“Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
Is something you have never had to tell me.
Small stuff? What the fuck is small stuff?
Who cares about the small stuff when I have all this huge change! doom! huge! renovation! update! life altering! DUN DUN DUNNNNN! stuff?
The small stuff isn’t even on my radar, and my brain doesn’t think in terms of moments, but rather, life phases and upcoming big projects.
I have achieved huge things in this life of mine. I am a New York Times Best Selling Author, I have written two books (so far) that have been published, I am a 20 under 40 Recipient, I’ve been on a TED stage, I am the President of the Parent Club, and god damn it, nobody makes a bake sale flyer like I do. Nobody.
I had so many huge plans still to come, and then I woke up one day and realized, none of those plans were about me, really. They were part of a trajectory I had put together googling Oprah and Glennon Doyle Melton, probably, and just went with it.
I wasn’t unhappy living these awesome things, I was unhappy because as I was doing it, my brain was already onto what I could do next, so I was left constantly unsatisfied and empty because I was never mentally present enough to experience anything.
After my last book came out everyone asked me what I was going to do next, and I had no idea. What felt bigger? What felt more world changing? What felt viral?
I had nothing. I was exhausted and my mind went blank and the hunger pain in my gut vanished. And then I collapsed on the floor.
I sat in my therapists office staring at the stuffed squirrel on his desk (I’m just trying to catch it blinking at me, I swear to God it’s soul is still in there).
“What do you want to do?” He asked, crossing his arms and leaning into his leather swivel chair trying to replicate the fart sound it made earlier to convince me it was totally the chair and not him farting. Sure, Jan.
“I don’t know.” I said blankly. “Maybe write a parenting book?”
“I meant today.” He frowned. “What do you want to do today?”
“I have no idea.” I laughed.
It’s why I’ve been radio silent online this summer, living a life less interesting and consumable by my own jacked up standards.
It’s why I’ve been hands-off on this blog, because nothing I had to say felt big or quippy enough.
Is my “today” interesting enough to post? Is it okay to come here without a win to share or hot take to throw at you?
I’m trying really hard not to care, but…
I’ve tried in the past to come back here, straight up 2008 blog style, but just when I have something to tell you, American 2018 happens and I’m in front of a screen at 4am again, angry and screaming and the only key that works on my whole keyboard is “!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” this one.
Then a few days pass, my anger channels into function, and I come back to write you something again, and whoops, there goes our country, again.
I have noticed it’s taking longer and longer for me to recover from crippled with fury to logically functional.
(In the past, Andy has requested I use air quotes when using the phrase “logically functional,” and really, who could blame him. I hit him in the neck with a bat once while chasing a muskrat. Everything is subjective.)
I have not recovered from Trump, I have not recovered from Devos, I have not recovered from the cages, I have not recovered from the hate, I have not recovered from Kavanaugh, and the truth is that the very ability to recover is an act of privilege, so I will not. I will reject recovery and baseline functionality and I will stay furious and functional. Furiously functional.
So like, I’m fucking pissed, and I’m going to give money, write letters and vote the shit out of everyone.
What all of the above words have in common is that I was approaching and failing at all of this stuff the same exact way.
If you were to ask me what I wanted, and I said I want to burn the patriarchy to the ground, it’s obviously a fists in the air, fuck yes moment.
We fist bump and cheer because we’re women, and we’re tired of your shit.
And we are. But, like when I said I wanted a tv show, or for Reese Witherspoon to option Fat Girl walking, I was internet conditioned to see only that end goal and big win, and all the small, less filtered and viral wins and lessons in between really didn’t register.
Stop discounting the small stuff, use it as kindling, use it as a life raft, use it as soul food.
The small moments are just the universe showing it’s work to your math problems.
When my huge proclamations don’t or aren’t immediately happening, I have a choice to throw the goal in the garbage and save face, or sit down and pay attention to what happens in between.
If I waited to only write things down when something I did or wanted worked out, you’d never hear from me again.
My last post here was July 20th, but the last time I really wrote about my life here was June 5th.
125 days ago I chose to sit down and pay attention. Here are some of the small things that have happened.
We reclaimed summer.
At the end of the school year, the normal texts and emails started to pour in from other parents about which sports camps and day camps the kids were going to be a part of, who needed to carpool, and which session we should all register for.
I sat down with my kids and asked them what they wanted to do, and Jude very plainly said, not a god damned thing.
My kids were burnt out. They play multiple sports all school year, they are kind and amazing people, and they are all on the honor roll every trimester, so if they want to take the summer off of obligations, they can absolutely have it.
So, we loaded up our SUV and spent the summer traveling. We visited Texas, Wisconsin, Michigan, Maryland, Indiana and New York.
Jude learned how to navigate, use weather apps to plan our travel, and how to shell a blue crab.
Wyatt learned how to jetski, start a bonfire, discovered John Denver, and ate every insanely spicy food he could find.
Gigi spent her summer making new friends, kayaking and filled 2 sketch books.
For me, this summer was a lesson in presence and humility. I learned to struggle in front of others, ask for help, and lean into the friends who took us in while we explored new places by day and drank beer and planned out the steps to a revolution on porches at night.
No computer and no laptop; just a journal, a pen, a suitcase with two broken wheels and my kids.
We moved home.
Like, home home.
I’ve been reluctant to say anything, first because after what we went though with our town, we wanted some privacy. And two, moving home with my parents felt a little bit defeating. No, a lot defeating. It took me an entire summer to wash that feeling from my skin.
It turns out, multi-generational living suits me. I love the home I grew up in, I love taking care of my parents, I love the way they love our kids, and I love watching my kids play in the same creek I grew up knee-deep in, and riding their bikes on the same gravel driveway. I had my first real kiss in the field behind my house, maybe my kids will, too?
This is a wonderful thing that I will be writing more about.
But for now, just know we’re home. Maybe not forever, maybe not big picture.
But right now, none of that really matters.