At Year End

If I had to pretend 2019 was a piece of writing and give it a title, I would call it “The Battle with Selfishness” or “The Struggle to Sacrifice.” The prevailing event that occurred was the birth of my son in early January, so naturally, my life turned upside down.

All the poets and writers and anyone who has ever had a child were not kidding when they said that upon becoming a parent, one’s entire perspective on life changes. For me, the key word was perspective. My actions did not change much, but I got the overwhelming sense that I needed to be changing my actions in accord with this new perspective of parenthood.

So much of what I do on a daily basis is selfish. So much of it is useless and destructive, not in an overt way like alcoholism or drug use, but in a softer way. I was playing on the floor with my son one night, and my phone vibrated from inside my purse where I promptly forgot about it upon walking in the door and seeing my son’s drooly grin.

I ignored the phone, but in the back of my mind was a nagging feeling that I ought to check it, even though it was likely only a text from a family member and not urgent. This nagging feeling occurs all the time when I’m doing something worthwhile or unselfish. The nagging feeling says that I need to surf the Internet on my phone, sit down and read a book, go on the computer and write something, or just be alone and away from people.

Sometimes the nagging feeling becomes a roar, and it is extremely hard to ignore it. I don’t know if that is the sound of my old pre-married life coming back to haunt me because there are certain parts of it I find hard to let go of, like unfettered alone time. When I try to make myself remember that I was not as happy in those days, the roaring quiets and the nagging goes away for a time. But it inevitably returns, mostly when the phone vibrates or when I start to get tired (damn that noonday demon!).

Honestly, I’m happiest when I’m with others, although it does not appear that way. Being around others is hard because I have to control my selfish impulses, but it is infinitely better than doing things alone. It is better to serve others than to serve oneself, as painful as it is to be around others at times.

So my resolutions for 2020 are related to being more “other centered.” I will die one day, and I doubt I will be remembered for how many blog posts, journal entries, and fiction pieces I wrote, how many books I read, or how many government documents I edited. I don’t think God is going to judge me on the basis of those things either. My vocation is to be a mother and a wife. That is the way I am supposed to bring light into the world and lead others to God. Everything else in my life should be in service to that vocation, which was chosen by God to bring glory to him, so my resolutions have also been chosen for my vocation.

All this is to say that I didn’t set a writing goal. I’m going to keep posting THE ARCHIVES until all 365 chapters are up. I’m sure the constant urge to write will spur me to post the occasional blog entry here and there, but it’s not going to be a priority. The world is a strange place and becoming stranger by the day. The best way to prevent it from having too much of a hold on me is to renounce it, little by little, and do what I can for God.

The Usual Resolutions Don’t Apply

Happy 2019! I hope this year is filled with many blessings for you!

I’m not bothering with resolutions this year because nothing I would normally do applies. I can’t say I want to save a certain amount or write a certain amount or lose weight or gain weight or volunteer a certain number of hours. Hell, I can’t even resolve to wake up at a certain time and go to bed at a certain time.

Actually, I guess I could resolve to do all those things (or some of them), but by February, all those hopeful resolutions will be broken.

Now that I’m almost 38 weeks pregnant, people keep coming up to me and asking if I’m excited. The answer, honestly, is no. I’m scared.

Scared because I won’t get to have my “old life,” however comfortable that was. And when I look back at it, it was really nice while it lasted. Selfish? Probably so.

Babies are supposed to bring joy. I keep thinking that I’ll believe it when I see it (when I feel it?). Every now and then, I do have a moment when I’m excited about the baby, but the fear comes back moments later.

What is work-life balance going to look like? What is marriage going to look like? Will I ever write or do anything I want to again? What if the baby doesn’t bond with me or I don’t bond with him? What if I am The Worst Parent Ever?

From listening to parents who’ve been there and done that, all of these fears and what-ifs and worries will be rendered invalid. You just do what you can. You sacrifice. You make ends meet. You give up the futile hope of perfection and resolutions and keep on keeping on.

So I guess that’s my resolution. To keep on. To do what I can. To try.