lost track of a fundamental part of myself.

Now I find myself in a similar predicament. At this, the cusp of happily ever after, I can’t seem to determine what will make me happy. I don’t know what I want. I’m not sure what might fulfill me. I’m uncertain where I should invest my precious time. It’s frustrating to have the drive to invest in myself and not be sure what investments I should make.

So I guess that is it. I’m not sure what more I need in my life to make me feel fulfilled. I have this incredible foundation–all the things I always wanted are here–and I’m determined to enjoy this incredible life I’ve been given. But I know that I need more. I know I need to challenge myself intellectually. I know I need to build skills that I enjoy employing. I know I need to make connections with others, to build and maintain community. I know these things are important to me, but I have no idea how to manifest them in my life. I don’t know how I want to incorporate them into my already saturated schedule. I don’t know what I want to actually DO to make them a reality.

And I don’t know how to figure it out.

How do you determine what you want? Do you ever find it hard to do?

7 responses

  1. I have no idea what I want. None. I’m still so focused on finishing up our family (baby #3) that I dint even think about this. And honestly, because I just don’t know. Just like I dint know what I’ll do once my kids,are all on school. Go back to work? If so, doing what I did, or something different? Stay home to run the kids all around and volunteer at school? Establish new relationships with new friends? I just have no idea.

    B asked me a LONG time ago what I want to do, who I want to be. I couldn’t answer him. I still can’t.

  2. YES. Someone once commented on my blog…”Ana, what makes you happy? Do more of that.” And its stuck with me because over a year later I still haven’t completely figured it out. I always feel like I’m striving for more…I’m not quite sure where the endpoint is…when I’ll feel I have and I’m doing enough. I have a ton more to say but need to get back to work, will be back…

  3. I have some vague ideas about what I want, mostly involving taking a nap and spending 15 minutes uniterrupted reading or playing a video game. Beyond that, no idea. I want a job when I’m done with school, doing something or other that they pay me to do. It’s a favorite hobby to ask 3rd year pharmacy students where they want to work (community or hospital) and I have no idea and I’m OK with it. When the next thing I want presents itself, I’ll be ready to leap at whatever it is. For now I’ll stick with my holding pattern.

  4. It’s incredibly difficult to know what you want at any given juncture, never mind when you’ve finally achieved something that has been in your head and your goal for so, so long! Once you hit that milestone, where do you go? I can relate to this post a lot. I just got out of a long-term relationship, and defining what I want and how to get it is so much more difficult than I ever imagined. But I have utter faith that once you know what you’re going for, you’re going to get there with STYLE 🙂

  5. I have a lot of thoughts on this post and the eating analogy and I’m not even sure how to write it all out. Related: I have no idea what I want to do with my life.

  6. Ah, if only we knew what we wanted. I’m still trying to figure it out. And I think I’m at peace with that, and expect that I’ll still be trying to figure it out (and hopefully experimenting with stuff) at 75!

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