Here we are, in mid-October, during my very favorite time of year. The air is chilly, and the sky is gray and acts to insulate us all. Washington DC is beautiful and cozy before winter arrives. Autumn has always been a refresh for me. It's back to school season, even though I'm not going back. It's a time when I begin to feel creative and more like myself, and after a very challenging period, I can't be more glad that this wonderful time of year has arrived.
After being diagnosed with Post-Partum Depression, I allowed myself the summer to indulge in letting go. I took away the pressure to feel obligated to attend social events, to kill myself at work, to overbook, over scheduled, and really, do much more than spend weekends hanging out with Teddy at the pool. I allowed myself the time to read, and to begin to find the things that I enjoyed before becoming pregnant, but I didn't force it, and I didn't try to do it all at once. Little by little, I have found a new version of myself that makes sense for where I am in my life. For ten years as a professional, and as far back as high school, I was happy to work 60, 70 hours a week, to dig in, and to try to be more, be bigger, do better. For the first time in my life I'm actually focusing on the now, instead of the could be. Of all the things about parenthood I didn't anticipate, this might be one of the best discoveries.
Not this summer. L and I arranged our schedule so that we each had a sleep-in day on the weekend, where I could read the New York Times in bed - a pleasure that had moved passed sinful, to impossible only a few months ago. I scaled back on my workouts and finally decided to not run the half marathon I am signed up for. This has led to a renewed sense of pleasure in running. I'm working for the pure pleasure of it - which I know may sound crazy - but instead of killing myself and being irritated, I'm scaling back on my world-domination goals, and really focusing on my immediate tasks, and on being a really great manager. With downsized goals, I'm finding that a lot of the pressure I tended to put on myself is melting away. As the weather is cooling, I have rediscovered cooking - something that I greatly enjoy, but had put aside for the practicality of getting everyone fed. I am devouring books in the evening. Ladies and gentlemen, I have pulled out the beautiful sweater I started knitting before the 2012 election, and I am nearly finished! I'm staying up past 10pm to watch Top Chef again! I am writing. I am rediscovering the little pleasures that my days more rich.
And as I've found myself in a more grounded, balanced place, I find that it is enhancing my family life. I feel more connected to L, and I'm better able to be a good partner to him. I am engaged and feel enriched by watching Teddy learn and explore the world. I have a new-found patience that I'm not sure I would have discovered, had I not gone through the experiences of the past year. It's said that everything happens for a reason, and while I don't wish my depression on anyone, it has led to a renewed prioritization, and though it's not in my nature to think small, it might be that I needed to learn to live in the moment for this next phase of my life. I no longer see this as giving up, but as a time for growth and conserving of energy for what comes next.