The only official goal I made for myself this year was to learn to walk in heels like a bad ass. Now I know we’re only halfway through February, but I’m doing exceptionally well with this. I’ve conquered the 2″ work heel, and have future plans to move on to the “Why yes, I will have another glass of Prosecco” heel in the near future.
I know, I know… I’m a hero to my generation.
That was the only official goal, but I had a lot more in the back of my mind that I wanted to tackle this year. The most ambiguous of these desires was attempting to find peace with my two sides of self – the writer and the rider.
Traditionally, I’m the kind of person who will throw my entire self into something. When we bought our first house in 2011, I was ready for my own show on HGTV. In college it was about being the deepest and most introspective 20 year old poet the world had ever seen. After I got Simon, distances and lead changes were all I could think about. Plus we can’t forget my brief yet highly intense foray into showing model horses which solidified my status as a bonafide crazy person.
After Tim died, the rope anchoring these transient passions snapped. I had just witnessed the person I loved more than anyone else in the world become a victim of his depression, and it made me acutely aware of how temporary our emotional stability can be. Nothing else mattered but getting through my widowhood while safely outside the confines of a mental hospital. The hobbies and activities I felt passionately about before, even Simon, suddenly became trite. I tried to dabble in showing and training seriously again, but my heart wasn’t in it for quite a while.
Last summer and into the fall, my happiness was the only thing that was important. I quietly nurtured it like a bonsai tree, stroking the tiny leaves and spritzing the twisted branches. I was constantly aware that it was in danger of withering away at any minute.
Sometimes the world was too much, the winds too strong, and I’d keep my little tree locked away in the safety of my apartment. We’d lie on the couch and mindlessly watch television, slipping out of consciousness in the drone of voices and colors.
Other times I’d have to lean in close to hear it whisper. “What’s that, little tree? You want a new wallet and Kate Spade is having a secret sale?”
You have to admit, my happiness has good taste.
As the deepest fog of my grief started to lift, I realized that life seemed kind of empty. Did I really just spend 24 hours watching Doctor Who and eating mini Reeses? I had, but I was ready to do more. As I began to wake up, I responded to my months of apathy by doing all the things.
Away weekend horse show? Yes please! Seven week long memoir writing class? Oh, that sounds like a fabulous idea. LET’S BUY A HOUSE. LET’S DO ALL THE DIY PROJECTS. Dinner with a friend! Ride the pony more! Cocktails! Happy hour! Tinder! Re-do the my laundry room before I start unpacking!
Everything! All the the things! All the passions at once!
I am busier than every before, and haven’t felt a moment of “I’m bored” in months. Instead of putting my whole self into different fleeting passions, I put as much of myself as possible into everything at the same time. The more I stacked into my schedule, the more things began to tear at the seams. The horse isn’t getting ridden as much as before (yet the show is creeping up on me), the DIY projects in the house are pretty half assed and the writing is pretty decent… when I have time to sit down and focus on it (which is not often).
I’m no longer living a polarized, one-track-mind life… but I’m not sure it’s any better.
This is what I know right now: I like Kate Spade and Kate Chopin. Prufrock and ponies. Fixer Upper and fixed stride lines. My house needs to feel comfortable and happy for me, but perhaps not magazine worthy. I need riding for my center and writing for my soul.
Oh, and I look pretty awesome in heels – I know that too.