When we moved back to Austin, Claire was 3 months old and I was staying home with her. I didn’t mind it so much; she didn’t DO anything and I got to just sit around a lot.
But, a week or so after we moved back, JR started travelling. He was gone 9 weeks in a row. Not 9 weeks total, but he’d be gone 3 days here, then 4 days there. I don’t remember the days being all that bad, but the nights were hard. I wasn’t hanging out with the people I used to hang out with because I had a kid. I couldn’t just go out if I wanted to; I stayed home a lot.
JR’s friends really stepped up. A few times a week, usually when JR was gone, one or two of the boys would come over. We’d drink beers and talk. It was those nights that kept me from going crazy that first 9 weeks. I don’t know if you know this, but a 3 month old doesn’t have the best conversational skills. I’d ask Claire what she thought about the new movie that was out and the best answer I got was a blank stare. Sometimes she’d drool if she really enjoyed the conversation.
With our friends, I could have a conversation with someone who didn’t grunt when they were pooping. Or maybe they did, but being gentlemen they kept that from me. We didn’t talk about anything life changing; there wasn’t discussions about politics, or Kant, or the state of affairs of Cuba. But it was important to us. One of the guys was going through a divorce. He’s one of the most introspective people I’ve ever met, and it hurt me to see him as withdrawn as he was. Talking in our garage, over cheap beer, we worked out a lot of things. I didn’t directly benefit from any of them, and I don’t talk to him any more, but for that moment in time we really TALKED.
Soon, JR would stop travelling and start hanging out in the garage and the conversation would turn to less intrusive topics. Then I went back to work and stopped hanging out there altogether.
I was reminded of those late nights tonight. A friend of ours is leaving next Wednesday for New York. A few weeks ago he went to a 10 day acting workshop and was awarded a partial scholarship to an acting school. He tells me that he always liked to perform, but never thought he would act. Then one day, he just…decided to try it out. And he was hooked.
He’s 27. He’s been to college, he’s had a full-time job. And now he’s going to New York to persue a dream that he’s had since he was a kid, even if he didn’t realize it. I’m so envious.
Not about moving to New York, although I would love to live in a city like that. And not about the acting part, although I would like to act. I’m envious of him because he is doing what he wants to do. It’s not going to be easy, he’s not that naive, but he’s decided that this is what he loves and what he wants. And he’s working toward a goal.
We’ve lived in Houston for almost a year now and I’m still trying to find my place. I’ve taken up sewing, I turned the guest bedroom into a crafts room, I buy scrapbook paper and sharpies and fabric. Cork board lines my walls; I have a notebook labeled “Inspiration.” I subscribe to DIY blogs and decorating blogs and I visit forums. I have a folder labeled “Crafts” in my bookmarks and I add something to it every day.
But I’m not DOING anything. I know I want to create something, but I’m scared to try. I can’t draw, so I’m scared to try. Writing doesn’t come easy for me, so I just don’t write. Every night I find myself looking back over the day and wondering what it was that I did. What did I accomplish that day? What did I spend my time on? Usually the answer is “I finished the first season of True Blood, and started watching The Wire.”
My life can’t continue like this. I need something to work towards. I need deadlines, and specific goals, and they don’t have to cost money. If I want to write, I need to write. If I want to take beautiful pictures, I need to pick my camera up and fumble through it. I’ve gotten used to not doing anything that I’m not DOING anything.
Starting tonight, I will create something every day. It can be perfecting a drawing of a dandelion, or sewing a pillow case, or writing for 10 minutes. I need to work out my brain, to shake off the dust and cobwebs and push my limits.
Starting tonight, I will DO something.