Oh, friends. Hello! Merry Christmas! I haven’t posted nearly as much as I wanted to this year, which falls right in line with the theme of 2012 for me – I mean, just check out my side bar! I didn’t read nearly as much as usual – I only watched two movies – didn’t step foot in a proper theater where plays are performed – I ignored virtually all the new albums that came out this year. As S. claimed a couple of months ago, the word for 2012 and our family? Triage.
The year began with ongoing illnesses for all three of us, courtesy of E’s first year in daycare and the fact that S. and I both work in hospitals. This time last year, in fact, we were cancelling our travel plans for the holidays and conserving all of our energy to take turns caring for E – for Christmas dinner, after putting E to bed, S. and I tried sharing a bowl of chicken noodle soup which ended up, I am not kidding, being “too rich” for our stomachs. Rotoviruses (which, oh my goodness, I’d never had one before and they deserve their own special ring in hell) followed by sinus infections with a dash of bronchitis here and there kept us in a constant state of sick until spring arrived which is just about the time our 100 year-old Victorian home started DEMANDING we pay more attention to her with all sorts of tactics, from exploding pipes to ceilings collapsing to full-on appliance failure. I am not even going to discuss the car repair work we needed to have done but if I were to really sit down and examine our finances for the last year I have little doubt that I would see we probably had to spend more than we earned for the first time in our lives.
From sprained ankles to hand, foot and mouth disease – from broken sinks to small flare ups of minor autoimmune issues – it felt like we never caught much of a break in 2012. Through it all, though, S. and I were able for the most part to keep our focus on each other and our daughter and say a prayer of thanks, every day, that no matter what else happened we were lucky enough to bear witness to her toddler hood. This meant that more often than not, books went unread, movies went unwatched and yoga went unpracticed and we spent our time, instead, practicing the ABC’s and creating food out of play dough in Evangeline’s play kitchen and having spontaneous, post-dinner dance parties in the living room.
I also made a career move that I am not quite confident of yet and find myself questioning regularly. As S. and I move away from 2012 and look forward to 2013, we know we will be tackling big, life-altering issues, like whether to remain in Pittsburgh or move closer to our aging parents once and for all, whether or not to have a second child (all of these articles on the problems of procreation after 35! And I’m only 35 for 4 more months!), and what make sense in terms of our careers. These are issues we are lucky to have, of course – this year we’ve seen tremendous tragedy and I am grateful every day that my worries are of such mundane, every-day life variety.
In terms of this blog, and my writing life in general, however, I’ve gone back and forth dozens of times. Do I keep blogging? Maybe I should quit this blog – maybe I should start blogging every day. Maybe I should finally realize I’m never going to be a true writer’s writer and quit it entirely – NO! I SHOULD WRITE A PLAY – A SERIES OF PLAYS! It is difficult, as time passes, to maintain the same level of creativity and artistic expression one enjoyed as a child, when faced with the responsibility of a job that is more like a career and a child that likes to leap off into space with no regard for danger whatsoever.
Of course, while all of this has been happening much, much larger tragedies have been happening across the globe – hurricanes and mass shootings and war and poverty and global warming and honestly, sometimes I think the worst thing I do to myself is read the New York Times each morning. I tend to dwell on bad news and internalize entirely too much of it -I’m like my father that way. What I’ve realized recently, though, is part of the reason all of this news – and all of this life stuff – makes me feel so bad is because I no longer have any sort of creative outlet to take all this negativity and make sense of it. I stopped writing mid-way through my pregnancy when the extra-early mornings felt unbearable and never fully returned. I miss it, but I actually miss acting as well – the physicality of that art form seems more appealing, in many ways, than sitting at my desk lately. I feel on any given day there are dozens of stories inside me to tell and I lack any sort of outlet for that expression.
I guess what I am trying to say is – I don’t want to quit blogging, even though this blog has been pretty anemic this year. Instead, I want to write more, do more of the things I love. I’ve had numerous people tell me to cut myself some slack…that it is okay, after Evangeline goes to bed, to simply watch television and relax. And I truly believe them - it is okay! Necessary some nights, even. But I think I grow all out of whack when I allow myself to do this too often – I need to find a bit more balance for the things I’m truly passionate about, like live theater, tennis, and writing.
Truly, I’m not sure what any of this means for the new year, or how I’ll implement it, but I do know I’m not giving up on this blog yet. I have some time, to think about what comes next, but first I am going to enjoy the rest of the holiday season as work slows to a near-halt, family floods our city and our home, and I take the next ten days to eat cheese and drink wine and just be thankful – thankful for blessings large and small. I look forward to talking with you all again in the new year!