A reminder to myself when I feel stuck:
There will be time for yourself in just a few years. You are not immune to regret or the fear of missing out just because you have had plenty of partying and adventure. There are more flavors of yearning, other cravings to be had. You can still feel an itch to go to the gym regularly, a pang from a performance opportunity, a burning to write a novel by some age you’ve set as magic in your mind. And there isn’t nearly enough time these days. When everything feels static as photography, it is easy to fixate on the negatives. But there is plenty of time, I promise. Your child is only so dependent on you for two, maybe three years. Slowly, day by day and month by month, as they learn to amuse and take care of themselves, you will get back time to yourself. You will get to rebuild your muscles, lose that squishy belly, cook that complicated recipe, visit that hip new bar or fancy restaurant, rejoin the band, work through your reading list, and write—later. Even if you have another child or more, there will be time afterward. Our lives are so long now, our communities strong, our options abundant. Don’t let yourself get caught up in all the ways you could be more “productive” now. You have always put so much pressure on yourself, more than anyone else did. No one else is going to care how much you squat today, or that you hastened to churn out a soporific story at thirty just to say you did. If one trendy restaurant closes down, another will replace it soon enough. Don’t feel guilty or weak about cuddling your husband and baby a little while longer. Everything else can wait.