2014 Review

2104 was busy. We grew, we saved, we traveled, we swam, we planned, and we tried new things. I got better at cooking, Eva got better at talking and Sosh got better at coding stuff (and explaining to me what he was coding.) We got a year older, two of the three of us changed jobs, one of us mastered object permanence and saying ‘please’ (it’s exactly who you’d think), all of us forgot to call various peoples on their birthdays, and we all toyed with new hobbies- woodworking, jewelry-making, and potty-training (again, exactly who you’d think).

2015 is opening up some new opportunities for the Howells of Atlanta. There’s some stuff we’ll have to let go in order to make room for the new possibilities. To that end, I’m letting go of old identities, styles, and expectations. Also, I cleaned out the fridge. 2015 is off to a running start!

Dancing in Space/Time

I used to consider myself “A Dancer.” It was a persona I adopted and one of the first things in life besides reading that I ever established a flashy proficiency in. I lived/loved/breathed dancing for a number of years. Long after I didn’t do that anymore, I still considered myself “A Dancer,” just one that was on a break. 90’s kids know how well that worked out for Ross and Rachel.

Yea, 2015 is the year I let that go. I’m no longer “A Dancer.” I’m someone who occasionally dances and could slide through a swingout if the moment were right. I just can’t pretend anymore. Moving on…

2015 for the Howells of Atlanta

We’ve got a lot happening this year. We’re planning to move to a house with a real yard, Sosh sold his first company and is moving on to his next adventure, we will (so help me 8 pound, 6 ounce Baby Jesus) potty train our Little Tater, I’m working on new business ventures that will hopefully render me a thousandaire in the near future, and we’re starting a bunch of new family traditions now that Eva is old enough to remember them.

One of the first family traditions we will be starting will be a belated Virtual Christmas card to everyone. It should roll in around late February, like a little gift you weren’t even expecting. I could pretend that next year I’ll get a Christmas card together and out in time, but I think realism is more fun.

We’re doing virtual cards to save trees and time and so that I can do a longer update on what our family is doing.

(By the way, thank you to everyone who thoughtfully sent us Christmas cards! They were all so gorgeous and orgainzed and timely.)

Other family traditions on the “To Start’ list:

  • beach vacation!one of my fav pics ever of Eva and I !!
  • a family portrait
  • celebrating Halloween with actual costumes and celebrations
  • exploring Atlanta with Eva
  • decorating for each of the holidays

…really everything after that I can think of after that is just a hopeful plan for activities we’ll enjoy, like getting out more and spending time with friends. Not really traditions, but ways to enjoy life.

Seriously, we’re busy but in a very good place. It’s been tough to let go of the identity of ‘Dancer’ (more for me than for the Hubs), but I think I’m finally there. We’ve got a lot of adventures planned for our Little Tater this year, and I’m looking forward to see what 2015 will bring!


 

Full disclosure: I wrote that in early January. How time does fly!

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Let’s Talk About Our Cultural Double Bind- A Work-Life Balance

There are a lot of messages that people get from our modern American culture- one of the most pervasive is the message that you can achieve work-life balance, if you just do it right. I’ve always thought this idea smelled strongly of bullshit, but I’ve never really been able to articulate why.

Women, especially, are told that we HAVE TO master this, or else our children/marriage/health/careers/appeal/earning power/worth will suffer irrevocably. And the implication is that it’s completely doable.

Just seize the day!

(And do it without compromising your dedication to others or your job.)


I’ve recently discovered a new blog that I’ve been devouring. It’s the business/career advice blog of a self-described ‘neurotic Jew with Asperger’s Syndrome-‘ Penelope Trunk.

penelopeHer writing style is crisp, blunt and utterly-free of brand-management bullshit. Her topics are relevant and intensely interesting. She’s open about where she flounders in a way that seems totally un-staged.

It’s hypnotic. I’ve been binge-reading her blog for days and I just keep going deeper and deeper into her perspective of current culture.

The post I read yesterday that absolutely stopped my internal world was this: a post about Work-Life Balance and how it’s a myth.

Women need to hear this- often and loudly. She points out an often ignored piece of reality- that adulthood involves sacrifices and that you can’t have it all. You really, really can’t.

You choose to care for kids, and you will take a career hit. You choose to focus on career and you give up something of the flexibility that is vital to raising kids. It’s next to impossible to do both, and the celebrities/public figures who make themselves out to be just-another-working-mom who manage to actually handle this challenge (I’m looking at you, Marissa Mayer) are full of it. Period.

Our culture doesn’t reward the hard, full time work that is raising kids. There is lip-service paid to Moms (and Dads), but no monetary recognition of the contribution they make to society. I’d like to think the least we can do is not lie to ourselves and others about the sacrifices that are an unavoidable part of parenthood.

You can’t raise kids and commit to a full-time career in the way that American Culture demands. We just aren’t set up for it. At some point, you have to choose where your priorities lay, and accept the consequences of that choice.

I love the fact that Penelope Trunk actually points this out in a clear, unapologetic way. She points out A LOT of other things about our culture that are very poorly arranged. I may not agree with all of it, but she makes very interesting points, and I do agree with almost all of it.

Just wanted to share this tonight. Please read a bit of her blog and see if some of her points resonate with you. If you’re a woman (kids or not, married or not), trying to balance life in the face of an entire mountain of Shoulds, please read some of this and let me know if you see what I see- an open letter about all the double binds that our society pretends are not there.

But we feel them. Right?