Looking at life a year ago

photo-293I use a lot of time logs in I Know How She Does It. One (it was only fair) is mine. I kept it during a week in mid-March, 2014, when I was deep into analyzing the logs I’d received. It wasn’t a terribly remarkable week, except recording it means I now have memorialized that week as what life was like then. I can look back on my life during that week a year ago, and see what is the same and what has changed.

My first thought is that I was getting into a real groove in terms of being able to set my schedule. No one was a baby, and the kids were all predictably sleeping past 7. That meant I could get up at 6 and know I’d get in an hour of work before family breakfast. I was spending the mornings working on the Mosaic Project, breaking for lunch with my 4- and 2-year-old at noon, working again with a workout break in the afternoon.

Not all days went like that, of course. There are no “typical” weeks. The Thursday of that week I went shopping with a friend after lunch (I am still loving the jeans I bought that day!), and then got a text from my nanny that my 6-year-old had a performance with the Chinese language club at school that afternoon that somehow I hadn’t had on the schedule. So I came back, picked everyone up, and we made it to the auditorium on time. We made it to the YMCA and to the Cub Scouts pinewood derby that weekend. My husband and I went on a date night. We went to church, and the choir performed a “Bluegrass Mass” in lieu of a service. I took the 2-year-old out for sundaes. Because no one was a baby, it was starting to be possible to relax on weekends with the kids around.

Now there are more of us. It is funny to think that during that week in March, I was still 2 months away from learning I was expecting my little dude, and here I am with a 2-month-old baby. When you’re in the midst of it, a pregnancy seems endless, but it’s not actually that long. In my case, it was about 35 weeks from feeling that familiar wave of nausea to my crazy fast delivery. I was counting days, all 245 of them, but seeing my log from a year ago reminds me that it was just 245 days — much less, even, than the 365 that make a year.

Because I’ve plunged myself back into the baby stage, my schedule looks different now. I’m up by 6 a.m. many mornings, but I’m nursing, not working. I suppose I could turn on the light and try to get some reading done, but I’m generally trying to catch a few more minutes of sleep at that point. Especially on weekends, I’ll bring the baby into bed to feed him and wake up at some point significantly later noting that we have both fallen asleep. That’s one upside of breastfeeding. I have no idea how I’d prop up a bottle and sleep.

The book that the Mosaic Project became is now finished, though it has an entirely different name. I’m happy with the way that turned out. My son quit the Cub Scouts, but we’re still going to the YMCA (well, I haven’t been going since I don’t want to expose the baby to germs, but the rest of the family is). I may be running more than I did that week in 2014, as we didn’t have a treadmill then and the snowy iciness made outside running unpleasant. Yes, it was snowy and icy into March in 2014 as well. I just started running outdoors again this week, and it’s been awesome, but the treadmill is awesome for making exercise possible in any circumstance.

I’m still breaking for lunch with the kids most days, though now with my daughter and baby son, as the 5-year-old is in full day school. My client mix is similar to what it was then, which is comforting for this free agent sort. The writing life features a lot of churn. Apparently there was less churn in the last year than there could have been.

I still multi-task too much. I seem to spend more time at the grocery store now than in 2014. Maybe it’s because I’m looking for excuses to get out of the house.

In any case, looking at my time log from a year ago reminds me that it has been a full year. There is much lodged in my memory now that didn’t exist then: the process of writing another 80,000 word book, publishing a novel, crossing “going to the Netherlands during tulip time” off my bucket list, the Napa/Sonoma wine trip that my little dude was apparently around for, though not terribly multi-cellular at that point. I’m grateful that the nausea hit a week after I ate at French Laundry (another bucket list item), rather than before. And, of course, a baby! That can fit in the 8760 hours that make a year, too.

What’s changed for you over the past year?

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