Today, I woke to an early alarm, after tossing and turning all night. I kept feeling a pressure behind my belly button – probably brought on by trying a Pilates DVD new core exercise (that and the fact that my belly is rapidly expanding).
I dressed quickly, downed some Vega and lifted shoulders/hamstrings at the gym. I thought about our Valentine’s Day – and how perfectly sweet it was. And how every single day, I continue to fall harder and more deeply in love with my husband.
Coming back, I finished my articles and tasks quickly and then had a cancelled afternoon meeting, suddenly freeing me up for the day. I looked around the condo. I didn’t feel like going out, but I didn’t feel like staying in. The word “should” kept permeating my brain, and yet I shut it out.
I should get started on my book.
I should get my taxes in order.
I should make a real list of baby items we might need.
I should gather the materials to legally change my last name before Sophie is born, as well as get a new license.
I should research new workouts.
I should update my website recipe and lifestyle section.
I should update my media page.
I should prep for my upcoming WGN radio interview with Rick Kogan.
I should really figure out how to chop off my upstairs neighbor’s feet without anyone finding out.
I should get up.
Instead, I picked up a book. Though I have read a million nonfiction books as of late, there’s nothing like getting lost in a good novel. It makes my entire day better.
I listened to the sounds of traffic outside as I read, that constant ebb and flow of humming engines the perfect background. I inhaled the crisp pages and devoured page after page. After a while, I set the book down, lifted my shirt and watched my baby move: jolting, rolling, her body pressing against my flesh and then disappearing. Is there anything more miraculous?
I feel like women don’t really talk about their baby’s movements, but I am fixated each and every time. I sat, and I marveled. I fixed a sprouted grain bagel with organic peanut butter for a snack and licked my fingers when I was done. I paid bills. I walked to CVS. I curled up on the couch and watched her some more.
I ruminated over travels past and all the places I want to take Sophie and Alex. How I want to see their eyes light up as they take in a different world for the very first time.
I turned off the lights and sat here, completely silent – no phone or television or music as a distraction. I tried to empty my head – to still my thoughts. To do and think and be nothing but active and present in the here and now.
In our fast-paced lives, we so rarely have the pleasure of doing nothing. And while I have a task list that is a mile long, I am relishing these rare moments because I know in a few months’ time, they will be distant memories.
So often, we feel guilty if we are not productive at least 90% of the day. But why does productivity equal work? Being relaxed is productive. Taking time to breathe is productive. Unchaining yourself from the ordinary doldrums of the day – even if it’s for five minutes – is productive. Not to mention therapeutic.
It’s important to nurture ourselves with these small tokens of time.
I miss my family today, so many hundreds of miles away. I envision a house there, where I can pop over to my parents’ for dinner and meet with my two best friends for coffee. Where I can have Sophie run through the sprinkler and enjoy hot summer days being doused with a garden hose. Where Neruda can run free in a backyard, instead of being cooped up inside.
But I love the city. I love everything about it, and yet… and yet. There is always a calm that is just out of reach, and I am reaching for it, here, in my moment of silence, in my afternoon of pleasure, as I count down the hours until I pick up Alex and go and meet our friends for dinner.
How does one construct that balance between practicality and happiness? Is there a balance? Should there be?
I stretch. Neruda follows suit beside me, extending her small paws and emitting a little sigh. I stare at the dirty cup on my coffee table – filled with the contents of my afternoon shake.
If you are looking for a pick-me-up that doesn’t involve caffeine, this is your best bet.
1 scoop VEGA Whole Food optimizer or 1 scoop hemp protein
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 handful power greens (kale, spinach, baby chard)
1-2 Tbs. superseed, superfruit and superfood blend (optional)
1 packet chlorella
1-2 tsp. natural cocoa
slivered nuts for topping, optional
1. Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Sprinkle with nuts on top, if desired. Enjoy!