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A New Season

This morning I got up before 6AM. This is the first day of me beginning a new regime.

Last Friday, as evidenced by my last post, after I’d finished setting up my new computer and downloading all my old files and photos, I suddenly saw my life here in Chicago with fresh eyes. I was able to really think about the last year and things I’ve done and the ways in which I’ve changed.

And I realized that I’m not that satisfied.

I know, I know…that might sound whiny and I don’t mean it to be. I’m so incredibly grateful for my life, for the people in it, for the work I do, for the beautiful home I live in and the trees outside the kitchen windows.

But for the past few weeks I’ve been waking up and feeling quite uninspired. I’ve been waking up and wishing I could just go back to sleep. And since I can’t, and since I have to get up, I usually lay there for ten minutes or so thinking about the day that lies before me, about the things I’ll do, the rooms I’ll walk through, the people I’ll talk to.

And while all of it seems pleasant and fairly easy, none of it feels particularly inspiring. None of it makes me want to spring out of bed, to get a start on my day. None of it gives me butterflies of anticipation.

And that alone makes me feel even a little more deflated.

Last Friday I spent some time really thinking about this feeling, this feeling of blah, of nothingness, of lacksadaisical forward movement. And I thought about it most of all in comparison to a year ago.

A year ago I was in LA just beginning work on my book. I was living alone in my little apartment by the beach and I was finishing my last quarter of grad school. I was seeing clients in two different clinics and I was going to yoga several times a week.

This morning, sitting on the couch at 6AM, drinking hot water with lemon and trying not to fall back asleep, I read through an old journal that took place during that time. I came across an entry that I wrote almost a year ago, in which I had scrawled, "I realized the other day that I’m doing everything I always wanted to be doing. For the first time in a long time, perhaps ever, I’m not doing anything I don’t want to be doing. I’m actually living my dream."

Wow, to have ever written something like that, to have experienced that time, even just once, is, I think, a gift. And I want it back.

And I know that so much of it has to do with frame of mind. So fine. I want that back too.

And so, last Friday and all through the weekend, I thought about it. I pondered what it is that I need to do to, again, attain such a level of living. And the thing I realized is that I’m not working towards anything big. I’ve been here in Chicago for almost 8 months and it’s been a huge transition — moving here was, in itself, something big.

But now I’m here and I’m settled. I have a great job and lots of friends. Greg and I are better than ever and living in a beautiful home together. Finances are totally under control. Spring is here. I’m healthy and grateful. I’m freelancing all the time, have a whole pile of little magazine articles I’m working on. We’ve got fun trips planned and visitors coming. Summer is almost here…

…and so what’s next? I can’t just coast through my days, everything being kind of pleasant and easy. I need something that drives me to get out of bed in the morning.

Hence, the waking up at 6AM plan. I’m going to start a new writing project. I’m not sure what shape it will take. I’m going to initially go back to the book I wrote last year and begin reworking it. And if that doesn’t feel right then I’ll begin something new.

I’m also going to incorporate a lot more yoga and meditation into my days.

This morning at 6AM, I didn’t want to get out of bed. It was still kind of dark out and I was tired from working all weekend and I lay there thinking about my forthcoming day and what I would do if I did get out of bed right then and what it would be like if I didn’t until it was time to get ready for work.

And I realized that I don’t want my days to be the same anymore. I don’t want to feel heavy getting out of bed in the morning. I want to feel inspired and excited. And if that takes work and if it takes making myself get up at 6AM every morning then so be it.

I’m ready for a new season.

9 Comments

  1. It’s been such a long time…I’m freelancing now and I have to say this post eerily echoed my own feelings this morning..so I’m thinking of you and I’m so glad that you are in such a good place and that you’re as determined as ever not to settle :) xoxo

    Comment by Emily on April 21, 2008 at 12:12 pm

  2. Claire,
    I’ve been avidly reading Life in LA. There seems to be a large gap. On the day you got your new iBook on Nov 23, 2003 you said you’d be writing a lot in the next few months. Yet the next post I can find is July 9, 2005. There’s like 18 months missing. Am I not looking in the right place? I got so involved in your day-to-day accounts that I now feel lost and abandoned.

    Comment by Bill E. on April 22, 2008 at 1:40 pm

  3. Claire,
    I’ve been avidly reading Life in LA. There seems to be a large gap. On the day you got your new iBook on Nov 23, 2003 you said you’d be writing a lot in the next few months. Yet the next post I can find is July 9, 2005. There’s like 18 months missing. Am I not looking in the right place? I got so involved in your day-to-day accounts that I now feel lost and abandoned.

    Comment by Bill E. on April 22, 2008 at 2:02 pm

  4. Emily, so glad you found me. It’s been years since we worked at Vanity Fair together but I always looked on our friendship fondly. The job, not so much. ;)
    Bill — I’m sorry you feel lost! I did quit writing in the original Life in LA in November of 2003. I just needed some space and was feeling so lost and grieving so much after my father’s death that I didn’t have it in me to write for a while. During that time I traveled a lot and worked for a nonprofit called 826LA. I then went back to grad school for a Master’s in clinical psychology and began writing Life in LA again in August of 2006. The first post can be found here: http://lifeinla.typepad.com/life_in_la/2006/08/life_in_la_agai.html
    Hope that helps! Thanks for reading!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on April 23, 2008 at 7:51 am

  5. Thanks Claire. I should have gathered that you had taken some time off. I lost my mom just 3 years ago. Had to fly to San Francisco after she’d been admitted to Kaiser after a heart attack. While I was en route she had another, much more devastating one, and she was critical and unconscious when I arrived. She was being kept alive with machines, and after two days of excruciating soul searching my sister and I told them to go ahead and stop all the things keeping her alive. We held her hands as we watched the monitors flat-line and she took her last breath. I have never really grieved properly, I think, other than to have all those urges to phone her for 6 months every time I wanted to tell her something or ask her advice. Your heartfelt writing about your dad really got the tears flowing. You’re so brave, and you’ve been such a wonderful help to me. Thank you so much.

    Comment by William Eisenhood on April 24, 2008 at 3:55 pm

  6. Forgive me, but I must add that while I was in San Francisco I helped with as many things as I could, from making all the memorial service arrangements, the cremation, writing the obit. But when it was all over, and all the relatives had gone home, I flew back to NM and left my poor sister with all the rest of the ordeal: the apartment, clothes, furniture, mementoes, moving, etc. I was spared all that which you, and my sister, had to go through. I think the grieving I needed to do would have been more complete if I had been there through it all. Sorry for the long-windedness here. It’s more for me than anything else. If you should read this, thanks for doing so. Christ, I think I worry as much about you as I do my sis. So, as I write this, I hope your current happy continues.
    Bill

    Comment by Bill E. on April 25, 2008 at 5:45 pm

  7. Forgive me, but I must add that while I was in San Francisco I helped with as many things as I could, from making all the memorial service arrangements, the cremation, writing the obit. But when it was all over, and all the relatives had gone home, I flew back to NM and left my poor sister with all the rest of the ordeal: the apartment, clothes, furniture, mementoes, moving, etc. I was spared all that which you, and my sister, had to go through. I think the grieving I needed to do would have been more complete if I had been there through it all. Sorry for the long-windedness here. It’s more for me than anything else. If you should read this, thanks for doing so. Christ, I think I worry as much about you as I do my sis. So, as I write this, I hope your current happy continues.
    Bill

    Comment by Bill E. on April 25, 2008 at 5:45 pm

  8. Dear Claire,
    This is my first comment on your wonderful blog; I found your blog when I was hardest hit and was finding it hard to even see ahead. I found your blog as my constant companion, in some weird way, you sometimes wrote about things that I was going thro’ and your writings got me thinking. I haven’t read your blog completely, that I am guilty of but as much as I have, you come across as someone very strong yet very sensitive and intelligent. Most of all, empathetic!
    As you are thinking about new projects and I know you are a big NPR fan too… there is a nice project called “Morning Stories by WBGH” http://www.wgbh.org/article?item_id=2783909
    With your wonderful ability to be with people and really be ‘with’ them.. you can start thinking about something like that… as we all know, common everyday people who have unforgettable stories. :)
    I have also been guilty of reading your blog and not leaving comments, and I curse my blog readers about it too… but I guess, when someone hits that level when they really care, they leave their imprints.
    Keep Writing, you inspire so many of us, if not to jump out of bed, at least to make us smile, or sigh at the end of it all. :) Thank you!

    Comment by Sowmya on April 27, 2008 at 2:18 am

  9. Wow, these amazing comments just keep coming.
    Sowmya, thanks for leaving your imprint. Yes, it’s always interesting to find out just who is reading your blog. And thanks for the NPR tip…I’ll check it out.
    Bill, it sounds like you still have some grieving to do and it sounds like a pretty traumatic loss that you experienced. The only way past it all is through. I know how hard it is to sit with those feelings but the more you do, the easier it will be to move through them. Grief is a long process and losing your mother isn’t something you get over in a few months or a year. Keep going, Bill. You’re getting there.

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on April 28, 2008 at 7:18 am

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