Photo: Lily-Padily, doing it herself.
Earlier this year, I decided that my coffee addiction– cultivated in college, though the very first seeds were most certainly planted early on by my equally-enamored parents–was out of control. I hated feeling as if I needed that first cup in order to function during the day, and so I quit–forever, I assumed–and set out to find another boost.
Initially, I imagined that finding a substitute would be easy. But green tea? Not quite.
Before-the-sun runs? No thanks.
Morning meditation? The truth is, I’d really rather sleep.
After a fair amount of soul-searching and reflection on the much-less-tired times in my life, I realized that it wasn’t the java-jolt that I was after. Although I’d spent the last couple of years wishing that things would slow down for just a few minutes, I finally had the not-so-demanding (and totally family-focused) schedule that I’d wanted so badly– and I was completely, inexplicably exhausted. I missed the real energy that came from the challenging-yet-fulfilling teaching job I’d had in Colorado, and the incredible students and colleagues I used to spend my days with, and the informative and affirmative graduate classes that forced me to question everything. But most of all? I missed my friends, and my family, and feeling like I was part of a really amazing real-time network of people who were making things happen. And without those relationships– and without those opportunities to interact with people and ideas outside of my (wonderful!) little family on a daily basis–I felt totally tapped out.
These days, after my epiphany and months of eschewing caffeine, I guess I’ve fallen off of the wagon; I’ve definitely rediscovered coffee, and I enjoy—heartily–my mug of half-caf every morning. But Lily’s first birthday—and thesassy-pants, I’ll do it myself attitude that made an appearance at her party and has yet to leave—has really forced me to think about this next chapter in my own life. Because although Lily obviously still needs me, she needs me differently now—and I need to make sure that I have the energy to be the engaged, enthusiastic, and inspired resource-of-a-mom that I want her to have.
I’m not, however, entirely sure where to start—and so I’m relying, once again, on my amazing network of family and friends for a little inspiration:
What gives you energy? What keeps you going? And what fills up your tank when it feels reeeeal empty?