I can’t remember if it was before our after our recent trip to Colorado, but one night, I said to Josh, “I’m pretty sure I’m actually losing my mind, like I’m going to wind up in a mental hospital.” After years of coaching him to repeat “everything will be okay” when I’m convinced that everything will not be okay, he seems to have embraced the strategy.
“No,” he scoffed as we sat in bed reading. “You’re not losing your mind.”
“How do you know?” I asked.
“You’re fine,” he said.
And you know? I am fine—I have a wonderful family, a house, a job, and a car that only makes that explosive noise every fifth or sixth time it starts. I am loved and I love. I am in terrific health and am back to my pre-baby weight, though my grandmother recently asked if I’m “PG” again. “No,” I sighed. “I’m just not the same shape I used to be.”
Josh is right. Everything is fine. And yet I’m a little off. I keep thinking of one of my favorite Anne Lamott quotes: “My mind is a bad neighborhood I try not to go into alone.” I seem to be lurking on dangerous street corners a lot lately, metaphorically speaking.
I thought that our trip would shake things up a bit—provide a nice change of scenery—but I still feel unsettled. Maybe this is a predictable response to the arrival of my 35th birthday last week. Am I making the most of this precious life? Being the mom and wife I want to be? Chasing the right dreams? Living in the right zip code?
While I wait for clarity, I’m steering toward the the safer neighborhood—the one where my baby takes his first steps, my preschooler delights in her first plane ride, and my husband and I pull off the Great Business, Babies, and Beer Vacation of 2012. It’s where I weep for joy when I see an old friend, where my hard work pays off, and where I spend Mother’s Day eating fried fish in a park with my family.
I’ve got it good (and I know it), but I don’t have all the answers. In fact, I have more questions than answers right now. But for me, that struggle—which sometimes borders on “maybe I’m losing my mind”—is simply part of life. Who knows where my answers will come from (or when), but you can be sure that I’ll be ready.
I Want to Know
- How do you keep yourself out of the bad neighborhood?