Adam started saying the above as a sarcastic statement. Such as, "Joy, Enjoy" (cleaning out the pot that I engraved my burnt chili into). Once, Alma heard him say it several times/Adam purposefully taught her the phrase and Alma walked around for a week saying "Joy, Enjoy!" whenever she saw me. Which, was all the time.
But, now it's resolution time. I'm a New Year's kind of girl. I love a new beginning. Every year, I make mental notes. They are not always fleshed out resolutions, but I always have a sense of some new step or direction or backtrack that I want to take for the new year, some way that I want this new chunk of time to go differently than the last chunk of time.
We could really use things to go differently for the upcoming chunk of time. 2011 kind of stunk. Adam lost his income in April and we have been going through the incredibly evil soul crushing life stopping process of job hunting for the last 8 months. It is awful. At one point, Adam was strung along for nearly two months by a job in Chicago. One day it would seem absolutely certain that we would be moving to the windy city immediately and then doubt and then hope and then doubt, hope, doubt, hope, crushing rejection. For the last couple of months, we haven't even had one solid lead. I worry about Adam becoming depressed. I worry about the future being so undefined that I can't even picture where we will be and what life will look like 5 months ahead. I worry, because that is one thing I am really good at.
I have been working three days a week as a therapist at a mental health clinic for children exposed to trauma for the last year and a half. Prior to that, I had been working full time at a similar clinic. When Adam lost his income, I didn't immediately up my days or look for different work because I thought the whole thing would work itself out quickly. Then there was the Chicago debacle that I was waiting out, plus a couple of other leads. Finally, in November, I realized that it was going to take longer for Adam to find a job than I thought, and I found a full time job. I had my last day at my old job in mid-December and I start the new job on Monday.
Quitting my clinical social worker job has been a bit of a blow to my ego and psyche. I was a little worn by my trauma therapist jobs and in need of a break. However, there was a lot I loved about trauma therapy. Chiefly, that 50 minutes that I got to be in this amazing utterly unique healing space with a kid. You just can not find that level of closeness and impact with a kid in any other occupation. And, I'm good at it (I'm not trying to brag, I've just worked really hard at building skills and knowledge in this field and I have been pretty successful at doing so). I have built a good bit of my identity on the kind of job I do and doing it well. It has always been important to me that my occupation be something I love, something that is not just a job but a passion or a calling (to use a loaded word from my past that would require a Love In the Time of Cholera sized novel to unpack the baggage). In contrast, my new job is just a job. It is an administrative oversight job where I won't have any contact with clients. Taking the new job was a necessity for my family. Turns out, a part-time social work job can not support a family of three. Additionally, my whole sense of the future of my career has been put on hold during Adam's job hunt. I am pretty marketable in any location where people experience trauma (everywhere!). Not being location bound means that I am at the whim of Adam's job market. So, I'm feeling like a banged up kite stuck in a tree waiting for a burst of wind to save me from a non-tenable situation with no way of knowing when that will happen or where the wind will lead. And since I have built so much of my identity on what I do for an occupation, I am not even sure what kind of kite I am.
On top of all that really big overwhelming work/where-I-will-live/how-I-will-pay-my-bills/who-I-am-as-a-human-being related stuff, 2011 has been unkind in other ways. I had some weird health issues (sarcoidosis, I hate your freaking guts). A lot of my friends went through extremely heart breaking circumstances this year. I mention the friends not to win vicarious sympathy points but just to say that I am very close to my friends and when they feel sad and beaten down, I feel sad and beaten down. This has been a sad year. And, I have an amazing two year old. However, even though she is epically beautiful and creative and full of curiosity and wonder and humor, she still has to go through the developmentally appropriate horror that is being two, which is exhausting, to say the least.
All that to say, I'm really happy to move on.
Here is the resolution part. Since there is no part of my life that is concrete enough to hang activity centered resolutions on (join a gym!, eat more organic kale!, buy limited edition books by obscure authors before they go out of print!), I have turned inward this year to my brain. I am going to make the very simple straight forward resolution to think differently. (Yes, i know).
But, I really do want to think differently. Here is where my title and the antidote at the beginning of this mess come in. I want to ENJOY my life. It is a bit of a disaster right now (see above), but that doesn't mean there isn't beautifully sweet things in all that dung. I am married to a really GOOD man. I have a daughter whose imagination and kindness leaves me speechless. I have an amazing circle of friends and family who are endlessly loyal and supportive. I am not a boring person. I like lots of things (sweating my ass off in yoga, drinking wine while baking bread, the bits of thread that cover the floor when I am in the middle of a sewing coma). I am a person prone to worry and anxiety and it is easy for me to lose the beauty in the midst of all the unanswered questions in my life at this moment. I don't want to do that.
How do I enjoy my life more? I am not exactly sure. But, I know it has to do with my brain. I am a firm believer in Cognitive Therapy's understanding of the human existence. What you think effects how you feel and what you do. However, I do not think that CT does a great job of understanding how complicated things get up in there. But, caveats being what they are, you got to start somewhere and I can't afford psychoanalysis.
This is a lot of words to say that, this year, I am going to try to make space in my head and, subsequently in my feelings and actions, to enjoy my life. I want to be present with Alma when she commands me to sit on shoe box in the middle of the living room floor and use my "waves" (somehow, paddles have become waves in her brain) because the crocodiles are chasing us. And really, you need to hear this girl say "crocodile," it's amazing. Almost as amazing as when she says, "chimpanzee." I want to read books, because I like books. I want to have conversations with my husband and not just move rotely through the evening routine and then watch 3 episodes of Sons of Anarchy and crash into bed in an ugly people riding motorcycles hangover.
In this resolution, there are activities that look like normal action-driven resolutions (read more, do more yoga) but it all really comes down to how I think about my life. If I think that my life is really insane and stressful and awful right now and I don't have time/don't deserve to do frivolous things like read books and do yoga, then, resolutions smezolutions, I'm not going to do those things. I need to learn how to think about how doing the things I love and the things that help me feel more like me actually builds me up and makes me stronger and more able to manage uncertainty. It all sounds corny written out, but I think it makes sense to me.
Thats my resolution. 2011, put that in your pipe and smoke it.