August took a lot out of me, writing-wise. I showed up here every day. I wrote and rewrote an epic 50 page memo that made its way into the hands of the chairman of my firm. (When I think about that, I try not to think about the fact that the first and most emphatic compliment I got from the assigning partner was that he was duly impressed by the fact that I sneaked the f-word in there. Twice.) I let the sap drip all over the card I gave Bob on our anniversary. (When I think about that, I try not to think about the fact that he gave me a funny card with a muffin and a pat of butter that were in love or the fact that I should have gone with my first instinct and gotten him the card with a bacon strip and an egg that were dancing.) I tried my hand at quipping on twitter and google+. And then I dropped off the radar, because writing is hard, ya’ll. So hard that all I’ve got for my big comeback is a “what I’ve been up to” post. So, here’s what I’ve been up to in September:
Working, a whole lot. It’s funny. My firm changed its hours in a way that is favorable to associates, a way that would let me satisfy the annual billable hours requirement without killing myself. And here I am, a few weeks into the new policy, killing myself really for the first time since I started my job in January. Except it doesn’t feel like killing myself. It’s not sustainable, but it’s also not that bad.
Working out, a whole lot. I hate diets and exercise program and I especially hate fad diets and exercise programs and I loathe paying a lot of money to feel like I’m being healthy. Also, I’m big on making fun of people. (I’m not proud of it, it’s just true.) But for the last three weeks I’ve been doing an overpriced fad exercise program that I make fun of. It feels kind of great, to be challenging my body in a new way. Also, I might be able to do a pull up at the end of the 90 days.
Watching TV, a whole lot. Sometimes when I’m feeling super prosaic, I’ll have an entire conversation with someone about the recent Netflix price increase and the comparative costs and benefits of Hulu, Vudu, the Redbox, and stealing my trash TV from sketchy Japanese websites. And then I realize that this is even worse than talking about TV. So we stopped whining about paying for Netflix, and switched. Now instead of pretending to be snobs who have arty critically acclaimed films that we could never find at the video store delivered to our mailbox (only to be returned a week later, unwatched), we watch The Office and American Family on Hulu like everybody else. (I’m still a TV snob, though. Does anybody want to talk about Breaking Bad?)
Listening to music, a whole lot. I used to write on the bus, and listen to NPR. Now, I listen to September music (read: longing, melodic, and sad in a good way) and watch the lake slide past. I used to come home from work at night, hop on the computer and pound out a blog post before or after dinner. Now, after three weeks away, I don’t even check my stats. Instead, I put on a record, sit on the kitchen floor, and watch Bob make dinner. I tell him about work and work gossip until he gets bored, and then he tells me about the dog and what he did around the apartment until I get bored, and then we eat, and then after dinner we clean and listen to more music. I feel like I found a part of myself that was missing, stuck in the back of the dusty green crate where I started storing vinyl years before I ever had a player to spin it on.
Overall, I feel less crazy than I did when I started this blog. I’m always talking about blogging, and why I’m here, and not just because I’m a narcissist and not just because I’m a former lit major obsessed with all things meta. I talk about blogging because I want to remember why I started writing out loud like this, and not lose sight of that initial purpose, which was to find a community that made me feel not so lost (for lack of a more descriptive, less angsty word).
One thing about me is that I’ve never really second-guessed a decision that I made. That’s not to say they’ve all been stellar — I’ve made plenty of questionable, inexplicable, embarrassing, and downright terrible choices over the years. I’ve also made a lot of good ones, though, and together they all led to a life that made me pretty damn happy almost all of the time. When I graduated last year, and passed the bard, and got married, and went on a European honeymoon extravaganza, and then moved to Chicago to start a new job all in the span of five months, I realized just how extraordinarily lucky I was, and I gave thanks for every little decision and gift and turn of events that led me to that point. And then I started my new life as a lawyer and wife and a city-dweller and I came down from my high because life was still hard and suddenly I couldn’t see what came next. I didn’t regret a thing, but I missed the sense of self-assurance that I’d had virtually my entire life.
I knew this had less to do with the particular circumstances of my life and more to do with being suddenly grown up. I knew there were other people out there, maybe not living through the same things, but feeling lots of similar things. I came here to find them. To find you. All of this writing and talking and confronting not always pretty truths is exhausting, but it’s working. I feel less crazy than I used to, and less unsure about what’s next, but I plan to keep writing my way through it.