I am sitting at my desk. It is a beautiful white desk covered in things – books, papers, photographs, pens. My hummingbird paperweight. My good luck rocks. A glass of water. It is half full. Four years ago, I might have looked at this same glass and thought It is half empty. Four years ago, I was me, but a different me. I was months out from losing Dad, I had a two-year-old and an infant underfoot. I was a bit lost and a bit sad. Okay, a lot lost and a lot sad.
Four years ago, I started this blog. I started it because my literary agent thought it was a good idea, that it would help me build an audience for my novel which would be published the following year. I started this blog for other reasons, too. Reasons that weren’t so apparent at the time. I started it because I needed to. Because I needed to carve out a little space to come to write words and think thoughts and ask questions. I needed a haven.
That four years has passed amazes me. So much has happened in these four years. We welcomed our third girl. We moved into this home. I got real with myself about my anxiety and my drinking. But something else that happened, something I’m just beginning to realize, is that I have become an optimist. More often than not, I’m able to see the sun through the clouds and think an important sentence, a sentence that has eluded me in the past: Everything will be okay.
Honestly? This is kind of fascinating to me. That after years of being pretty cynical and even pessimistic, after years of applauding the Nietzschian nihilism in myself and others, I am feeling this shift. I think I always thought I was who I was, that I was a critical thinker, prone to seeing grays, but now I am not so sure. I like this feeling of being not so sure about this.
Today is April 10th and it is a beauty. The weather outside is beyond gorgeous and I took the big girls to school and I couldn’t help looking around at this city I love, at all the chaos, at the people and cars and dogs, and thinking: I live here. This is my life. And the girls were so happy. We rode the bus and walked up Madison Avenue looking in all the shops. We stopped in front of a jewelry store with a giant zebra in it. We were all smitten. And I took a picture of them looking in.
After dropping both girls, I walked some more. I walked down Amsterdam and I bought myself a green juice and drank it. At home, Little Girl was waiting for me in her little flowered dress and pigtails. I scooped her up and we snuggled before she left for music class. And then I met with our garden guy who is going to spruce up our outdoor space.
And then I came here. To my desk. To write this. As I am writing these words, I realize how happy I am right now. On this morning. On this day. At this point in my life. It is not a perfect happiness, but a messy one. It’s hard to explain, but I just feel good about things. About my marriage. My little girls. My writing. My friends. Again, not everything is perfect. There are moments each day when I feel off or lost or down, but they are far outweighed by good, real, clear moments.
And there are wonderful things on the horizon. My novel is coming together. It is a slow and untidy process, but I am getting there. Big Girl has her first league game for soccer this weekend and her Daddy will be coaching. Tomorrow night, I am hosting my next Happier Hour with the editors of Drinking Diaries, a book of essays I just loved. We will gather and talk about a topic that is very interesting and important to me and I think to many of us.
Which brings me to my final bit of this rambling post… I woke up this morning and had a thought. A really exciting one. I might do another year without wine. Yes, I was a smidge hungover from a wonderful night out, a night that ended with cocktails on the exquisite rooftop of the Peninsula Hotel, but this was not about how I felt this morning. This was not about regret or shame or beating myself up. This was about how I felt last year during my dry year. I realize now, looking back, that it was a brilliant year, a year when I felt healthier and happier than ever before. Now, almost three months after my year ended, I feel like I finally have the perspective to really think seriously about this. And I am toying with the idea of doing another year, but this year would be less about eliminating a negative thing in my life and more about choosing wildly positive things, things I felt in unparalleled doses last year: health, happiness, clarity. Anyway, I’m just thinking about it and haven’t decided, but if the excitement I feel now just thinking about this is any indication, I will probably go for it. And write about it.
Anyway, I know I am rambling, but that’s cool. That’s me. I will cut myself off now and go enjoy this knockout of a day, but I cannot tell you how good it is to be here writing this messy ode to my morning, my day, my life and this place.
Four years, baby. So hard to believe. So wonderful to be able to say.
I’ve missed you guys! How have you been? How are you feeling about life these days? Are you more half-empty or half-full? What do you think about my doing another year without wine? Is it nuts that I love these challenges and am actually pumped about the possibility of another twelve months of dry living?