Don’t know what a life reset is? No worries. I don’t exactly know what it is either. I came up with the term when I was throwing around the concept of changing not what I do in my life, but rather my approach to my life.
The infrastructure of my life is beautiful: I have a great job that pays me well and I have fun running a growing business from my house. I’m blessed with a great family and a bright future as a wife, mom, coach, and student of life. I do not want to trade or get rid of any of these things, but I’ve been sort of just, “floating” between them.
I wake up, I go to work, I check in with my challengers and team, I contribute to the curriculum department at my job to create new, cutting edge course material, I exercise, I get other people to exercise, I cook food, I hug and kiss my daughter, I hold hands with my husband…eventually it becomes a really big blur of moving pieces. I love all of these pieces dearly, but I am not truly cherishing them as I know I can. The reason? I’m spread too thin, I’m running in circles, and I’m burning my metaphoric energy candle at both ends most days.
This need for change has been evident for a while, but I wasn’t truly moved to make a change until: 1) after my enlightening visit to see my cousin and his wife in Chicago, and 2) I gained some perspective on just exactly what being in my 30s means in relation to my 20s, which are already over, and my 40s which are approaching.
Being around my cousin and his wife last week showed me what potential one could have if they utilize some proper planning, but also leave space for the fun. He’s always kind of been more like an older sibling to me and I’ve watched as he’s met and married his wife, and witnessed as they became parents alongside Fabian and I as their daughter is less than three weeks older than Kennedy. They are not perfect people, but they are definitely the kind of people who you want to have rub off on you because of the cohesiveness of their union, the forward progression of their personal and professional lives, and they still manage to remain relatable, lovable people in the process, which is rare. They also enjoy their life. No, not by base jumping or swimming in diamonds or sleeping on sandy beaches every weekend, but by building simple, yet gratifying activities into their day-to-day. I felt a sense of refresh come over me by staying with them for a week because though they wrangle a lot in their lives – business trips, raising a toddler, paying bills, budgeting, and the woes of living far away from family – they still find the time, energy, patience, and ability to enjoy the life they’ve built. This was eye-opening to me.
The second event that woke me up to my need for change, believe it or not, was Ali Wong’s stand-up special, “Baby Cobra,” which I watched while nursing a cold on the couch a few nights ago. My husband watched it first and recommended it, and boy, does he know me.
Ali Wong had me in stitches. I’ll save the review of her show for another platform, as most readers don’t come here for my commentary on television specials. One reason I enjoyed her candid, vulgar set so much is because I could relate on a variety of levels.
She’s a thirtysomething. She wasn’t swept off her feet when she met her now husband (a graduate of Harvard Business School). She struggled with fertility issues before finally conceiving her first child (she’s actually in her second trimester during the special). She isn’t some dainty, pretty girl with dainty, pretty thoughts – the woman explains her obsession with porn, her envy of housewives and stay at home moms, her feelings about her maturing from a hot, young 18-year-old to a still young, but getting older 34 year old, and her resentment of teenage girls for their effortless ability to be firm, tight, gorgeous, and desirable. While maybe not all of those areas apply to me exactly, I laughed along with Ali’s audience because I could relate.
The broad beacon of reason in Ali’s special was that though she, and many other thirtysomething women in the US, might not have it all together, she’s doing her best to make sure that what she does have is freaking awesome. She spoke frankly about the fact that your 30’s are all about recharge, renewal, refocus, and inner growth as she explained that she and her husband enjoy going on yoga retreats, listening to relaxation podcasts, and taking it easy at home. Funny, because I can relate there as well! Though her journey through adulthood has included some embarrassing moments and heartbreak, she’s fixed her gaze upon looking forward and carving out a beautiful path for herself, wherever it may lead.
Funny, you’d think that the two events that moved me to want to change my life so much would be more massive and significant than one trip to see family and a comedy special, but it really is as simple as those two things that put me in a position to write this blog post today.
I am no longer 26. When I was 26, I had what seemed like endless energy. I could run in circles if I wanted to because A) I probably wouldn’t even notice what I was doing and B) I had the gas to push through something like that without becoming weary. At 32, I’m not old, but I’m certainly not as full of energy as I once was. If I’m going to exert myself, I need to be happy about it at the end of the day.
I used to think that the expectations placed on me by my job and by my friends and by my parents were obligations I’d need to live up to. I’ve learned now that the only people I’m truly obligated to are my husband, our daughter, and myself. Everyone and everything else is accessory, especially with regard to my work. I have never been labeled as lazy because I am not, but I am also no longer interested in being a workhorse. I flat out told my boss that I, “may or may not meet” a deadline when approached with a task last week. The Antoinette of 2007 would’ve worked extra hours to appease the boss, and the Antoinette of 2012 would shake in her heels while trying to take a stand. I’ve dropped all pretense.
The question I’ve had to ask myself: Who am I trying to impress? The neighbors? Some group of girls I went to college with? My coworkers? People at a party? I don’t go to parties, ever, and if I lost stature with any of the other aforementioned groups it wouldn’t make a lick of difference in my life. I’d still live in this bangin’ house. I’d still be Mrs. Oesterlein. I’d still be Kennedy’s mom. Jesus would still love me.
So, rather than throw my New Year’s resolutions down the tube for yet another year, I’m going to attempt to turn it around by truly re-centering myself so that I can better attack my anxiety, get a handle on my time management, be a better wife to my husband, be a better mom to my child, and my favorite of this already fantastic list: add more value to the world around me. I want to live purposefully, intentionally, and fully while I still have the time to.
This will likely manifest in a series of other posts from me, so stay tuned.