I went to prenatal yoga at 11am yesterday. It was a Monday. Perhaps nothing has made me feel more at the top of the human food chain. Who does that? Who gets to change out of their pajamas at 10:30am, drive downtown on a Monday and spend 75 minutes doing yoga?
As it turns out, the answer really shouldn’t have been me. I only went because I can’t make my evening class this week, and at 31 weeks pregnant, I am fearful of what could happen to my poor body if I go a week without making sure it can still bend in half. But though I worked before and after the session, it screwed up my productivity of my entire day to the point that I just gave up around 7pm and decided to start again tomorrow.
But here’s the thing: That was just fine. I wasted a day of my regular productivity, and I was fine. I have a beautiful home, the mortgage for which I can afford, even with an occasional day off; I control my own schedule; I genuinely enjoy what I do, so if I spend 14 hours doing it tomorrow, that’s fine; I absolutely have 14 hours to dedicate to work each day; but I don’t have to. I stop when I want.
Who is this person? When, I began to wonder when assessing all of this, did I become a person surrounded by comfort? And exactly how is it going to destroy me? And I am beginning to have a creeping fear that it will destroy me. After all, it was the desperate need to survive, to succeed, to overcome, to make a mark on the world that prompted me to get here, wherever “here” is. This life where I am earning a living in my bathrobe on the couch, with a dog on my toes, in a house we own and a new daughter in my belly. Five years ago, the thought that I might never publish a book, establish myself as full-time freelancer, settle into a cozy life or be able to afford a house or a kid were the things that got me up in the morning, bursting with ambition and big dreams, plugging away. And away and away.
There are still big dreams in me. There are plans. But there’s also so much comfort all around me. Though I refuse to complain about having a wonderful life, I’m at a loss as to how to get to the next dream without the stress and the panic. That’s the only way I know how to do it. But if I refuse to let my life go back to a state of scraping by, if I’m committed to enjoying the life I’ve built for myself, even as I push on to the next phase, what is the energy source for achieving it? Where does ambition come from, if not desperation?
I don’t yet know. I’m still so overwhelmed by shock at what it feels like to be totally satisfied with life, that perhaps I’m simply reluctant to acknowledge the tiny bits of dissatisfaction that can be molded into the fuel for my next set of ambitions, even as I continue to enjoy the satisfaction I have now. Maybe both are possible. Maybe it all begins the with that creeping fear: does too much comfort squash ambition? Maybe now, the challenge is to prove it doesn’t have to.
Side note: Can you believe people who normally go to prenatal yoga at 11am on Mondays stick around for crackers and chatting afterwards? I was like, “Ladies. We must stop. I have shit to do. How do you not?” Sort of worried about getting kicked out of yoga now.