On Saturday this past weekend, I was sitting surrounded by family and family-by-choice as we celebrated the imminent arrival of my identical twin nephews. My sister sat to my left, Mama B to my right, D across and family on either side of all of them; we had so many laughs and traded so many stories since the last time we’d all been together at such a sad event, just over a year ago. The topic of next year came up, and I fielded some very shocked faces when I announced my big plans. As I started to explain the rationale behind my decision, the timing of everything and what exactly will be happening once the plan is in motion, my mother interrupted me swiftly but gently, put her hand on my shoulder and said to the rest of the table “Well, LB thinks she’s doing that next year.”
At the time, I laughed off her comment with “No, I am doing that next year,” and the conversation moved on, no harm, no foul. I spent the rest of the weekend laughing about it with T and my soul sister E, as we enjoyed wine and Christmas music before dinner with M&N, laughed about it with M&N again as the five of us blatantly spiked our post-dinner Starbucks with one of the multiple flasks in my purse before walking down Fifth Ave to see the windows and the tree. But when I mentioned it to my brother the next morning, as we walked to find a bar for the full B clan to watch the Jets game together for the first time since T’s wedding, he didn’t laugh the way the rest of us did. “Look, you know Mom means well,” he started, “and it’s not that she doesn’t support you. She’s just concerned you’re not thinking this through all the way, and that you aren’t going to be prepared for the reality of what this decision means for you in the months ahead.”
There’s something about the words from my brother that have stuck so much more than the original statement from my mother. It’s like a weird combination of feeling supported but not, feeling like I’m alone in how excited I am to make this big change because my family doesn’t think I can do it, but then appreciating the reality check because sometimes I don’t think I can do it either. There’s this harsh reality that 2016 and January and July and September are no longer these abstract concepts, but very rapidly-approaching milestones that I’m scared are too ambitious for me to achieve. Part of it is the fact that I can’t plan ahead the way I’m used to planning ahead, because there are so many variables for next year, but the other part is this nagging fear that I just won’t be able to achieve the goals I’ve set. Like I’m going to sabotage myself, or I was too ambitious, or maybe just that I’m making a crazy decision and can’t fathom how it’s all going to come together, aside from the fact that I want it so badly I’ll practically do anything to make it happen.
Lately I keep hearing these nagging little whispers in my ears like the angel and devil on my shoulders, one day they’ll say “It’s all going to work out” and the next I’m resigning myself to keep living a life that hasn’t made me happy in years. I know people support the decision I’ve made, but then again, sometimes I feel like I’m navigating these scary waters alone. I’m terrified the plan I’ve put in place won’t come to fruition. I’m terrified that the life I’m chasing isn’t sustainable, and that I’m deluding myself thinking I can make it work. I’m terrified about so many things for next year but I can’t talk about them with anyone, because half the people I could talk to would just say “You’ll figure it out!” and the other half would jump at the chance to talk me out of it. I don’t even know what I want to hear at this point from anyone: that it’s going to be okay? that I’m making a mistake? I’m set in my decision but I’m so scared that I want it as badly as I do, because usually in my life when I want something this badly, it never works out.
This week there’s a new moon on Friday, the last one of 2015, before the full moon on Christmas day. As I have with so many months past, it’s like I can feel the energy of the new beginnings coming this Friday, like the universe is itching to start a new cycle and begin a story for the last time this year. I can appreciate that I’m feeling the strife of the next year now, because the next six months are going to be crucial in moving my life forward the way I’m dreaming it will. So maybe it’s time to listen to the whispers instead of brushing them off, and changing my mindset to what it was when I first decided to uproot everything and finally live. Or maybe it’s time to reevaluate everything. Whispers are calling to me in every direction right now regardless – but soon enough I’ll be shouting back.