My computer is preventing me from watching Murder, She Wrote. It starts loading it, pauses, then I get a Netflix error message. It is doing me a favour, I KNOW. It is a terrible show. I found it kind of dumb when it originally aired (when I was a small child). But this is the speed I am at now. I can do the things I need to do. Very occasionally I can do something more. The rest of the time, I can watch bad 80s television.
It’s a weird thing to say, but I feel like I’ve forgotten how to live. Like, if there isn’t something I need to be doing or that I’ve planned ahead of time to do, I don’t know what to do with myself. I think, “I have this whole day – I should practice. I should write. I should blog. I should make something.” But most of the time I don’t. And it’s not that I can’t, exactly. When I’m with Cecil he doesn’t need 100% of my attention 100% of the time. I could practice or write or make something while he crawls on his belly on the floor and it would totally be fine, as long as there were no swallowable objects on the floor. But I don’t. If I’m not playing with him or tending to his needs or doing housework I am probably reading a public domain mystery novel or wasting time on Twitter. I don’t mind being interrupted doing either of those things, you see. I do mind being interrupted when I’m actually doing something. When he’s napping I will sometimes plan to do something productive, and occasionally I succeed. But more often I sit down and I stay there, because I am tired and I need some space where no one is making any demands of me, even myself.
In a way I feel much like I did the year after I finished school. 2004 was the first September in 20 years which didn’t mark the beginning of a new school year for me. I felt so lost, the rest of my life yawning open before me. What was I supposed to do? How would I ever accomplish anything without someone structuring my time and giving me milestones to achieve? How could I go on knowing that I could fall off the face of the earth and die and no one beyond my immediate circle would care?
Eventually I figured out how to structure my time for myself. I even made myself little schedules – yoga at 10, practice at 11, write at 1, leave for work at 3:30, etc. I mostly didn’t really follow them, but at least they gave me a broad outline of what a day meant. I still am not really happy about the fact that maybe 50 people in the world give a shit about my existence, but I am getting over that. Sure, work would go up and down, and I’d have periods where I felt blah and unmotivated…but at least I knew HOW to do stuff when I had the will to do it.
Well, I can’t apply that now, because looking after babies does not lend itself well to that kind of scheduling. I do not know if it will take me 10 minutes or an hour to get Cecil down for a nap. Mostly it’s 10 minutes, but randomly – generally when he’s teething badly like he is now – it will take a really long time, and there’s nothing you can do about it. When I go to bed I do not know if I’ll get to sleep 7 or so hours with only one interruption or if I’ll be awakened 3 or 4 times. (Side note: if you feel the need to comment to tell me that your baby slept 14 hours in a row every night of its life because you did cry-it-out/you co-sleep/your midwife was also a witch and gave you a magic wand, just don’t, because I DO NOT WANT TO HEAR IT.) Also, since my time is generally not under my control, I don’t want it to be under my super-ego’s control either, if that makes any sense. I can say “OK, if Cecil has a good night and you don’t need to nap at the same time as he does to remain functional, then you will practice for half an hour”, but when it comes time to do it, my brain will say “Time to practice!” and I will say “Brain, DIAF” and start Instagramming pictures of plush gnomes.
Anyway. I assume I will figure this out eventually, just like I did when no longer having a course calendar tell me what to do was a daunting new reality. And Cecil will get all of his teeth (he’s working on number 8! Yes, he is 8 months old! I KNOW) and start sleeping through the night, and I’ll look back on all those sweet snuggles we had in the middle of the night and totally forget the time he woke up at 12:30 and didn’t go back to sleep until after 4 (that was last Sunday). And then suddenly he’ll be 12 years old and riding a skateboard and being embarrassed of me, then 19 and insufferable and correcting every other thing I say, then an adult finding his own path in life, starting a career and a family, and I’ll think “aw, why did he have to grow up?”
And I’ll accomplish many more awesome things in my life, even if none of them happen this year.
So now that my computer has finished loading this episode, I am going to go watch it. Make hay while the sun shines and all that.