Y’all. I am drowning. One single *artisanal handcrafted breakfast burrito request away from I don’t know what. My legal name is Mom, printed 8 times in a row — pretty sure it used to be something else. Honestly, I waffle between tapping into who I used to be and who I’m becoming, approaching midlife. Is now a good time to carve out my new identity? Probably not. Maybe? In my TikTok voice “I did it.”
The smallest things set me all the way off, current tipping point being constantly cooking for my family who is all home, all the time. To be clear, my children are simultaneously the pickiest and most explorative eaters you’ve ever met (*see burrito reference) which guarantees no meal is good enough as it’s either disgusting or boring. I very sincerely cannot take it anymore. For the sake of my soul and sanity, I’ve stopped cooking. Not all the way, of course, but mealtimes are scheduled ritualistically. Don’t worry, we’re nourished to a scientific fault. All the rules all followed: portions, options, colors, good vibes, balance and radically: no snacking. I had to get out of the kitchen and do something else.
Vulnerable alert: I’m severely COVID lonely. We never secured a bubble, so for a year, we’ve been living on an island somehow feeling the busiest without ever really accomplishing anything. Maybe the loneliness was the catalyst for it all. I needed an excuse to curb the slothly state into which we were slipping. The more I lost my mind (I mean this half-jokingly. Shout out to my therapist.), the more I gravitated toward projects that require more energy than I believed I had to spare. I started a cleaning and organizing business. Cool. I can control my client load and I love project-based activities. Obviously, right off the bat, I took on more than I can handle. Not so cool. Once I got that under control, I decided to go back to school for social work, a passion I’ve had my entire life and something that I did as a previous version of myself.
The kids are also virtual learning at home, and while my son is handling it like a champ, my daughter needs so much help I question how she made it in regular school without intervention. My home is a new age, one-room schoolhouse except my classes happen stealthily in the darkness of night where I hide in a closet like a feral nocturnal mutant, hoping my 6-year-old, alerted by my shrieks of anxiety, doesn’t barge in to see if I want a bite of the chicken nugget she found under the couch. I said no snacking, remember?
The last unit we covered in my methods course may as well been titled “For real though, you don’t want to be a social worker.” Even folks outside the industry know that this is a thankless job. All signs point to chaos. Do I enjoy pain? Do I love being broke? I must because I am fully undeterred. I’m finally feeling important again. I feel a part of the bigger picture which is so critical to my self-worth. I’m no longer only a burrito technician.
If you’ve got an impulse to do something new, something bigger, don’t be afraid to crack that egg, baby! Crack it. Scramble it. Devour it. Never have I been a member of the busy-all-the-time club. That’s a membership I can’t afford. However, once I was living in a space where I couldn’t tell if my pins were down or had disappeared (hello parenting during COVID uncertainty and dread), I knew I had a window of blank canvas opportunity.
Like Bill Hicks said, “It’s just a ride.” While he is right, life is a series of choices and perceived values — these decisions are serious and come at a cost. We all want to be happy. Maybe as we get older and that bar moves, what we really chase is not the prize but rather the need to feel the journey, the need to feel useful. What a bunch of bologna, right? I am not busy for the sake of being busy, but I’m definitely busy because I am reconnecting to my potential. This ride is nuts and there is room in the can for you as well.
Sarah is a Mom, mom, mommy, ma, comedian, professional organizer, budding social worker. Reliving childhood until aliens pick her up from band practice.