I love going to lunch with friends, catching up on all the good (and difficult, and crazy) things in our lives and spending an hour or so having a genuine heart-to-heart chat. In that spirit, if you and I went to lunch today, this is what I would tell you (this post idea is blatantly hoisted from Nilsa over at SoMi Speaks, btw):
I would complain about the pollen and my insane seasonal allergies and the cost of prescription strength (but not covered by my insurance) medication. I love the springtime blossoms, but I love the rainy days even more because it keeps the pollen on the ground where it belongs and not in my nose, eyes, throat, and sinuses. I may also tentatively suggest that winter stick around just a little longer; I hate the heat, am no fan of the sun, and definitely don’t mind snuggling up with some peppermint tea and a good book.
I would gush about how much I am enjoying my job. It’s not something I thought I’d get in to, or stick with for so long, but after 4 years I am dedicated and invested and I really love it. I have consistently asked for additional responsibilities and projects, and have been given the opportunity to prove what I can do. My to-do list is miles long, I stay late many evenings (balanced by no-work weekends and a few early-off Fridays), but I am happy; happier than I’ve ever been from an employment situation.
I would confide that learning to live with a boy full time has been…an adjustment. We are fine, that’s not what I’m trying to say, but I didn’t realize how much of a change it would be having Blue Eyes home every night. We are living together, really, for the first time, only without most of those honeymoon-y butterflies. They have been replaced with humorous (but also, sometimes kind of annoying) statements like “Why is your hair always clogging the tub?!” and “Is it so hard to just throw your dirty socks 2 more feet so they land in the hamper!?” and “Why is my towel wet? Did you use my towel?” We are learning and adjusting, but, um, it’s a lot of adjusting. Apparently we were both pretty set in our individual ways (and sock-throwing habits).
I would announce that last year I gave up sugar and carbs for Lent and I’m trying it again this year (but not for Lent, just, you know, for the last little while). It is both harder and not nearly as bad as I remembered. The harder part comes from the days where my planning leaves a little to be desired and I’m trying to eat on the fly and find something that fits into the “no pasta, no bread, no rice, no cookies, no corn, no carrots, no fruit, no sugar of any kind” restrictions. The easier part is that, oh yeah, this isn’t actually as bad as it sounds. Lots of veggies, protein every day, a small snack between breakfast and lunch. It takes planning, but it’s not difficult planning. (This is a short-term “cleanse” type of thing, not a forever diet change.)
I would sigh and admit that as much as I enjoy my job, I sometimes daydream about being one of those ladies of leisure, the type that goes to mid-morning yoga (or can go to yoga AND the gym any given day without making working out the only other priority in her life outside of the office), or sign up for a weekly painting studio session, or a cooking class, or go to long lunches with other leisurely ladies, and volunteer for a Good Cause more whole-heartedly, and sometimes, to be completely honest, to spend several days parked in front of Netflix with a bevy of sweet and salty snacks and a never-ending supply of Diet Dr. Pepper. I know that after a little while I’d crave the structure and workings of an office and co-workers and the projects I’ve spent the last 4 years contributing to; and I also know ultimately that a life of leisure would not make me happy. But GOODNESS, sometimes it just sounds so wonderful.
I would let you know that being a stepmom is hard. Not that hanging out with Blue Eyes’ kiddos is difficult, nothing like that. In our situation (kids live out of state, I see them every couple of months for a weekend and then a longer chunk of time in the summer and at Christmas) I see my role in many ways as closer aligned to that of a favorite aunt than that of a parent. And I’m really good at being the favorite aunt. No, for me the kids are not the difficult part. It’s Blue Eyes’ x-wife. For years she has been the biggest cause of angst and anxiety and rage for both of us (and, sometimes, between us). She is truly a piece of work; I try and keep most of the bullshit off the internet and in my therapist’s office, but DAMN, she is a particularly nasty brand of CrAzYtOwN. If you recall, this is the woman who told outrageous lies about me and my writing and, ultimately, bullied and badgered me into shutting down my old blog completely. I tell you, she’s a gem. And SHE is what makes being a stepmom so damn difficult, not Blue Eyes, not his kids, not the child support and other payments, not any of that kind of stuff, just her. All by her (nasty) self.
I would probably swoon over the fact that without necessarily intending to, Blue Eyes and I have taken a page from RA’s book on not scheduling social things for at least one or two evenings per week. Last week Blue Eyes and I had zero social obligations; we both worked late here or there, but there was no rushing to somewhere else, no faking happiness or lack of fatigue when we’d really just prefer a nap, and no trying to one obligation early to tray and catch the tail end of another one, and no pinchy pants or shoes. We’d come home, change directly into pajamas and just…be. To end the day with snacks and books and conversations and Netflix in jammies and fuzzy slippers for SIX DAYS IN A ROW…ohmygoodness, it was the most refreshing thing. Dear Self: Please Create More Evenings Free of Obligations. Love, Harriet.
How about you? If we went to lunch (or out for coffee, or whatever), what would you tell me?