Last week something unexpected occurred. I woke up every morning in a perfectly calibrated emotional state: energized, calm, grateful, and content. The realization of which led to something I’d describe as elation.
WTF is that about?
It took me by surprise. My go-to mindset since having Miles 19 months ago has been one of desperate tiredness and constant overwhelmdoom. Of course I’ve had laughing jags and felt pride and joy and love for my family and friends during that time, but mostly I’ve been blindsided by the exponential difficulty of upping the family ante from one to two children. It took a good long while to feel like I wasn’t freaking out ALL the TIME, and I certainly haven’t felt “relaxed” or “content” in a while. We’re talking like 18.5 months.
Last week Evan kept saying, “I can’t believe how pleasant you’re being,” which of course made me feel awful about what a Crabby Crabstein I must have been for the last bit.
Mostly, I credit this new excellent mind state to a good few weeks of getting enough sleep. It’s so ridiculously simple how much this can help a parent’s sanity that it’s trite and boring just to write that sentence. I mean obviously, humans need to sleep without getting woken up every few fucking hours for months on end. I was starting to get pissy at everyone in my path as the sleeplessness folded into itself night after night – bleeding into day after day. Because how could I be angry at sweet little Miles for torturing me at night for this long? It was easier to be irritated with Evan for breathing, my daughter for stomping her feet in all of her five year old-ness, my babysitter for being unclear, work for being slow, myself for not eating well, drinking more than one glass of wine at night and not going to sleep early.
Through the tiredness, I’d been working on the concepts of being grateful and present and feeling blessed for as long as I can remember – trying to calm myself and not stoking my own anxiety and ramping up the internal drama. I knew theoretically how lucky I was to have this family and this good life but somehow knowing wasn’t enough. I wasn’t feeling it, and trying to feel and believe it has been work for sure. Wrestling, trying, chewy, workity work. And then, something (nothing?) clicked into place last week and it was like all the therapy and the yoga and the analyzing were finally working. WORKING!
The same week, something else major was peaking. My friend David is enjoying massive career success right now, and last week the television show he made aired on MTV. The lead up to it has made me insanely proud and excited for him. I believe my people call it “kvelling.”
A few years ago, Dave decided to switch careers from advertising to writing. Not an easy thing to do, especially because he was already successful in advertising – he had made many hilarious commercials and was highly regarded as a writer and creative director. But he went for it – he sat down, wrote a funny book about finding yourself in your twenties, and then worked like crazy to have it optioned into a television show. I wouldn’t say he made it look easy exactly – there were lots of ups and downs throughout the process of the book being made into a TV show now on MTV (called “I Just Want My Pants Back”). But I never doubted that it would happen. He’s just that kind of person with that type of drive and talent. Smart, funny and lucky, with an amazingly supportive wife and people around him who wished him well, because he’s a good, menschy funny person who can find the absurdities of life and distill them down to good jokes in like two seconds. It’s just so cool that this is happening to him and his family. I am just seriously jacked up about this.
So on top of feeling good finally personally inside my brain and body, even if it's just about being well rested enough to appreciate it, and even if it's temporary, having such a pure kind of happiness for my friend on top of it really feels fantastic.
Sometimes it’s easy to be happy. Hopefully, it won’t make me tedious.