Seemed like we kept waiting for Fall to happen here in New York. An endless string of 70 degree days, well into deep October, and the trees hadn’t gotten the memo to change colors. Then one day it did and it got cold overnight, and we pulled out our boots and scarves and wondered if that was it. I know it’s technically still Fall, but the darkness that settles amid the late afternoon shadows around 4:30 makes it feel like it’s already winter. It never got cold enough when it counted for the leaves to give us their usual show of colors and for that reason it feels like we got ripped off of our favorite season.
This Fall has been interesting, that is for certain. I am always grateful to have freelance work, but this Fall has been unexpected. I pretty much threw out any attempt at having some balance between work, life, and creative endeavors and decided that if this rather insane work schedule was happening, then I was just going to make the money and be fine with it. I mostly am. I look back to May when I had more time and was able to do things like draw everyday and dream about being some kind of artist, but at this point, that day seems far away. Maybe I was waiting for something big to happen. It never came.
The business is chugging along, but for the first time in 7 years, I don’t have a calendar for sale. We’re heading into the holiday season and I wonder what December will bring. Another year flying by, right in front of our eyes.
I don’t feel like much of a business woman these days. My growing disinterest in social media isn’t really helping matters either. I think we’ll always have that nagging voice questioning whether we are making the right choices, but we have to remind ourselves that our definition of success might be different from other entrepreneurs anyway. I flip back and forth between thinking that we aren’t doing enough, to breathing a sigh of relief that we’re not in debt and doing just fine––not super great or where we want to be––but fine. It isn’t always easy to accept “just fine” when you’re ambitious and competitive, and I know I say this a lot, but it’s because it’s still something I struggle with. So I try not to question too much and be grateful for all the good things in our lives, of which there are many. Mostly, though, I try not to show the girls that deep down, for me, being fine isn’t really good enough.
Right now, however, aside from juggling too much work, I am mostly a parent. I don’t think I’ve parented this much in all of the years that I’ve been one. Helping kids with homework and emotional growth as they travel through middle school is no joke. 8th graders in NYC also have the immense task of applying to high schools, and along with it come months of test prep, audition practice, essay writing and school tours. I’ve mentioned it before here, but we’re in the thick of it now. I might write about it again, maybe later after applications are in or when the kid gets her results in March, but right now it’s consuming our lives (hence the lack of a calendar this year––something had to give). The upside is that I’ve learned a lot about my kid. It’s also made me examine quite a few things about myself and question priorities. I can’t help but think that my generation was the last generation to experience truly innocent childhoods. The world is a different place––a more confusing place––and I wonder what future our kids will have as they grow into adulthood. As it is, 8th grade feels like the last year where kids get to be kids.
Life feels particularly uncertain these days. Even the usual rhythm of seasons was off. But Fall did come eventually, as it always does. On last weekend’s trip to the Botanical Gardens up in the Bronx, the girls played in the forests like kids, role playing and setting up imaginary houses, and I searched for leaves and other interesting treasures. Once home, I stuck the leaves in a big heavy book that I’ll probably forget about. I’ve opened up books and have had leaves tumbling out of pages––a nice surprise. I won’t remember when I placed them there. Maybe that too is a reminder that these days and struggles that we’re living in now, will someday just be a small bump in our lives.