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When is my life’s roller coaster going to settle down?

Kameron Hodgens' inspiration
Kameron Hodgens' inspiration Provided photo

Settling down? What? When?

“When is life going to settle down?” Those words came out of my mouth multiple times last weekend as my husband and I packed up items in our home, preparing to move. In all the hustle and bustle of life, I can honestly say I am ready to settle down a bit — or am I?

The more I think about this unrealistic phrase — “settling down” — the more I’m trying to convince myself that maybe I just need to be more patient and accepting of constant change in my life. But as someone who likes routine and the expected, change and the unexpected are always coupled with anxiety and my “commander” face. It gives me a toughened shell, and that’s definitely not the person I want to be.

Better yet, maybe I just need to give myself a break, like most women I know. When I step back and look at what I’ve been up to and why I feel so frazzled, it makes sense. Over the past 4 1/2 years, I’ve gotten married, started a new job, undergone IVF, had a baby, bought a new home that’s undergoing major renovations, and am closing on the sale of my current home of eight years in four weeks (if all goes as planned!). That’s a lot of LIFE in those years, so there’s a part of me that feels entitled to question this roller-coaster ride on which I am seated in the front row.

I had a board member of my organization say to me recently, “2016 is going to be about settling down for us.” He was speaking personally about his family, after also having gone through the birth of a child with another on the way and a recent move of both his professional office and his home. His words resonated with me, and I responded “Yes! Yes! Me too! That sounds great!”

But I know myself — the minute there’s nothing to do is the minute I find something to do. I don’t relax well, even though I have the best of intentions to do so. I can putter around my house like nobody’s business. I have to be out of town to truly let go. After all, there’s always laundry to do, groceries that need to be purchased, strategic goals to work on at the office, emails to return, but completely unplugging? The struggle is real.

Sure, I can blame technology, the constant ability to be connected to information and to others 24-7. But at the end of the day, it boils down to personal choice and priority, right? I watch my husband unplug very well. With the TV on, his phone and iPad on his lap, he can kick back in his recliner and actually fall asleep. I look at him as if I’m watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon for the first time — in utter shock and awe, even jealousy! Meanwhile, my brain is telling me, “There’s so much to do… go pack another box, the baby needs a snack, move those clothes to the dryer, and while you’re at it, your plants could use some water.”

Something has got to give, though. When I think about what does motivate and encourage me to relax more, it’s my baby girl. We’ll celebrate her 1st birthday soon and, as I watch her really watching me, she is a constant, innocent reminder that the choices of my actions matter. The rate at which she’s growing is also a constant reminder that I need to slow down and appreciate time. I can’t believe it’s already been a year since her birth, and all that we’re going through now with moving and selling our home is for her — and she’s worth it. We’ve outgrown our current home, and while it will break my heart to leave it, I know our move is right for our growing family.

But we’re not growing too much more! One and done – only one child for us. I always thought that I’d have more than one, but as I stated earlier, this mama is ready to put her feet up and settle down. Unless, of course, life’s roller coaster needs more riders!

Kameron Partridge Hodgens, Ph.D., CEO of The Glasser Schoenbaum Human Services Center, can be reached at 941-365-4545 or khodgens@gs-humanservices.org

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