Well. Here it is. January 5th. Five days into the New Year and I am just getting around to reviewing 2012 (and fighting embarrassment over this blog, which I haven’t contributed to in over 6 months). Hey, that’s not like me…or is it?
I was standing in the kitchen of our new home on January 2nd, where it seems as though I spend most of my waking hours these days, and it hit me. I had been feeling like something was missing from my New Year transition, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Then, as if from the far reaches of my mind, wriggling its way to the forefront of my stream of consciousness, there it was. I realized that this was, quite possibly, the first year in my adult life when I had not set goals for the coming year. And I hadn’t even reviewed the goals that I set for 2012. Did I achieve any of them? Some I know I accomplished, but I can’t remember my full list and, what’s worse, I can’t even find it. My initial response and cursory scold of myself went something like this, “What’s the matter with you? Have you lost all sense of self? That’s not like you. Or, is it?”
You see, I’m a goal setter plain and simple. Ask me what I plan to do next week, and I’ll enlighten you on that and then bore you to death with what I also plan to do five years from now. As my brother-in-law C. says when something is totally lame…ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
It’s a double-edged sword, living life like that. On the one hand my life is like an intricate game of chess, where I stealthily craft moves four and five steps ahead. Very smart indeed. But, on the other hand, an abhorrent and intrinsic characteristic of the game is that it is exceedingly tricky to honor the move I just made and simply revel in the pawns as they appear on the board in that moment. In short…carpe diem for the planner is difficult.
Could this be it, though? Could this be THE moment in my life when I am actually seizing carpe diem? I mean, I didn’t plan a darned thing for this year. That speaks volumes, right? The angel on my right shoulder is saying, “You are doing it! Your spirit is growing! You are enjoying more of what life has to offer today and not over-exerting yourself so much on what life should bring tomorrow. Hooray for you!” Then there’s that devil on the left sneering, “Well, now you’ve done it! You’ve completely gone and lost it! You’ve become just a shell of your former self…,” and, with a disapproving sigh, scoffs “…a self that once had so much promise.” And then there’s me retorting back, “Hey! Cut me some slack. I live with a two year-old.”
A FB friend of mine, NSM, recently posted that her marriage mentor had challenged she and her husband to re-write their marriage vows. She was polling her FB friends for input. I thought about what I would write and what would be most important to me, looking back now. My input went something like this:
“I accept that you will grow and change and that I will do the same, and I vow to embrace and honor those changes as a component of life’s God-given riches that we will share together.”
That’s really the crux of most of our discontent in life, you know…aversion to change. Say you lose your job and have to dip into savings just to get by for a while. The natural tendency is to be averse to this financial change and lament about what you could have done with that money or worry about how you will gain it back. You experience a health set-back and suffer through the reality of what your body IS versus what you EXPECTED it would be. You lose someone special in your life, and now you grapple with how to fill a void within your being. And you wake up one day next to someone you have been with your entire life and feel as though you don’t recognize him or her, or, worse yet, you wake up and feel like you don’t recognize yourself.
Why is this so troubling? All it is, is change. Picture the word “CHANGE” in your mind. Now picture it cloaked in a shroud that says “FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN.” If we can just strip it down to its bare bones, expose it for what it really is, and remove the burial shroud of fear that we love to wrap it in, then all that’s left is the one, simple, singular syllable…change. It’s there. It will always be there, for no day will be like the day before. So if we stop being so surprised by it, maybe we will finally uncover the key to contentment. Maybe, just maybe, we need to all re-write our vows to ourselves.
The reality is, I’m not a shell of my former self at all. I’m just a new self. I’m now a mother, and that has changed me in ways that I never even knew existed. My days are now filled with caring for someone else, seeing that someone else’s needs are met, and, yes, planning for someone else. As I was more and more honest with myself on January 2nd about who I am now, I actually came to the enlightened conclusion that I had been planning all along for 2013. The funny thing was, it just hadn’t been in the form of written goals on a piece of paper that had to do with me. My planning came more in a list of thoughts for the year about our son N. Thoughts like:
“I want to sign him up for small fry soccer so that he can try out a sport.”
“His verbal skills are really good. I think I want to start speaking more Spanish to help him learn a second language.”
“It would be a great idea to start a Fun Friday outing this year where I spend time doing something new with him each week.”
“What can I do to help out more at his school garden this spring?”
“What if we use the iPad to learn something new each night in addition to reading our regular stories?”
“Will he be old enough to start working more with music and art?”
And on…and on.
I had been planning all along. I just didn’t recognize it, because it had taken on a new form. It wasn’t about me, and, consequently, I was no longer the same me. My planning has changed, and, thus, so have I.
But, have no fear, I do “plan” to continue this blog. I have missed it, and, after initially kicking myself over what I deemed a “blog fail” due to lack of consistency, I stumbled across this 2012 annual report compiled by WordPress, and, I won’t lie, it made me smile. 3500 views? 30 posts. Viewers from 32 countries? Crazy. My first year in this project wasn’t a fail. It was merely a reflection of me changing into me.
So, here I am. I’m ready to move forward.
I am change.
You are change.
Let’s change together and simply embrace it for once.
Enjoy the 2012 annual report for this blog:
Here’s an excerpt:
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,500 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 6 years to get that many views.