Mia turned ten months today. I wanted to feel some amount of excitement over the milestone, but sifting through any kind of emotion is a tricky prospect these days. My soul is a bit of a minefield, and I've found that the best way to keep it diffused is to humor whatever mood it drapes over me for just long enough to recognize the meaning and then tuck it away beneath some form of distraction.
This gets me through the days well enough, but doesn't leave much room for adaptation. I'm ridiculously short on patience and general coping skills, and practically bereft of any urge towards spontaneity.
Still, I felt a pang when I finally made the silent decision not to try for any photographs today.
It wasn't a decision influenced entirely by my state of mind; the truth is that Mia has a bit more recovering to do from her cold, just as I do from my stubborn grief-demons. However, it occurred to me today as I considered that she probably just needs a day or two more for her head to start clearing, her nose to cease its running, and her energy and appetite to return, that I can't take nearly so passive an approach to my own healing.
Getting out on Sunday was hard and scary, but it was a positive thing; a step in the right direction. I know in my heart the importance of taking more steps just like that one, but I get bogged down in the anxiety that comes with any change of routine. The answer, then, is to establish a new one.
Given that the current routine is bereft of even the occasional outings I used to manage, it will be a tough process just to get back to the old "normal." It's important, I think, to start by changing things up a bit at home. Making small improvements to get the house back in order. Taking time to do the things I used to feel compelled to do for the enjoyment of them.
Like those "Month" pictures.
I'm not feeling it right now, but I know all too well that sometimes you just have to do a thing, and the appreciation will come later. John Lennon penned the famous line that "Life is what happens to you when you're making other plans," and while it's mainly a poignant observation about the unpredictability of our time here on earth, since it randomly came to mind in recent days I'm trying to also see it as a reminder that you've got to keep making those plans, despite the uncertainty of their outcome.
I made a lot of very specific plans recently that fell through in the most painful way imaginable. This time, my plan is far more vague but pretty essential: to do what it takes to start living- really living, in a meaningful way- again.
Perhaps tomorrow that will mean a photo session. Perhaps it will mean, instead, something smaller and more manageable. Whatever it is, I know the key is to keep plodding along, pushing forward. Somewhere in there, life will start to feel like a life again, I know.
If I ever forget, I'm sure she will be all too happy to remind me.
She's not going to stop growing anytime soon, so I'd better make sure I pay attention.