I’m not freaking out this time.

When I started writing here, I called this space The Waiting because I was waiting on C to be born and also because Tom Petty is awesome and I wish I were related to him.* But then she was born and I realized that waiting is kind of a big thing in my life, as it probably is for everyone.

*One time I was listening to Terry Gross and she was interviewing him about his early life in Florida. He apparently lived in a university town so she asked him if and how that influenced him, to which he replied, “Um, we weren’t affiliated with the college. At all.” And that is why I love him.

Waiting is mashed in with my minor obsession with time. For pretty much my whole life, I have felt like I was entitled to the accomplishments that a certain age would bring me. If I only waited so long, I would get married. I would get to live in a house that I own. I would achieve a certain level of success in whatever professional field I entered. I would get to be a parent. If I didn’t hit those marks, I was supposed to worry them into occurring. That was my default response. I am an expert worrier in that I tackle it with the professionalism that I lack in all other aspects of my life. Worrying will bring into existence all that I lack, or so I thought.

So I hit the getting married thing pretty earlier when I married B when I was 24 and he was 23. I hit the baby milestone too so I will never have to worry about my ability to conceive again. It seemed like I hit the professional thing when I got my first real job out of school, but then I quit when it was horrible and I haven’t had a “real” job since (even though I loved working at a restaurant and then teaching in Korea, those don’t count as serious professions for me because I could not do them for the rest of my life without petering out or getting bored.) The personal life things have happened but the professional stuff and the other things that I have filed under “GROWING UP ETC.” in the file cabinet of my mind have never been all that satisfying. And so I have worried.

I’ve been worrying about B’s job search for awhile now. We’re still plugging away, applying applying applying. I don’t want to say too much else because I’m afraid I’ll jinx it. But at some point (I think it was about two weeks ago) I just relaxed. I don’t really know what did it, but all of a sudden I was able to sleep through the night. I had been telling myself all along that things would be alright, and in the space of I week I actually started believing it and realizing the truth of it. That we are not failures. That we will never be homeless. That we’d survive if we had to through the worst, worst case situation I can fabricate in my mind. Things are never as bad as they seem.

At first, it was disconcerting not worrying. I felt like my mind was broken and that I wasn’t approaching things with the seriousness they deserve. Surely B wouldn’t get a call back from the jobs we really like if I was sleeping soundly. LOGIC. But in the past few days I’ve given myself a pass. I am entitled to not stress myself out over these things. I’m realizing that the trajectory of my life is not always in my hands and that sometimes I just have to trust that I just need to wait it out. There is no shame in waiting. There is no shame in being safe and content. If we don’t get what we want to do this year, then we will try again next year. We all love each other so the world can’t harm us.

Right now, I am complacently waiting. I am gently reminding myself that worrying does not bring changes about. It only makes me not sleep and stuff my face with carbs past 9PM. Which is kind of fun at the time but this baby weight is burning a hole in my pocket.

Thanks to everyone who has been thinking about us through all this. I have no doubt in my mind that my replenished, more healthful mindset is due to your positive thoughts and prayers.


  1. I think I know what you mean. I’m much the same way. I go through all the possibilities in my mind first, I panic, and I make plans for each scenario and how I would deal with that if it happens. At some point, I realize I’ve prepared and there’s nothing else I can do. I exhaust myself with all the possibilities. I hope your husband finds a great job. Keep up the positive attitude!

    1. I hope so too! I eventually just realize that worrying does absolutely nothing. It’s like my mind just clicks off the worry button independently of me. I think it knows what’s good for me.

  2. Isn’t it funny how the names we choose for our blogs actually have a deeper meaning than we originally gave them. You are indeed, “The Waiting.” It’s the season of your life that you’re currently in. Waiting feels so out of control and powerless – the only thing you can really do is let go and relax. I think it takes a great deal of faith to do that, to KNOW it will be okay, it’ll all work out. (I’m a worrier from WAY back so I can totally relate to this post, even your time frame/schedule, etc.)
    As I was reading this I felt pretty sure, based on my own recent experience, that part of your new ability to relax and the understanding behind it all, was as you concluded, due to positive thoughts and prayers from all of us who love you. I don’t say that lightly, as I’ve just been the recipient of the same thoughts and prayers and could feel it, as well.
    The apostle, Paul, said – “And we know that all things work together for good…”
    I’m trying to have faith in this right now, too. I’m with ya, sister!
    Things are moving, getting stirred, and lining up. I can feel it. :)

    1. It’s really powerful how those positive thoughts and prayers can pull us through. I am convinced that the only reason I was able to survive in the days after my dad died was because I was so lifted up by others’ thoughts. I made it then, and I’ll make it now. All this is way easier when I put it in perspective.

      We just found out about a great job in Kankakee that B is insanely qualified for! What a dream it would be to be back in Illinois! Even with all that snow and cold!

      1. In Kankakee, you would practically be neighbors with Lisa! Oh, by the way, on your blog Lisa quotes scripture and on mine she tells dirty jokes so don’t be fooled! HF

        1. LOLOLOL! I have multiple personalities myself! We’re all blogging jacks-of-all-trades.

        2. A gripping life · · Reply

          Haha! I don’t believe the scientists at NASA think that Uranus is a dirty joke. Get your mind out of the gutter, Harper. Sheesh.

      2. A gripping life · · Reply

        OMG! I could babysit if I drove a couple hours!! Haha! At the very least we could meet in the city for some good times. I’m going to keep this one in my thoughts and every prayer. :)

        1. Thank you! I’ll keep you posted.

    2. The Apostle Paul also said “All you need is love”.
      (The Apostle John was the walrus.)

      (Sorry, couldn’t resist…)

      1. A gripping life · · Reply

        Hahaha!!!! I’m glad when you can’t resist!

  3. I always try to use the “cardboard box” exercise to put worries to rest. Would I still find joy and purpose if today’s worries result in our having to live in a cardboard box under the Interstate? Yes. And I would probably do my blogging on the outside of the box with a stubby, broken pencil. Glad you’re at peace – you have a wonderful way of mastering and sharing perspective.

    1. YES! I love that analogy and I have a similar one too. Would I still find joy if I had to sell all our things just so we could eat? Yes, I would. I have my girl and my guy and all is right with the world. C would still find something to squeal with happiness with.

      1. Joy is it. It’s there. And doubt and worries take second stage to joy. Another scenario I prepare myself with is, “If the house caught fire and we lost everything….” Then I think of a couple of friends we know who had that happen. There is always hope, and where there’s hope, there’s joy. I so appreciate how your mind operates.

  4. Emily,
    Great post. I think that when you can relax into the waiting, things come easier, faster. It’s like all that worrying sets up a resistance in “the matrix” or something like that. Not to get all woo-woo on you, but at least in my own life, things seem to work that way. I know B’s perfect job is coming soon and all is well.

    1. Thanks, Cathy! I know what you mean. It’s like if we can just relax and loosen our pretend hold on things, we realize that we were alright all along. It’s a good feeling.

  5. Wonderful. And even more wonderful because you love Tom Petty. My biggest failure as a parent is not installing a fervent love of Petty in my son’s heart. Wishing you joy and prosperity.

    1. Thanks! There is hope for him yet! I wasn’t a big Tom Petty fan until I got a little older .

      We just found a listing for a job in Kankakee that B is insanely qualified for. I am feeling good about it.

  6. You are such a good writer I want to scream. With glee, obvs. Good job not worrying! I think that happened to me when I got preggo with EB. I just…stopped. For her, more than me. Now I just turn it off. Some might say this is akin to sticking my head in the ground, but that’s how I wait out the storm. By ignoring it until something comes up that I have to react to. Good luck with jobs jobs jobs!!

    1. Nope, I think that is a really healthy response! Why worry about something that you have little control over? We were not made to stress over all the minutiae of life and treat every problem as a huge deal. We simply cawn’t cawn’t cawn’t.

  7. Another of my friends (the one with twins) wrote on her blog that she received some advice that made her feel better: “If you’re not exhausted, you’re doing something wrong.” I couldn’t help it: the next time I saw her, I said, “That’s the worst advice I’ve ever heard!” She’s a more gracious person than I am, so she took it to mean, “It’s okay that you’re tired–you’re throwing yourself into parenting,” which is obviously valid. But I said, “I just want to make sure you know that if you wake up one morning after a good night’s sleep, content with how things are going and feeling genuinely refreshed, that does not mean you’ve done something wrong. It’s just a good thing and you can celebrate it.” She assured me she understood. :)

    Anyway it sounds like you broke through and allowed yourself permission to enjoy some peace about the situation, and for that you get a round of applause! It’s so, so hard to do sometimes, but on a moment-to-moment basis it feels so much better. I went through a few years when I was constantly worried about the inverse–the personal life side has been the one that hasn’t worked out for me–but it got me absolutely nowhere. Sometimes I think I could be taking a more active role in making it work out, but I also know that I’m happier when I’m not, and I imagine giving off an air of relaxation and contentment rather than desperation if I were to meet the right dude would probably work in my favor! Keep on keepin’ on, yo.

    1. You are the best. Your words of encouragement get me through like whoa. Love you!

  8. This post makes me so happy!

    I’m a worrier, too, but I’ve definitely found it helps a lot to just know, deep down, that everything is going to be okay. You guys will be fine. Even if the worst case scenario happened–which, it won’t–you guys will be fine. You can do this whole, you know, living life thing. You’ve done it pretty well so far, and you’ve got an awesome marriage/baby to show for it, which may not be professional success, but is equally, if not more, important.

    Also, Tom Petty is a God. And your blog being called The Waiting was how I first knew you were cool.

    1. Ah, thanks ;D It’s so funny when I listen to that song now. It reminds me of my blog and it makes me feel all mushy inside. xxoo

  9. Emily, God has blessed B. & C. with a wise wife and mother.

    1. Takes one to know one ;D xoxo

  10. Life is so much more wonderful when you don’t worry about every little thing that could go wrong. I’m happy that you’ve reached that place in your life.

    1. Thanks, TD! It’s a really nice feeling! Breathing is good.

      1. Lol, yes, yes it is.

  11. I am so proud of you. I mean, I always was and I always will be, for the record, but this is just beautiful, and I am so happy you have gotten to a place of peace. I know it’s hard to come by, and as someone else who turned out to have a sort-of non-traditional career path, I totally feel you about the weight of that. But I feel like even in my darkest moments, I come back to where you are: I have a family who loves me, and I will be okay. Whatever happens, they will be there, and I will be there too. :) Love you!

    1. I know you (and your whole posse) will always always always be there too, and that’s one of the steadfast things in my life that makes me know that everything will be OK. Love you!

  12. I’m glad you realized that worrying doesn’t make things happen. If you focus on the moment, you realize that all your needs are taken care of. It’s projecting, and anxiety that causes all the stress. I’m with you on this one. Keep the faith!

    1. “If you focus on the moment, you realize that all your needs are taken care of.” I couldn’t’ve said it better myself. Thanks, Auntie!

  13. I’ve always thought thoughts like this. It’s really pretty hard to let your entire life spiral down and be left with nothing. It’s probably a lot harder now that you’re married and have a kid because you have them to worry about. Between family, friends, and casual acquaintances, when things get really bad someone is bound to have a heart to help us out.

    1. This is so, so true. When I was in my 20s I really believed that I could not ask for help from my family and friends when I needed it. For some reason I thought it was against the rules to be an adult and to admit that I still needed help. But the older I get, I realize that my family will ALWAYS be there for me, even though we may all disagree in our politics and stupid crap like that. And the thing is, I would be there for them if they really, really needed me to step up to the plate for them. People are a lot kinder than we give them credit for.

  14. I TOTALLY get the waiting thing. I’ve often thought I spend my whole life waiting…not just for delicious liquor, but for the next phase of…whatever. My aging parents tell me that there comes a time when this sense of urgently waiting is tempered by a panicky need to slow things down. It creeps into your subconscious that you’re getting older. My mum once woke up in a panic because while she was sleeping she forgot she was in her 40s and then she woke up to find herself there.
    Kids spend all their lives waiting…V is counting down the days to her bday in September, both kids are marking Valentine’s day, Easter, all the milestones on the calendar…it’s always about the next thing they’re waiting for. One of the things that made my parents feel more “adult” (not that that’s ever happened fully) was the sense that all this stuff can just wait. Not that it’s not exciting or happy or whatever–but it doesn’t need to come RIGHT NOW. And then of course waiting for a baby changes that TOTALLY. Because suddenly you’re waiting for all the BABY’S milestones, especially because they get you past all sorts of cumbersome hurdles: diapers, breastfeeding, dressing them up, feeling guilty about not entertaining them enough, the stroller, OMG–suddenly it’s all this urgent WAITING again.
    So I totally get the sense of WAITING. It is so inescapable. Even when we stop waiting on our own behalf, we start waiting for others. Or maybe it’s still waiting on our own behalf…Barney episodes are pretty intolerable, and it is pretty cool when the kids can get their own cereal.
    I love this blog, and I think you hit all the themes with such depth and humor. You have a lot of perspective, which is the best thing for riding out uncertainties.
    My dad won’t let me write about some of our very worst uncertainties, but one day I will anyway, after things are a bit settled. So I’m waiting…

    1. “Even when we stop waiting on our own behalf, we start waiting for others.” Now THAT is what I was trying to say above but it seems like I never really got around to it. The thing is, C is in a place right now where she is not cognizant of all that is going on (although I think she would be aware of the stress if we allowed it to seep into out day-to-day activities.) and yet we hurry everything along. Finally realizing that we can wait a bit longer and NOT use her as an excuse to “get our lives started” or whatever was a beautiful feeling. She is fine right here the way she is and as long as she’s fine, then I’m willing to wait.

      I know exactly how you feel about not being able to write about certain things. My husband has a pretty substantial online presence in his own right and I wouldn’t want to say some things that he wouldn’t be comfortable with. It has crossed my mind more than once to start a completely unpublicized blog where I can dump all that stuff.

  15. It’s very difficult not to worry when you’re thinking a big fat life changer may or may not occur. But you’re right it doesn’t do any good and you’re right about Tom Petty. I LOVE HIM. Anyway, Em, glad you did sleep through the night and try not to worry — causes things have already been set in motion — with or without worry! Take care and you’ll hit your stride again soon. ;)

    1. He is THE BEST, right? If I could have a beer with any celebrity, he would probably be it. Thanks, Brig!

  16. Your post really speaks to me. In my own way, I am also waiting, as you read in an earlier post. I am constantly reminded that I need to learn patience and acceptance, and that’s mainly what being forced to wait teaches me, I think.
    This line really jumped out at me: “We all love each other so the world can’t harm us.” I LOVED this, and I am going to borrow this concept and carry it with me. I’ve often felt this and have been unable to put it as eloquently as you have.
    Thanks! and hugs!

    1. I’m glad that spoke to you. I felt a little naive writing that, but it’s been my experience that it’s true. My family went through a shitstorm when my dad died years ago, but it was always our love for each other (and our love for him) that protected us from all that the world was hurtling at us. I feel it even more strongly now that I have a little family of my own.

  17. It’s hard not to worry about things like jobs, but they do always work out and sometimes in unexpected ways. If there is ever a point when you become desperate – there is always something out there until the right thing comes along, but I’ve never gotten to the desperate point.

    1. I’ve never gotten to the truly desperate point either. I am very lucky to have family and friends who would catch us before something truly horrible happened. Thanks, Eva!

  18. bellissimom · · Reply

    Worrying is so incredibly easy to do but so very unhelpful! I swear every Emily I know, including myself, is a worry wart.

    I am sending good vibes your way.

    1. I know, right?! I have known one sane Emily in my entire life, and that’s saying a lot because I have known A LOT of Emilys! In our office in Korea, there were three Emilys!

  19. I can be a fretter myself, so I admire you for trying to take a new tactic. So much easier said than done though, isn’t it? Good luck, and I hope a good job surfaces soon.

    1. Thanks! This time around, it was pretty easy to just give up the worrying. It was kind of like a little switch went on in my brain to just cool it.

  20. I’m so glad you are getting some sleep. I would say I am confident it will all work out, but I hate when I am going through a stressful time and people tell me it will be ok.
    So I bet you kick this rough times ass.

    1. You are awesome. I love the way you put things ;D

  21. Its great you’re in a positive state of mind. I’m such a worrier too so I know what you mean about waiting being such a big part of life. Here’s hoping that good things will start happening from this point on!

    1. Thanks! This is one that I think a lot of people can relate to. Waiting and worrying comes so naturally to me, but it’s a habit I’m in the process of breaking. I think it’s a necessary step in being a good parent.

  22. […] seems that from lack of time, to likes and self-love, to writing, to accents, to advice columns, to complacency waiting, to being Bumble Pressed all the topics have been covered.  And those are just the ones off the […]

  23. I love your writing, and it’s super funny! Your outlook on life is always positive, and even when your waiting, you are patient. Thanks, for that. It kind of puts life in perspective… nerdwithtaste.wordpress.com

    1. Thanks! I wasn’t even trying to be funny here so wait until I bring the big guns out! ;D

  24. Great post! I’m with you on Tom Petty. You should read the book “The Power of Now.” Talks about the virtues of waiting and not worrying (to completely over simplify it).

  25. Thinking good thoughts at you. I’m sure it will come right soon enough x

  26. Learning patience is definitely one you can cross off your list of Life Lessons!

Now you can hold the magic talking stick.

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