Years ago, my husband and I would spend hours on New Years day drafting detailed resolutions. I had lists with five goals in each category: Financial, spiritual, home improvement, each child listed separately, and much more. It was a very interesting exercise, and I do not think a waste of time. But very rarely (never) did we end up feeling successful at meeting those goals. No, the promises of a monthly Daddy date or yoga three times a week or saving for college years were forgotten with the very next garbage day/two with ear infections/overdue phone bill combo day. So now I limit myself to two or three very do-able goals. The phrase "Older but wiser." does have some truth to it.
"New Year, Old Me" made me laugh as I typed it as tomorrow is my birthday, and I'm supposed to feel older. With a Jan 5 birthday it is literally an older me come each new year's week. But I don't feel particularly older on my day of birth. I also don't feel newer just because the calendar flipped to 2015. Honestly, I feel about the same. The new year brings a feeling of promise. An old me is also reassuring.
When I look back at 2014 I see a lot of struggle, some pain, losses that will stay with me for many years. The joke my husband likes to tell (he doesn't know it is a joke) is 'Well last month was really unusual because of X, Y, and Z' but when I point out the last 300+ months have been similarly unusual, making them usual, he just disagrees. This month things will be calm, normal, uneventful. It never happens. Oh some months are more hectic with more major events. Graduations, operations, vacations. But even a regular old weekend with a dead battery, broken cake plate, lost wallet, frozen pipe, rude neighbor, dog doing her business in the wrong place, and a sore throat is trying. Time rushes on. Time rushes on. But in these same brief timespans are good things. Moments of peace. Finding a new meditation site, savoring a delicious caramel, looking at the sparkle in my dog's eye as he offers me the tennis ball, laughing at an old episode of Seinfeld. Every normal weekend has times of stress, arguing, fatigue, anxiety. But interspersed are moments of pleasure, rest, laughter, and conversation. This is life.
~Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.~
In my twenties, this was a mantra that my bff Sherry and I lived by when we were feeling wise and trying to figure out life. As new moms surrounded by Good Housekeeping's pages of perfection as well as diaper pails and check books that didn't match up, we discovered this phrase together and took it seriously. We agreed, if we could keep this on our fridge with a magnet and look at it every day, and somehow live it, we would be happy.
Well 27 years later I can say that I feel I am currently living it. Oh sure, if I won the lottery I'd have the amazing laundry room and reading nook that I've pinned to my Pinterest boards. I'd also help families adopt orphans, travel to Ireland, and pay off all my kids' student loans. (Actually I could write several blog posts on what I would do if I won the lottery, but I digress.) As I muse over 2014, here at the beginning of 2015, I say this -- I do want what I have. And that when stress returns (probably within the next 18 minutes) it will do its damage, but that even the smallest crumbs of good outweigh the pounds of bad. Good wins.
1. Hike once a month
2. Second draft of novel by July 31st.