What Do I Really Want?

I know I say it a lot, but it bears repeating. How is time flying by so fast? And why does it always seem as if I am treading water and accomplishing nothing?

I know it’s not true. And yet, it always seems as if my ambition outpaces my willingness to work (and work hard). I could blame the children, but let’s be brutally honest. I highly doubt I would be busy working hard on my ambitions even if I were without family obligations.

I mean, seriously. What did I do before I had kids?

Nothing. A fat lot of nothing.

One could argue that it was the forced break from things that having children required that finally shook me out of my farce of being a financial advisor. And then, even a few more years of being a SAHM that made me really consider what I wanted to do.

Would I actually spend all day writing and hustling after paying gigs if I were unencumbered by my kids? Or would I do what I always did? Fritter away all this precious time with the usual suspects?

I have my money on me pissing away my time like I always did. Because although past performance does not always predict future performance, it’s a good indicator.

Is this what a mid-life crisis looks like? Albeit, a bland, milquetoast, non-explody kind that doesn’t detonate an H-bomb in the midst of my family life?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not UN-happy. I am pretty OK with the way things are going.

But is that all we are made for? To be OK with things? To be floating along on the river of our life in an inner tube of contentedness?

Not that there is anything wrong with contentedness.

In fact, I thought I was content with my life until this moment. That is not true.

The absence of unhappiness is not the presence of happiness. And as I was about to write, “the absence of discontent is not the presence of contentedness,” I had to stop because I realized that I am discontent.

I have been discontent for a long time. Perhaps for always.

Discontent doesn’t mean that I’m not happy. I am often happy. I am even content with most areas of my life.

I AM MAKING NO SENSE.

I feel disintegrated. Scattered.

I have been going to my therapist for two years now. Maybe three? And yet it always seems to circle back with what Dr. T mentioned that first appointment. She thought I was in there to speak to her about my identity – and I laughed at her.

But it’s so true.

Who am I and what do I want? And once I figure that out, will I do what I can to get it?

I am afraid to want so many things.

I feel as if I just started going after what I want – and instead of being satisfied, it opened up a giant maw. A gaping mouth. A hole in my soul demanding to be fed.

More.

More.

Always, more.

That’s why Roxane Gay’s book, (affiliate link) Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, struck such a chord inside me. She hungered for so many things.

I hunger for so many things.

I feel greedy. Ungrateful.

I feel as if I am just like my father. Always grasping. Always lusting. Always leaving.

Always.

Always.

Always.

But that’s the lie, right?

That’s The Lie.

It’s okay to want things. It’s okay to pursue things. It’s okay to hunger. To want.

It is okay. And it is human.

It is in the how of things where it can go awry.

How do I fill this hunger? How do I fill these wants? And do I fill these wants? Or do I do what I always have and shove them down, deep down, burying them in the minutiae of daily life?

For me, I am choosing to be different than I have been.

I know.

I seem to be constantly choosing this. Constantly blogging about this.

It seems as if I will always be stuck.

Always.

I tell myself that changing directions in life is not a one and done.

It’s like changing directions in a large battleship cruiser at full speed. You can’t just make a sharp turn and then expect to be in a different direction. First, you have to decelerate to a safe speed and then turn, slowly, and then re-accelerate.

Making change in life is not just ONE decision to change your life. It is a constant series of small decisions. Seemingly insignificant decisions.

Do I go to sleep early or stay up late to work? If I stay up late to work, will I actually work or will I Facebook or watch TV or read or goof off? If I will actually waste time instead, am I okay with that or should I just go to sleep instead?

Do I stay at home and work or do I leave the house? If I stay at home, am I okay with my children constantly interrupting me? If I leave, am I okay with spending money or burning through the time with commuting? In all instances, am I going to actually work or am I going to procrastinate even more?

A million little choices.

Our dreams are made or broken from a million little choices.

The New Normal

People, it is hard to write lately. Not for lack of anything to say, mind you. But lack of free hands.

Sasquatch is still in the phase where he prefers to be held or on a human. And because he is my last baby, I find myself reluctant to shunt him to his crib.

Plus, co-sleeping makes the night feedings bearable and he is really an easy baby and I think if I used a cloth insert, he would sleep all night. (I already went a size up for cloth diapers. An insert would make him enormous.)

Shoot. I tandem breastfeed at night and in the morning because Glow Worm falls asleep at the breast (or comes really close) and that is way easier to deal with than his usual shenanigans.

Yes. I breastfeed two babies at the same time (I’d post a pic but even I have my limits) and cosleep with them, too. This helps me to sleep earlier because it’s really hard to get out of bed while wedged in between two sleeping babies. (Albeit, one is 3 years old.)

Seriously. How did this become my life? Welp, the tandem co-sleeping life chose me, I didn’t choose it. (This sounds like a great title to a really bad mom-rap.)

And during the many periods of breastfeeding, instead of writing posts on my phone (the technology exists and is actually pretty easy), I waste time playing Two Dots. (I got Cookie Monster hooked on the game, too. In fact, ALL my kids like it.)

I tell myself it’s because I prefer the tactile feeling of typing on the laptop. (I do so enjoy the clickety clack of a keyboard. Something about it just does it for me. Plus, my thumbs are fast but all ten fingers are even faster.)

Yes, I know I could turn on the keyboard sounds but that just pisses me off. And even though my kids can sleep through the apocalypse (yes, all four of them), I don’t actually want to test that theory by making more noise than necessary while they are sleeping.

Also? STOP POKING HOLES IN MY EXCUSES. It’s annoying.

So I end up wasting all this prime writing and thinking time not doing anything productive (even reading fiction books would be more productive) and my inner critic rears its judgy head and wonders why I haven’t done more writing already.

I am such a jerk.

Truthfully, I am having a hard time adjusting. Not to motherhood for the 4th time. That has been pretty chill and easy. (Sorry. I have easy babies and a super awesome and useful husband.)

Rather, I am having a hard time adjusting in the same way I had a hard time with being pregnant. Nothing was actually hard hard, but my brain still hasn’t figured out that oh yeah, I pushed a turkey out my vagina and perhaps that might have changed my life somewhat so writing will no longer look like it used to and won’t for at least a year so get used to the new normal – it’s not going anywhere until you pump enough milk to leave. (So lazy. Not happening.)

So what if the formatting is not as pretty or easy as it used to be on a laptop? Or whatever small thing is causing resistance?

If I want to write, I will write.

So here I am: writing.

Is it the deep or soul-searching stuff I have on the back burner? Nope. It’s not even the useful and informative crap I have queued up mentally.

But here I am. Writing.

Cheers to the new normal.

My First Summer Vacation in Decades

summer vacationYou guys, you guys! In three weeks, I will be dragging my three ungrateful children to Taiwan for six weeks of mandatory Chinese life immersion! Hapa Papa will not be joining us for awhile so it should be “interesting” to say the least. (However, my mom did somehow bribe my eldest cousin to help me out with things so it shouldn’t be too bad.)

Actually, I don’t think my kids are ungrateful. They’re actually pretty excited because they have a lot of good and fun memories of all the awesome indoor play spaces in Taiwan. I think they also remember some of the foods they like – and since they’re better about eating new things than they have EVER been, I have high hopes that Cookie Monster will not spend 90% of the time eating white rice.

Plus, I’ve been really trying to sell Cookie Monster on the cool camps I’ve signed him up for. Four weeks of local camps with local Taiwanese kids learning magic tricks, going on field trips, and creating stuff with fancy Tinkertoys, etc. should do more for his Chinese than four weeks of being stuck in a school geared to overseas Taiwanese kids learning Chinese characters and studying Chinese culture. (If that’s not guaranteed to make a kid hate Chinese, I really don’t know what is. It makes me hate Chinese.)

I think Gamera is most excited about buses. Glow Worm, of course, has no idea what’s in store for him. Poor chap. He’s going to have a rude awakening when he’s being shoved into school from 8am – 4pm every day. At least he’ll be in the same class as his big sister.

Anyhow, if you know anything at all about me, you’ll know that I NEVER call the trips we go on as a family, “vacation.”

That’s because calling it a vacation implies a fun and relaxing time. And trips with my troop of assholes is the opposite of fun and relaxing. (And yet, still, I still plan them. Clearly, I’m a masochist.)

However.

This year, this glorious summer, will be different.

For the first time, in decades, I will have an actual summer vacation.

All three children will be in school/camp from 8am-5pm every single week day for four weeks. FOUR. GLORIOUS. WEEKS.

This must be how SAHMs feel when ALL their kids go to school during the fall. (Maybe they’re onto something, after all.)

This will also, likely be the LAST time I will have an actual summer vacation for at least 2-3 years (when Baby4 will finally be old enough to attend local Taiwanese preschools during the summer).

I plan to make the most of it.

So, because I’m a planner and also slightly afraid that I will waste this rare opportunity for solitude, I present to you, my illustrious plans for my summer vacation. (WHOOOOOO!)

1) Eat.

I’m not kidding. I plan on eating as much as humanly possible.

One of my friends, Dongua (冬瓜 – I know, I know! Not proper pinyin, but that’s what he goes by!), posts so many reviews and pics of places he eats in Taipei that basically, I’m just going to eat my way through his pic folder. I’m calling it the Dongua Taiwanese Food Challenge. The gauntlet has been thrown and I volunteer as tribute.

Incidentally, Dongua has been mentioned on a Taiwanese blogger site as well as another blog if you want to check them out.

The best part is, several of my friends will also be in Taiwan at the same time (although we will not be living together). But that means I have eating buddies! WHOOO!

2) Shop.

Truthfully, though it may seem that I have already purchased every Chinese book and game known to man, it is not so! And I plan to rectify that! Guavarama will be ordering a few boxes of books for me and they will be delivered to my residence so I don’t even have to do any work!

Mostly, I will shop for popular music and old Chinese kungfu movies (like Once Upon a Time in China) and perhaps some educational DVDs for the kids.

I don’t tend to buy clothes even in the states where I have a snowball’s chance in hell fitting into the clothing. So, I won’t be buying clothes in Taiwan where people are tiny and have no breasts or hips. (Or at least, that seems to be what the clothing stores are telling me.)

I used to be able to buy shoes, but after I had kids, my shoe size went up so now, no shoes in my size in Taiwan.

Don’t worry. I’ll spend a crapton of money just fine. (Please don’t tell Hapa Papa. *waves*)

3) Write.

When I first planned the trip it was before I got pregnant. I had it in my head that I would be putting my ebook together from my previous posts and series during this time and do a lot of writing and submitting to online publishers.

I might still do that.

But mostly, I will be writing for this blog. Either posts for the summer or posts for after the baby arrives.

Truthfully, I don’t really know. Maybe I will write fiction. Who knows??

I just know I will have large blocks of empty space for me to write. I have fantasies of bringing my laptop to a local Taiwanese boba shop and acting like I’m a fancy schmancy writer in a public space. Too bad it will all just be in my head.

4) Plan for Fall 2016 curriculum for the kids.

I’ll be homeschooling Gamera in TK this fall along with Cookie Monster starting Grade 1. Oh, and did I mention I’ll be popping out Baby4 in mid-October?

Yeah. That.

So, I need to plan for things I want the kids to learn and how to do that (by signing up for as many classes as possible, obviously). And then researching children’s science and educational videos in Chinese (aka: stealing YouTube playlists from Guavarama). And then figuring out how to stream them on our Apple TV/Chromecast/Amazon Fire. I think we have them all. I just don’t know how to use ANY of them.

5) Read.

Thanks to the beautiful thing known as technology, I can read a lot of books on my Kindle app without bringing a ton of books with me. And, if I’m feeling the need for REAL books, I can hang out in Eslite for HOURS and read their English books in comfy couches.

SO EXCITING.

6) Nap.

What’s the point of large, unscheduled blocks of time if I can’t nap? Ooooh. Maybe I can even nap while getting a massage!! That’s killing two birds with one stone! WHOOOOOO!

That’s it. For me, personally, anyway. We’ll go to fun places and visit family for the kids, too. But for the hours that I’m free each day, I’m gonna do at least one of these six things. (You’ll note there is a purposeful lack of anything museum-like or culture-related. That’s because I’m a Philistine and don’t care at all.)

Anyhow, I look forward to chronicling all my adventures (after all, I’m suppose to write!!) and tempting you all with pics of yummy food.

See you Wednesday!