It is 6 months, today, since I left Philadelphia to join the Totem tour. Time to step back and reflect a little.
For the most part, I am very happy with this new life. Some of the things I am especially enjoying:
- of course, being a (peripheral) part of a Cirque du Soleil production, which still gives me a chill of excitement every time I see it.
- the time and space to pursue hobbies and exercise
- time with my kids. including tucking them into bed every night, volunteering at their school, and helping them with homework. I handle all of the potty-training and the discipline, and I am here for every milestone and every questioning-the-world conversation. I get to savor every cute moment.
- travel. as everyone I'm sure understands, it's pretty damn awesome to be given beautiful living quarters in the middle of foreign cities. I love the challenges of new cultures and languages.
- change. I've always had a real restless side to my personality - it's a "grass-is-greener" mentality and a nervousness about staying in any one place for too long. That's all solved now. Every place we go is just temporary, love it or hate it. Change (the dramatic, moving-to-another-country kind) is always just around the corner. So far, I really really like this. Just when things are starting to feel routine, it's time to pack up again.
- perhaps surprisingly to some of you, I do not miss my house. Having a big house and yard often felt like more of a guilty burden to me than a pleasure. So many cooking appliances I should be using, dusty areas I should clean, gardens that should be weeded. I never wanted to do any of these things (not to mention grouting, toilet-unclogging, changing lightbulbs, washing bedsheets, changing vacuum cleaner bags, etc...), and it's one area that I've been really happy to give up control.
It is not, of course, all perfect. There are some things I don't like about this new life.
- boredom, and a feeling of unimportance, are my biggest problems. I came from a place where a hundred urgent things came at me before breakfast. I was needed, constantly, to make decisions and take actions, in my business and in my family. Every day was jam-packed and exhausting. This is no longer the case. And empty hours, for me, can eventually lead to a sense of failure, and to depression. More immediately, they simply mean that I don't get much of anything done. When the day stretches out in front of you, with nothing more pressing to handle than laundry, why study, or respond to messages, or tackle a project...? when it can just be done later, or tomorrow. It's a weird frame of mind, and one I do not like to be in for very long.
- Marriage & family dynamics have necessarily shifted, as Greg is working long, exhausting hours, and I am at home. Every couple goes through this when someone quits or changes a job - a friend of mine recently described it as the coordinates shifting in the relationship. It's quite true. And no matter how much I want, on one level, to embrace the homemaker role, there's still too much fire in me to really fill the apron. My ego just flares up, when I consider that what I'm doing is just not as important or demanding as what Greg's doing. And it's not easy for me to answer my daughter when she says, "Mom, why did you quit your job?"
- I do miss the freedoms I had when I was working as my own boss. I had childcare - which meant that I could go out in the evenings if I wanted to, or go out for lunch by myself. And I was completely in charge of my own schedule. Now, my life has to be structured around Greg's schedule, and his, in turn, is structured by the company.
I have not come to any crushing realizations about touring life, and I am not completely stir-crazy or homesick yet. (of course I miss you all, my friends. but Facebook is really a pretty awesome invention!! and coming back to the U.S. at the end of February, it does not seem so far away.)
As 2010 comes to a close, I think that this is still a very good place for me, for Greg, and for the kids. Will I feel the same at the end of 2011?