The Purple of Life

She told me to hold on to the purple in my life.

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Location: Chicago, United States

I'm a 37-year-old editor and city dweller, wife and mother, moderately liberal and radically optimistic. I would fill my perfect day with a cup of coffee and the Op Ed section, a flea market and the playground, a run along Lake Michigan, a walk through the neighborhood with my son and my greyhound, a Cuban dinner and a bottle of red with my husband, and an evening flight to some European city. I wouldn't be picky about which one.

July 25, 2011

Me with my pen and my summer ale

I feel the days slipping past, a beaded necklace sliding through my fingers, and I’m trying to feel the texture of each piece before it’s gone, make the most of each balmy green day, but many times I fail.

(Part of me wants it all to whoosh past in a blur—the part of me dreaming of that small someone across the globe—but to be honest, I’ve tamped that part down pretty well. Before we found out about the delay, I thought about our little guy a lot, several times a day. I talked about him with John, ruminated about future-y things, trolled around parenting and baby-gear websites. I’m not really doing that much these days. I don’t know when we’ll see his face, and after that, when we’ll bring him home. I don’t know how old he’ll be. I don’t know what paperwork we’ll have to update and resubmit because of this change in timing. So I’m just trying to focus on other things. It’s easier that way, even though again, I feel the time moving, more and more days in which we’re not parents. I’m sad for John. I do think about that.)

I’m always one to worry that I’m not making the most of things, living my best life, soaking everything in… although I suspect I’m not the only Chicagoan who feels this way in the summer. July is almost over! Am I opening my arms wide enough to embrace it all? I sat on the deck with John last night, he playing Bruce Springsteen on his guitar, Stella snoozing on her mat, and me with my pen and my summer ale, making a “Rest of the Summer” list.

Have more friends over for grilling and deck lounging. Bring a picnic to Millennium Park for one of the free concerts. Visit a few particular restaurants with outdoor seating. Hit the big Green City Market in Lincoln Park a few times. Explore the Cuban and Korean street festivals. Walk down the street for ice cream at least once a week. Sit outside and watch the sky and listen to the crickets. Do a photo walk in the late afternoon. Wear dresses more often.

I’m already doing many of these things, plus bringing Stella to the dog beach, and training for the half-marathon (I broke my 5K personal record with a 25:36 this weekend—pure happiness!), and going to neighborhood fests, and taking a photography class, and eating and reading outside whenever possible. I’m tending my plants, smelling the marigolds and cooking with fresh herbs. We hosted a big outdoor party for friends and neighbors. In July we spent five nights camping in northern Michigan, and we’ll be taking a few days off at the end of August and “vacationing” here at home. I’m working hard, and editing side projects for friends, and not watching much TV.

Sometimes it seems like when I’m busy and booked, I yearn for the couch and a magazine. And when I’m sitting at home with InStyle and a basket of laundry, I think about all the other interesting and edifying things I could be doing. I tend to fret that I’m not making the most of city living, that I’m not exploring, learning, volunteering enough. The truth is that I like doing those things, but I also like sitting outside and watching the sky, feeling the air, listening to the crickets. And watching and feeling and listening are enough. They really are.

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Blogger Kellie said...

Why do we do this to ourselves? I hear you and feel what you are saying. The push and pull. In me, it's a yearning for some kind of (non-existent) perfect balance where I'd fit it all in, because it ALL feels so important (it's tough to prioritize). And, in the summer there are just so many wonderful things to experience it seems, especially in Chicago I imagine. Anyway, I've been thinking about you (sorry I haven't been in touch). We are getting settled, slowly but surely. Missing you as always! Hugs.

8:51 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

I am in awe of your running. Way to go. Very inspiring!

10:55 AM  

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