Is this it?

It has been a long time since I have posted to this blog. Two months almost exactly, actually. I want to write something, I do. I want to talk about what is going on in my life. Make some amusing but heartfelt  comments on what it all means. I want to write a personal post, not another book review (which admittedly I could write many, as I have been reading at a disturbingly panicked pace, but more on that later).

But I got nothing.

As this is the holiday season and parties with people you only see at holiday parties occur with alarming frequency, I find myself more and more at a loss of words when the supposedly innocuous  question – so what have you been up to? – arises.

Don’t get me wrong. Stuff has been happening. Big stuff. Momentous stuff. They are just not happening to me. I am the eye of the hurricane in my house, ground control. That is okay. I choose this role. I want this role. I make sure things get done. People are where they are supposed to be. I make sure I am home just in case someone needs me to help them study, or simply use as a punching bag (not literally, but in the emotional teenage girl sense) or talk. I wake up early, try to write (mostly in my journal because I am too tired for anything else). Go for a run. Go to work. Come home, make dinner (or help make dinner depending on J’s schedule). If nobody needs me, I watch some bad TV, drink too much whiskey. Go to bed. repeat.

See? Nothing. This is my life. I feel like I did when the kids were toddlers – when I was so busy making sure those pint-sized beings survived the day fed, watered and without massive head traumas. One day, I woke up and suddenly realized I had no idea how to be anymore. What do I do when I am alone? How do I want to spend my time?

I feel effaced, like the routine is an eraser and it is slowly rubbing away all my unique parts.

In a nutshell, I have become boring.

Now you think it would be easy. You would think, that my default would be to say to myself, why Lina! Don’t you enjoy writing? Making up stuff? Why don’t you take this unexpected hour the Gods have lain so generously at your feet and whip up a nice, little story?

No. Because that hour is an anomaly. The Gods are fickle and lay this time at my feet when I least expect it – when I am tired, and sad and have no ideas. So when this hour comes, I snatch up a book and read furiously, like my life depends on it, in a state of quasi panic lest the voice comes back and forces me to confront why I am not doing the one thing I have always done for myself.

I realize this is a vicious cycle.

I gotta say, so far 40 isn’t all I hoped it would be. I know, I know. It’s still early. Don’t rush to judgment. But still. A couple of months after turning 40, I hurt my back. Twisted a vertebrae by simply moving wrong. This meant no marathon for me, though I had registered. This meant a month without running at all, which was not good for my mood. As I sit here, I can still feel the twinge (sitting is bad – I try to do it as seldom as possible, which might account for the unwillingness to write).

September hit like a hurricane with both my daughters entering intense academic years as well as numerous other activities. Not to mention they are 13 and 15 right now. Not only do they have a lot on their plates, they are doing it while trying to navigate growing up. (Shit. It makes me want to stop complaining. As unpleasant as 40 has been, it does not even come close to the unpleasantness of being a teenager. Oh my- did I just have a deep thought ensconced in a parenthesis? That 40 is just another kind of growing pain? Whoah. I am blowing my own mind here. Better close this up and move on.)

And J went away for three weeks on tour in the East. It was intense, creatively interesting work. Then he had to come back home to the hurricane.Not an easy transition. He goes away again for most of January and this is something else I am going to have to deal with – that I am the person left behind, the one that keeps the hearth fires burning while he pursues his very interesting art projects.

I repeat: I chose this. I want to stay home (as in, not leave the city. I am still working.) I want to be there for my kids. It will not alway be like this – indeed in a few years, it won’t matter at all if I decide to screw off to Spain at the beginning of September (for instance). But it matters now. And at least one of us gets to be interesting.

Still. There’s hope. I am writing this, aren’t I?

It is Christmas eve, the 5th day of my vacation. I finally was able to get to bed early without too much alcohol in my system and wake up relatively pain free (I have also been sick a lot this year. Let us not mention the whiskey, ok?) I made my coffee and sat directly in front of my screen (only wasting a few minutes looking at Facebook) and wrote this rambling post. The kids are still asleep and Jeremy is at the studio. At 9:30 in the morning, the house is silent. Perfect time for writing.

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