new year, new superpower.

January 6, 2020

For someone with a blog title that alludes to the ancient art of being able to see into the future, I regret to inform you that I’m terribly deficient in that department. I can no more tell you what the weather predicted for tomorrow is than what my step-by-step plan for welcoming a third baby into this nest might be.

I’ve gathered over the past few months that for some readers this comes across as reckless, or at the very least naive. But whatever superpowers of fortune telling or planning that I lack, I’ve decided I make up for with the superpower of optimism.

I can’t say that I was always this way—or even that I am always this way. When I was in my early twenties and starting this blog, the title emerged from a low-level sense of urgency and wanting to know what lay ahead. I had applications sitting in the graduate admissions offices of five different universities. I had a job that barely paid my very modest rent, not to mention the mountain of student debt I left college with. I wasn’t married. I didn’t have children. The options of where to live and where to study and what to do with my life felt endless in ways that were both exhilarating and terrifying.

Since then, a muddy algorithm of decisions and circumstance and luck, of planning and failing entirely to plan, of very good fortune and some not so good fortune, have landed me where I am. I don’t know much about what this new year will hold, but I do believe that one way or another, I’ll make it through.

A new year, like a new life, can fill a person either with hope and optimism or angst and dread. But regardless of how I face the future, time will march forward. I’ll make my way, sometimes easily and sometimes ploddingly. I’ll stumble and fall and pick myself back up, and sometimes—maybe even most times—getting back to standing will take a whole lot longer than I anticipate. I might need to walk on my knees for a while. I might writhe in pain or melancholy or I might soar with confidence and good cheer. Almost certainly, I’ll do both.

Here’s to embracing a new year—and a new life—with hope, but mostly with understanding that I don’t know what precisely the future holds. I do not read tea leaves. No matter how many times I’m asked how long we’ll stay in this apartment, or how long the new baby will sleep in a mini crib, or how we’ll adjust to our new normal, I won’t have the answers. Until I do. I’m okay with that.

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43 Comments

  • Reply Audrey January 6, 2020 at 3:14 pm

    Beautifully said. Happy New Year, Erin! And thanks for taking us along.

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  • Reply Judith A Ross January 6, 2020 at 3:20 pm

    Many sayings come to mind as I read this post, such as the one about how to make god laugh. I suppose it is possible to “plan” a career and maybe “plan” a family — but that doesn’t mean that either of those things will go according to plan. No one can know for sure what kind of child one will have anymore than one can know what kind of challenges life will eventually dish out. And as for those periods when events bring you to your knees, perhaps the best tack is to take them one day, or one half a day, or even an hour at a time. And, yes, you will get back up.

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE January 6, 2020 at 3:21 pm

      agreed!

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  • Reply Sondra January 6, 2020 at 3:20 pm

    Well done! Here’s to a year filled with resilience, hope, optimism, and compassion. We are welcoming baby number four and the one thing we have “figured out” is that there is always room to grow and learn. I like your superpower!

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  • Reply Lisset January 6, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    It’s taken a good number of unmet plans for me to start to appreciate uncertainties. Life is a windy road—Onward, ever onward. Happy New Year, Erin!

  • Reply Kim B January 6, 2020 at 3:53 pm

    A wonderful happy new year to you and your beautiful and growing family, Erin.

  • Reply Amanda January 6, 2020 at 3:56 pm

    Somehow being given a window into your life through this blog makes people think they have permission to ask questions or make observations that would have seemed impertinent at best and more-than-rude at worst even ten years ago. Something about sitting behind screens makes people far more bold, most of the time it’s not good or healthy. I say that as one who finds opinions and observations welling up almost continually, but then I remember that it’s not my place and no one asked for my opinion! Haha … anyway … wishing online communities were different, but so glad you continue to share, and glad for your wisdom today. Life keeps going, best laid plans or not, sometimes that’s the best feeling in the world, sometimes it’s the worst. But today it feels pretty good!

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  • Reply Caitlin January 6, 2020 at 4:22 pm

    Gorgeous!!

  • Reply Kathleen January 6, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    Beautifully written! Thank you.

  • Reply Jenna January 6, 2020 at 4:28 pm

    My brother’s kids are currently 7, 5, and just shy of 3. The older ones share a bunk bed and the youngest is still happily sleeping in a (standard-sized) crib. They do not live in a tiny space, but are constantly fielding questions about when they’re going to switch up the sleeping arrangements. His answer is always “when this stops working, we’ll find out.”

    My biggest lesson of 2019 and my biggest hope for 2020 is to DO ME. I seem to have reached another level in learning lessons of NGAF about “norms” that don’t work for me. Those norms don’t work for a lot of people. The more we can all ask questions of ourselves and defy unnecessary expectations while also compassionately respecting others who are doing the same, the faster we can build communities built on intuition, justice, and love. I appreciate your voice and solidarity on this path. Thanks, Erin.

    1
  • Reply Karen January 6, 2020 at 4:35 pm

    Erin:
    We are on the opposite end we are retired,
    I will be sixty this month and hubby is seven years
    older, I ask myself why would we take on a Huge
    Monster of an Old Farmhouse 125 years, we should of been down scaling, Corporate America(43 Years), Big City( Big D, Dallas)
    and a huge house of 15,000 square feet.

    I love ya blog, it is my happy escape.
    We reside in The Deep Extreme Northern Woods of Maine/Canada.

  • Reply Kim m January 6, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    I always imagined your super power was your ability to “thoughtfully make do”. At least that’s what you inspire me to do!

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    • Reply Jessica January 6, 2020 at 9:36 pm

      Excited to follow along on your new adventures! One of the greatest parenting lessons I’ve learned is that, with the exception of science-backed, evidence-based advice (that I’m happy to learn from fellow parents!), almost all premonitions and advice about what our life WILL look like as my kiddo gets older is not particularly helpful (or accurate) — even when those premonitions and advice come from me! I’ve learned that a take-it-as-it-comes attitude sometimes feels like the most optimistic attitude of all!

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  • Reply Doe Boyle January 6, 2020 at 6:40 pm

    I love you. End of sentence.

  • Reply steph January 6, 2020 at 6:56 pm

    “im ok with that.” i feel this hard. this end of year i felt so down and couldn’t exactly place why. i settled into the discomfort, wrote for myself only and emerged hopeful and clearer. i still don’t have answers but i know one thing for sure – i have sooo so much to be grateful for and that alone makes everything ok. diving into the new decade with some fresh approaches -my one word resolution here: https://tps-steph.blogspot.com/2020/01/0054-2020.html

  • Reply GWeenie January 6, 2020 at 8:10 pm

    I had a baby in a 275 sq ft apartment in one of the most expensive cities in the world…on a fellowship! (Relatively generous, but not at all comparable to an actual salary). You can do it. We built loft beds. You can do/live however you wish, prioritizing whatever you want, and you don’t have to defend or explain your choices to anyone!

    2
  • Reply Amanda Krieger January 6, 2020 at 8:17 pm

    such a lovely post, as always. when we had our third baby everyone was ready for my family to move into a larger home much earlier than we were.
    being happy where you are, with what you have is counter-cultural enough to make people uncomfortable. i wish you all the best. i don’t have fortune-telling superpowers, either, but from what i know about you guys you’ll make thoughtful, intentional choices that have nothing to do with status quo. looking forward to reading along.

    • Reply Christie January 6, 2020 at 9:25 pm

      Same here. We have a two bedroom and three kids in one room. It works for us, and when it stops working we will figure something else out. Our kids never like to sleep alone. They love sharing their room.

      1
  • Reply Megan January 6, 2020 at 8:17 pm

    Also welcoming an (semi-unplanned) new baby this summer. My daughter just celebrated her first birthday. We moved to a town where I have one new friend and no family. Almost every hour I oscillate between, “We can’t do this” and “We can do this because there isn’t another choice” and “We got this.” Everything is weird and awesome and will be fine, because mostly it always is.

  • Reply Milou January 6, 2020 at 10:09 pm

    Happy New Year! I am so glad you are in the world and I get to know a little slice of your life. No superpowers needed 🙂

  • Reply BRI January 6, 2020 at 10:49 pm

    One of the greatest discoveries is that we don’t need anything to be happy, we only need something to be sad. Optimism of this kind is sustainable, natural and wise. Happy new year.

  • Reply Anya January 7, 2020 at 1:08 am

    I remember learning that the “J” in the Myers-Briggs categories means a love of having things settled and planned, and thinking, yep, that’s me. (INFJ for the win!). And yet there are so many parts of life that just can’t be planned. You just have to decide what to do with the time that’s given to you (that’s paraphrasing Gandalf.) 🙂 Anyway, take care of yourself and your family in this year of changes.

    1
  • Reply Andrea January 7, 2020 at 7:10 am

    I have been reading your blog for several years now and can I just say it is one of the most refreshing and calm thoughtful ones out there. I feel like so many people portray who they want you to think they are but you are so honest and again thoughtful with what you share! We live in a society where more is more, bigger is better, get the latest trend, gadget etc. But in your little corner of the universe you embrace more simplicity and mindful living and it continually inspires so thank you for that. I have no idea either what this new year will bring but I’m hopeful and optimistic. And when things get scary or overwhelming for me I think back to the best advice my beloved dad ever gave me, always make a decision YOU can live with! And again, thank you for your wonderful blog. You’re the best!

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  • Reply Elizabeth January 7, 2020 at 7:26 am

    ❤️

  • Reply Ellen January 7, 2020 at 10:25 am

    I turn daily to your blog, and come away refreshed by the beauty of your images and the wisdom of your words. Sometimes just writing wisdom down makes it more concrete and do-able, just as reading, or re-reading can. Thanks you.

    1
  • Reply Laura January 7, 2020 at 10:25 am

    If there is someone that could truly see into the future (especially in regards to children) and know what exactly to predict, they would surely become a bajillionaire. I think it’s much better to figure it out as you go! x

  • Reply Ellen January 7, 2020 at 10:26 am

    Oops. Thank you.

  • Reply Sophia January 7, 2020 at 11:39 am

    It never fails to surprise me how strangers behind a screen feel the need to ask personal questions or make comments about the way you chose to live your life!
    I love this post, and your blog in general and am so grateful to you for giving us a little insight into your life. It is inspiring.

    If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans!

    1
  • Reply Kate Morrison January 7, 2020 at 1:06 pm

    Ah, gosh I love this. I think sometimes people want to plan your life for you, or hope you have all the answers, because they sure don’t. Because, really, no one does. Thank you for sharing, as always.

    1
    • Reply ERIN BOYLE January 7, 2020 at 1:11 pm

      Ha, totally. I think there’s an element of magical thinking/suspension of disbelief that happens with people on the internet, and it often goes one of two (polar opposite) ways—people imagine that you must have everything perfectly lined up, planned, and ready to go; that things come easily and naturally and thanks to any number of factors or luck or extreme fortune OR people think you’re a bluffing phoney putting on an elaborate charade! whew! mostly just human!

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  • Reply Mary Kate January 7, 2020 at 1:19 pm

    Oh I wrote a post like this not too long ago. I ended it with this quote, which I return to again and again:

    “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” — Rilke

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  • Reply Rose January 7, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    Do you only post comments that agree with your views or are complimentary to you/your lifestyle?
    Are you not interested in facilitating discussions that may be in opposition to your views or may question/ask about your choices?
    Just curious as it’s pretty bizarre how you only have comments up that are in agreement with your own.
    Kind of defeats the purpose of having an interactive platform, no?
    Used to enjoy following you, but as of lately you seem very hypocritical and SO CONSUMER driver!
    Doesn’t really matter if you’re hacking products that are better for the environment, your still hacking.
    I guess things change when you’re expecting a third?

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE January 7, 2020 at 6:40 pm

      Nope! Rarely get disparaging comments; yours is the first of the New Year! No changes here in terms of product posts or sponsorships that allow me to continue working in this space, but if you’re not enjoying the site, absolutely no binding agreement for you to come back and visit.

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    • Reply Rose January 8, 2020 at 6:28 pm

      Just for the record, my name is also Rose, and I love this space.

    • Reply Martha January 9, 2020 at 7:49 pm

      It saddens me to see comments like this, not because they challenge an idea, position or product, but because it shuts any possible conversation down. Wouldn’t it be nice if in 2020 people could speak with a little more kindness and a little less judgment? I want to contribute to more productive conversations and supporting others -especially other women, and particulairly women who dare to put themselves out there in the digital space. Erin, thanks for continuing to let us into your life and I hope you get more “rose” and less “thorn” as you figure out what 2020 brings for you and yours.

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  • Reply Jane January 7, 2020 at 7:47 pm

    Yes and yes. I also needed to read this today. Thank you for writing it.

  • Reply Sherry Johnson January 7, 2020 at 11:01 pm

    I drive myself crazy with planning for the future, only to have my husband veto all my plans. I wish I could have your savoire faire in these matters. Please keep giving me optimistic points of view!!!

  • Reply Rio January 8, 2020 at 1:05 am

    Erin I just wanted to go on here and say what a pleasure it has been for me to come across your blog. Cheers to you and endless adventures in the coming future!

  • Reply Jeanne Flynn January 8, 2020 at 10:09 am

    It’s such a pleasure to be on your journey. I recently decided to leave Instagram (where I was a loyal follower). It was my New Years Super Power. The constant comparisons to friends, family and strangers alike, made me feeling anxious and unsatisfactory. I want to enjoy my life without comparing it to others who brag or only show the pretty side of things. You’re honesty and openness is appreciated. Happy New Year!

  • Reply Mackenzie January 8, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    Beautifully written, Erin 🙂

  • Reply Kim January 9, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    Maybe it’s just a product of getting older, but even well thought out plans often don’t translate to what unfolds for us. Your vote for optimism above all was just what I needed to read today. Thank you for sharing your journey – we’re rooting for you, plans or no plans <3

  • Reply Katie January 9, 2020 at 6:27 pm

    Happy new year! we are welcoming a third baby in march and I’m looking forward to the sense of optimism and possibility a new life brings.

  • Reply Alice January 10, 2020 at 3:17 am

    Eloquent and grounded, as always. Thank you for creating a wonderful place to pause and consider.

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