Friday, April 13, 2012

Looking for balance? Search your moments.

When we purchased our home, one of the key features Derek and I both loved was the fact that upstairs I would have an office. I remember him saying to me the day of closing, “I can picture you there. Looking out the window into our backyard, writing at your grandparent’s old desk, surrounded by your paintings and being where you belong. With your passions, in your office, in our home.” Well, maybe I added a few words to make it flow better, but that was the gist of what was spoken ….

Since we have been in the house, five months now, it seems life took over. We had a scheduled family vacation to Atlanta the week after moving. Imagine, packing suitcases from boxes scattered around the house, in between the construction work, and workers, for the first of many remodels, for two children, as well as the fashioniesta (me), oh, and Derek who needs like a toothbrush, clean underwear and some v-neck t–shirts and he is solid. That was not my typical pack job – I love coordination. Organization. You know – a packing list, zip lock bags, labels, and strategically packed outfits, with matching accessories.

After we returned from “downtime” life sped up, and quickly. Christmas, and our first brunch with the family, was a mere weeks away. A new year’s party that we hosted came shortly after. Soccer for Thomas, Bella’s outings, Cub Scout meetings, playdates, PTA. Housework, laundry, dinner time, did the kids get the showers yet? The to-do list mounting up – one thing eliminated, nine added. Catching up with friends was a priority. Date night seemed to take a backburner. Stress was high. Yard work was plenty. Found and hired a lawn care service. Yard work temporarily ceased. Oh, and then just to throw chaos into overload, I also was dabbling in law research and proposals, questioned by career choice. Threw in some family drama. Put together Derek’s surprise birthday party. My homemade salsa orders needed to be filled. Began making Bella’s fairy dress. Was decorating the house, budgeting the bills, grocery shopped a few times, and …

If that wasn’t enough, my mind and body decided to have an emotional breakdown.

There I was, in late January, at my breaking point. I shut down from life, what I loved, those I loved. And that included painting, and meditation, and … writing.

Now you know why Plan B went silent for so long.

A therapist diagnosed it as a breakdown. I like to think of it as a breakthrough. She had explained that with all of the chaos, and stress of moving, buying a house, and having zero downtime, I broke. But, she also explained that I was fixable. Getting back to the things I loved was key. Learning to let go of some of my perfectionism was a staple. After months of letting life get in the way, I began to get back into yoga, meditation, and balancing out my mind and body. Felt good. So then I tried her other tactics. Forgiving myself for taking a day off from life. Being in the moment instead of thinking about hours, days, and weeks ahead. Centering myself. Giving back to myself. Did not work on the first go, but after hard work, and with a support system I tend to take for granted, I felt, amidst the chaos that was still surrounding our daily life – I was finding a balance. My balance.

A few weeks back, and some therapy sessions later, I took off from work – and forgave myself instantly for doing so. I planned to clean the house and to spend some time playing catch up on some of that dire “to do” on the list. In the afternoon I was going to attend Thomas’ musical festival. That evening I was going to plan the weekend’s menu and grocery shop. But that morning, while having coffee and planning out my day, I suddenly stopped and quickly realized I was in a “moment” to own. I raced to the office to get the computer and then raced back down to write in our bed. I was so excited to finally want to write, I hadn’t thought about where I was writing. I realize now that in that moment I didn’t choose the office because I was still not ready to be in the place Derek had so amazingly pictured me to be … I felt, almost ashamed to write there. Not deserving enough.

Tonight, I will tell you, I am sitting at my desk. Looking out into our beautiful backyard, as the lightening lights up the gorgeous serenity. Surrounded by my easel, and paintings, and the vintage d├ęcor I designed, looking at a photo of our children to my left, and a photo of my grandparents on their wedding day to my right. Why is tonight such an important moment that it’s worth me sharing, and worth you reading?

Because tonight I stopped with the to-do, the chaos, the crazy beautiful mess called life for just a moment and allowed myself, encouraged myself to be where I belong. Here, in this moment, with the keys on the computer humming in my ears, the children’s sweet sounds of their dreams echoing in the halls, Derek keeping my side of the bed warm for me until I return, I have allowed myself to be in the moment, in my moment.

And so should you.

There are a thousand ways for things to fall apart in this life. In our marriages, in our families, in our careers, in our minds. All the plans we envisioned, they may need to be redrafted. All the dreams we once had might have vanished from once was, but that doesn’t mean we still don’t belong. Simply it means we are ready for new ones. Ones so scary, so extraordinary, we might not have allowed ourselves to believe in them until this very moment.

I’m living proof. I held on. Tight. To belief, to hope, to the making the impossible possible. I encouraged myself to weather the storms, even when they were fierce, and brutal, and nasty and almost impossible to overcome.

And now here I am. Where I belong. Where I thought some days I would never be. And loving each and every moment. My moments. Now take from what I wrote, and seize your own moments. My next has me in bed with the man I love, listening to the sound of the thunderstorm and feeling so safe and warm. After that, who knows (don’t think dirty …) … but I’ll take it. The good, bad, and the in-between. Because they are my moments to be had: to discover, to grow, to cherish, to balance. What’s yours?


  1. You are a truly inspiring writer. The storms you've weathered are most certainly worth the life you have with your whole family now. You knew it was there, just hard to find it.

  2. My night of relaxation will come when my man cave is finished and I can just play pool and ignore everything around me.. LOL

    No really sitting in my covered patio listening to the birds sing and the rain fall is nice. Right now I am sitting here enjoying the nice cool air and the sound of nature .

  3. Love the thought that everything needs to be redrafted. You can make a plan, but you have to be able to bend when Plan A doesn't quite work out.

  4. What one writer can make in the solitude of one room is something no power can easily destroy.
    Salman Rushdie