When do you know you’ve become an adult?
Nearly 12 years into marriage, 5 kids, a B.A., & 8 years of paying a mortgage, I think I am may know the answer to that question, at least for myself.
I have thought about you dear reader for the past month & a half. I have thought about this blog, I have thought about writing.
I have thought about time spent doing the all the little life things, & mom things, wife things, friend things, & church things. I have wondered how it all is to be done.
At times I have shoved those thoughts into the back recesses of my mind, only focusing on the warmth of my two year old next to me as I read him Curious George Goes to the Zoo for the fifth time in a day.
At times I have pulled them out, one by one, polishing & shining each one to a glaring brilliance. I have thought & thought until those thoughts seemed to just nestle over me, like a little rain cloud of doubt, following me everywhere I go.
These past few months have been my rite of passage into adulthood.
As strange as it is to say, the birth of my first child, or fifth, turning 30, or finally landing a “real” job–none of these made me think I had arrived to adulthood.
It’s been this slow process of metamorphosis. I suppose it was always happening, sort of under the radar, hardly detectable to even someone pretentiously self-aware as I.
Until, recently, it hit me.
Somewhere between dropping my daughter off at dance lessons & picking my other one up at preschool, it hit me. I realized I am an adult now. A bona fide, responsible, bill-paying adult.
Joseph has been gone quite a bit the last few months.
A recent stretch, for 5 weeks.
If manning the world on your own, in a foreign country, oceans away from the nearest extended family member, with children a plenty to care for doesn’t strike some adult-ness into your senses, I don’t know what will.
During the month of March while Joseph was gone we dealt with*: 1 case of strep throat (my oldest), 1 case of type A influenza (me), 3 cases of a bad chest cold (me & my two youngest), & 4 cases of a weird stomach bug (me & 3 of my kids).
It was rough.
Sheesh, what am saying?
My house was a hell-hole for 5 weeks.
(Maybe a slight exaggeration??)
Nope, it was the very pit of outer darkness.
Stacks of dishes, piles of laundry, wading through diapers & homework assignments, navigating it all without the help of Joseph. There is nothing liberating about being a single woman when you have kids, especially a single sick woman. I realize I was not, nor am a single mom. But I was guarding the gate, so to speak, solo for a good 5 weeks, & it is both emotionally & physically exhausting.
Yet, somehow, we managed!
When I wasn’t sick, I was appreciating not being sick. When I was sick, especially those 3 days when I had the flu & couldn’t even get out of bed (a sweet, sweet friend helped me out & took care of my kids), I lay in bed, just lay there thinking about how amazing it is not to feel sick.
*This was a very strange, & rare stretch of sicknesses for us. We are generally a very healthy bunch, though the last time I was sick was right before my miscarriage & Joseph was gone then too! Joseph is convinced my immunity is somehow wrapped up in his presence, which, he maybe onto something.
I’ve been blogging for 7 years.
(Hard to believe it’s been 7 years since this post.)
I started when my oldest was 3, & he is almost 11 now.
In 7 more years, he’ll be getting ready to graduate from high school. High school!
More than anything, being sick, being the military wife of a husband who has been gone frequently, & having some very up close & personal experiences with my children, I’ve realized this one, especially poignant truth: there are moments, fleeing moments, that add up to years, & those years pass quickly. So you’d better not waste any time on pointless, dumb stuff.
In my 20’s I was super ambitious.
I would regularly pull all-nighters (or sleep just a few hours a night) so I could clean my house, teach fitness classes, blog, & take care of my little ones.
I am just not that person anymore.
In recent years, & more acutely since we moved to Okinawa (living on a sub-tropical island has a way of helping you hone in on what really matters) I realized that sleep, like breathing, is sorta my thing. As in, I need a square 7.5 hours, & a nap for good measure. My younger self used to sacrifice sleep at the expense of so many other things, but I’m not doing that anymore. I’m happier, & healthier, but unfortunately less productive.
I’ve also come to terms with the fact that I’m a lousy blogger.
This is going to make me sound like an old geezer, but I don’t care a bit about social media (who has the time) aside from an occasional Facebook post. I probably spend a total of 20 minutes a week on Facebook. (I don’t have a smartphone so that probably helps.)
I don’t care about page views, followers, or even making money.
In the 7 years I’ve had this blog I’ve had several millions of page views, which isn’t too bad for an itty bitty niche blog like mine. I do make a little money with advertising & sales of my ebooks, but it’s rather paltry when compared to all the thousands & thousands of hours I’ve actually put into this thing. I know I could make more money if I wanted to spend the time to do it, but I just want to create (ie. write), not market. And sadly, that will always make me a poor blogger.
My perspective on creating recipes has morphed a little too.
I do love to develop recipes & share them (hey, check out my recipe index!), but thinking of creating something that is “pinnable” or will drive traffic sort of saps all the fun out of it. How many vegan chocolate chip cookie recipes do we really need??? (Oh wait, I have two.) Or does anyone really need to know how to make their own ketchup??
Also, I don’t want to “reinvent the wheel” so to speak, & I’ve learned that you really only need about a dozen solid meal templates (or less if you’re good with monotony) to keep your palate & tummy happy. (Hey, on that note, check out my 30 day meal plan, I mean, if you want to.)
Not to mention…time!
I just don’t have the time to allocate to the sort of attention to detail that recipe posts require. (Though I still have a queue of recipes I need to put up on the blog, & won’t give up on the dream of getting to it at some point, however slowly.)
This is not to say that I don’t absolutely love blogging, or at least certain aspects of it. (I do, & have written quite a bit on the subject, here.)
I haven’t given up on it. After all, this blog has been a part of my life for the greater part of my twenties & now thirties. There’s a reason I haven’t given it up, & it’s YOU! Yes you, you gorgeous, intelligent reader you.
I love engaging with you (even though I’ve been a pretty big slacker on that front in recent years) & receiving emails or messages that keep me honest & get me thinking.
All this to say, in a long-winded slightly divergent way is that these points were a part of the internal conversation I had with myself, you know, all those thoughts.
And I came to the conclusion, sort of at the same time I realized I was now an adult, that hey, I can do whatever I want!!
Nobody is putting me in a box except myself.
If I want to write more than anything else, I need to write!
I like taking pictures, I like making good food, but above all, I am a writer.
I know many of you dear readers found me because you googled “vegan” or “vegan mormon” or “weight loss.”
I like talking about health stuff, I like sharing insights into sustainable weight loss & positive body image, I like sharing gluten-free, plant-based recipes, but you know, that’s not my only schtick. I love life, & I want to write about it, in whatever many interesting forms it takes.
And let’s be honest. I can’t even begin to compete with other sites & bloggers who churn out recipe after recipe. That’s just not my season right now.
I’m a mom of 5 & I’m very much a military wife, keeping the fort down while Joseph is off helping, in his small but important way, to defend the free world (yes it truly is as sexy as it sounds, especially when he’s in those blues!).
Yeah, I guess you could say I’m an adult now.
I’m back, back, back. I’m serious this time. I really do miss blogging & engaging with you! I pinky promise I will be more regular around here if you promise to comment now & then, or send me an email or message by carrier pigeon (that would be super cool!).
Other bring joy posts you might want to check out: