“… Life’s a journey not a destination/And I just can’t tell what tomorrow brings/You have to learn to crawl/Before you learn to walk…” Amazing by Aerosmith
Babies normally transition from crawling to walking around their first birthdays. I verified this, and was going to provide a link backing up that statement as proof. But I’m a mother. I remember. Take my word for it. Or don’t — look it up.
Consider this though: The mother of the family of three that I baby-sat for during my senior year as an undergraduate spent much of her time crawling around their home. She could, on occasion, incline herself to stand, to walk. But most days, she was physically unable to do either for long, or at all. I’m not sure what I feel worse about — that I have forgotten her name or that I can not remember if it was Multiple sclerosis or Muscular dystrophy that afflicted her. Though, after doing a Wikipedia search, the descriptions I got pointed at the latter.
In any case, she experienced pain, discomfort, and other issues that did not occur to my unfairly lucky, healthy, young self. Every time I have reflected back, wishing I had kept in touch, (she wanted to keep me on! But commencement loomed and I had no idea where life was leading me next.) and as my age has increased, my life experiences have accumulated further, it hits me harder every time to think about how the baby that she was had gone through the same process of learning to crawl, then walk, just like everyone else. Later, as a completely able-bodied woman, with a career, a husband, a home, the eventual arrival of her son…a life, her condition is realized. Maybe it started out manageable at first. I can’t attest for certain, as it didn’t remain as such. After all, many afternoons, I was there for Noah, their 8-year-old or thereabout in age, because even though his mother was home, too, I could reach the top shelf of their fridge. I could help him wash his hands before his after-school snack. I could stand next to him to assist him with some homework. I could freshen the wet compress for his swollen eyes when his seasonal allergies were at their most severe.
As a mother now, I imagine how much this might have killed her a little inside. To not be able to do these simple things with her son. Even then though, my heart felt heaviness about the situation. Good thing I seemed to have left a positive impression.
Still, the resonance: She had to learn to crawl all over again.
If you’re lost on the connection that I am drawing, stick with me. It will gel. Promise.
The months of May and June of last year were tremendously and relentlessly humid. The rigor in my search for comfort multiplied in direct result of our-then busted central air conditioning. I feared that this was becoming one of those “times in my life/When I was goin’ insane.” My kid and I inevitably slunk to the basement for whatever cool refuge could be found on June 25, 2013. This action plus our family computer’s residency on the bottom floor turned out to be my final impetus for starting this blog on that day a year ago. And I began to write.
Because I have come to believe that it is often important to see someone’s beginning, in order to understand where and why they currently are in life, here is that first ever post of iloveyoumorethanicecream: https://iloveyoumorethanicecream.wordpress.com/2013/06/25/navigating-all-the-time/.
We have a universal method for measuring time: seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, a year (and so forth). But how do we quantify our personal journey during the course of those 12 months? How when life — like time — is not linear.
We’re all familiar with the phrase that “life is like a rollercoaster,” speaking to its ups and downs, to the various occurrences, both good and bad, to how you never know if the bad time you are coming off of is getting better or turning worse. Or, if the good time you are having is about to sweeten further or sour altogether. So, we are all always learning to crawl, then learning to walk, as well as learning to walk, and then finding ourselves learning to crawl. Both metaphorically and literally, depending on what life has doled out.
For a while, after a few months as a blogger, I wondered how I was stacking up next to other bloggers/writers. Was I learning the ropes? Was I learning to crawl? Am I now entering the stage where I will learn to walk?
But just like life has taught me that you can not compare yourself to others in general — you can only compare/compete with yourself, be better than you were yesterday — the same goes for writing. I was looking for right answers, but there arn’t any. After all, even though some fellow bloggers write on similar topics, some are also writing on topics that I have not yet touched.
This first year has showed me that I shouldn’t be sweating over how and if I measure up to my peers, but instead look to them for inspiration, for community, for reciprocal support. Whether I am still crawling or now walking doesn’t matter. There is no end or beginning to either.
The general consensus is that it takes most people a year to learn the ropes of a new job. To be familiar with their responsibilities to the point that it no longer requires much thought in order to execute them. Even though I don’t get paid being a blogger — my currency is meeting and interacting with the other good, solid, interesting, pleasant writers/people — it is still work (not some kismet epiphany, as either some lead others to believe or allow themselves to think is the truth). I am not disillusioned — it will always be work. It will always take the investment of my time, energy, heart, passion. Ergo, I still expect to learn more. And certainly I expect to crawl when I need to, walk when I’m able.