There is a foggy image in my mind of a girl who wakes up early in the morning, sips a glass of water, then jogs off to the gym for a calorie-singeing workout. There’s a shower, some taming of hair, a dust of artfully applied makeup, a cup of coffee. All of this sets the tone for a productive day, a home cooked meal, some socializing with friends, chores polished off, a few chapters of literature or timely nonfiction read, a creative or thoughtful project started or accomplished, and finally eight hours of REM cycles and blissful dreams.

Let’s have a moment of silence for the girl who doesn’t exist.

My fridge currently is home to butter, beer, milk, and a wedge of parmesan cheese. I’ve been stuck in the same chapter of the same book for two weeks. This morning I dragged myself out of bed in time for a workout only to wake up thirty minutes later wedged into a corner of my sofa. Chores get done when I am simply left with no further choice.

How do you balance finding balance? Despite the disarray, Atlanta is my happy place. What I lack in fitness, structure, or routine, I’ve been making up for with general contentment. My friends, my job, the restaurants around here (because heaven knows I’m not cooking) – all good. I figure that counts for a lot. I also have decided the existence of that girl in my head is better than nothing; instead of patting myself on the back for accomplishing all of those things, I’m patting myself on the back for wanting to accomplish those things. Who knows, maybe eventually she’ll haunt me long enough to kick me into a higher gear. And yet, there is the knowledge that if I make time for my personal checklist, that time has to been taken from somewhere else – hours of sleep, hours with friends… where is the middle ground?

I don’t know the answer yet.

In the meantime, my friends are having babies. Excuse me while I shelve personal conundrums for the preferable pleasure of snuggling other people’s munchkins.

Baby James, four days old.