For some unknown reason, I made an 8am dental appointment which required that I leave the house yesterday morning before anyone else woke up. Not exactly how I wanted to spend one of my vacation mornings, but taking a walk in my neighborhood—still quiet and sleepy—was a nice change, and it made me realize that I just don’t do that anymore. I missed it, especially this time of year when brownstones are dressed up in festive Christmas lights and twisted strands of evergreens.
My routine nowadays involves a subway ride into Manhattan and back again 8 hours later. I was not intending to look for a job this year, but when opportunities come up, as it did this Fall, it makes you reexamine your life at different angles. Ironically, it took getting a full time job and a fixed routine to find better work/life balance and healthier habits. The freelance life, with its unpredictable schedule, lack of stability, and lack of any defined working hours finally took its toll this year. But the real impetus was the constant worry over health insurance—it didn’t seem likely that this country would figure that out anytime soon. Daily commute on the subway aside, I’m happier overall. This, coming from someone who fiercely protected flexibility and freedom above all. Sometimes, priorities that was once thought critical do change.
Some parents will tell you that the teenage years are the years that you’ll want to be at home because this is when your kids will need you most. I tend to agree, and I’m happy to have been there through the middle school years for the most part when so much change and transformation happens. Our business allows some flexibility, so I’m comforted that the kids will have a parent around when they get home from school most days, aside from busy holiday times. So much of this blog over the past 11 years was about the challenge of work and childcare. It feels amazing to be on the other side where that no longer factors into employment and careers. Even a time jump of a few years from my last full time job makes a huge difference when I was still worrying about random school days off and vacations. We’re at a point where we’ll be facing an empty nest in about 5 and half years. 5 years! That’s it! And it’ll flash before our eyes. So then what? I see the value in doubling down on my career, and the first step was getting back to a job. Yes, priorities do change, and stability and growth for the first time wins over flexibility and freedom.
I think by all accounts, 2018 was a good year (I’m not touching on any politics here). We had Europe; I finally redesigned our packaging; the kid successfully got into the high schools she wanted. And as I walked home yesterday from the dentist’s office without leaving any payment for the visit for the first time, my steps into 2019 were a little lighter.