I’ve been realizing a number of things in the past couple of months.  I say “realizing,” present tense, because I’m still coming around to these, still turning them over in my mind.  Some I’ve figured out by talking about them, some by simply thinking.  But I want to get these out, write these down, put them here in this space, so hopefully I can understand better — and figure out what exactly to do with them. 

So for today, realization number one:  I need to find a new job (and the plan to have a baby is what has kept me from searching for a different job for the past two years). 

My current job pays very well but requires brutal hours.  It is high stress, and frequently demands that I cancel my plans, work late, and work weekends.  I have cried countless times over the potential (or actual) cancelling of personal trips or events due to work conflicts.  This work, at this current pace, has never been something I could see myself doing long-term.  But my plan was to continue at my current job at least until I got pregnant, because (1) the maternity leave policy is great and (2) I could potentially work part-time at some point in the future. 

I am very, very thankful for my job.  Particularly in this economy, when excellent lawyers are being laid off right and left, due to no fault of their own.  I am also thankful for the many things that I am able to do because of my salary: have nice meals with M, buy pretty clothes, take fun trips, etc.  But these things, ultimately, are not worth what I’m having to sacrifice in terms of time, stress, and general quality of life. 

Over the past several years, I have gradually turned into a person that I don’t really recognize anymore.  Granted, I know there are a lot of contributing factors — including infertility, stress from my husband’s former job with our church, moving, and just general life.  But still.  The hours that my job demands means that I simply do not have the time for things that really are important to me — much, much more important than anything I am doing at work.  I don’t stay in touch with friends whom I love.  I don’t write letters anymore.  I don’t take pictures.  I don’t read.  I don’t run.  I barely make time to talk to my parents once every couple of weeks.  I struggle to find time to spend with M, to keep the dirty laundry from taking over the house, to keep my bangs trimmed, to exercise.

This is sounding like a whiney post.  I don’t want to be a whiner.  I am not miserable.  But I have a new clarity, and that feels good. 

I want to post more on this, and what led me down this road, but actually have to (ha!) get back to work now.  But all of this is arising from a general sense that I have been putting my life on hold, in the expectation that the next phase of my life — having a child — was not only the natural and logical next phase, but also just around the corner.  As a result, I’ve been in somewhat of a perpetual holding pattern for two years now.  I want this to end, but it’s requiring a great deal of pondering.   I’m having to wrestle with what my life looks like, and how it’s different from what I always imagined.  How the person I am is different than the person I want to be.  Perhaps this is the convergence of our two-year anniversary of trying to conceive, combined with my thirtieth birthday in two weeks.  Or maybe, it’s just me internally reconsidering the question of what I want to be when I grow up, when the answer deep inside myself, though never spoken, has always been simply, “a mother.”