Saturday, January 4, 2014

New Year Surrender


One of my favorite gifts over the past few years is being given the time and space to notice patterns in my life: being able to recognize where I have been before, where I have left, where I have returned to, and knowing at the end of it all that it all moves me toward something larger, something more beautiful.  It has, in a way, given me permission to step outside of my day-to-day and into the role of an observer, wondering always what meaning I will find years down the line in each experience, each period of m life.

Life has been utterly wonderful in this sense during the past several months because I'm just so damn uncertain most of the time.  Certainly, the (few) phases I've had where I've felt confident of moving toward an explicit goal were exhilarating and yes please, I'd like more of those.  But the sense of unknown and in that, of magic and expectation and curiosity and the push to just have faith that this is part of something larger is pretty wonderful, too.  Sure, days arrive here and there where I'd be ever so much more comfortable just knowing  where this is all going, but on the good days it feels like choosing to let go of the safe but lonely rock in the middle of the ocean and to instead float on the waves under the warm sun, trusting I will be deposited on exactly the right shore.

My favorite gift of last year, aside from the big life events, is being given space again to be without known direction, because even when I've wanted desperately just the tiniest glimpse of understanding where this is all headed, I've known in my heart it is the surrendering to the not knowing that will drive the next right thing.

I haven't made any New Year's resolutions for many many years.  Partly this is in response to the implicit link they have to superficial and usually unsuccessful goals; I'd much rather be on regular re-evaluation of what needs to be done in my life, taking into account the changes that each season brings, so I won't be making any resolutions for 2014 either.  However, I do believe fully in setting intentions, not necessarily to extend over a particular time period, but rather only until those intentions become irrelevant, whether by change in habit, attitude or circumstance.

So, until these no longer serve, in the name of a new page turned, I intend to:

Inject more intention into my free time.

  • The incessant grind of my education created a need for mindless activities, allowing me to check out from the mental strain and pressure, so I dutifully developed healthy Pinterest habit and watched way too many TV series. Now that I'm in a regular, not-so-mentally-exhausting job, I have more energy available and I want to enjoy it.  I've had several evenings this week where I didn't spend any time with electronics at all beyond a quick e-mail check after work.  Being intentional with this time rather than flipping back and forth between social media sites, free cell games and questionable TV shows made those days feel much longer and more pleasantly balanced.  My house got cleaned(ish). I had a tiny cocktail party.  I read a book.  H and I had a super nice homemade dinner.  I got to putter around in my happy pants scaring the cats with my screaching/singing.  I felt almost like I got an extra weekend out of it; I think this is where the life balance lives.  
Keep thinking about change

  • I almost always find change more unsettling than exciting, but it's an integral piece of the kind of life I want.  I look around and see many people who allowed their choices to be guided by fear of change rather than a move toward growth or willingness to risk for a greater goal.  It's easy to get caught in the belief that when change is right, it will feel right, as if our gut feelings can predict the future. They can't.  We get to choose either to jump even when the unknowns feel overwhelming or to remain stagnant.  I hate even writing about this one because I'd much rather nest up forever in my cozy cocoon, but I know ultimately gratification lies on the other side of risk.  My wisest of wise friends texted me this this morning:
 "I got fired the day before my 40th birthday.  I burned through my savings paying for my underwater house.  I was scared a lot.  It was easy to see myself moving in with parents and sliding into debt and despair.  But that didn't happen.  I'm telling you this because it will never be easier to make a change than it is now."  

Eat more doughnuts

  •   I love doughnuts.
And one gratuitous very short term straight up textbook New Year's Resolution

Move more
  • Before you get on that fast train to thinking I in some way want to compensate for all the super super delicious and lovely things I ate during the holidays (holiday food, I miss you already), that's not it.  I wholeheartedly love the eating part of the holidays and am not willing to let guilt or "shoulds" hinder that.  However, as they are every year, the holidays are just so busy and they fall right at the darkest time of the year, when after work walks in the dark just can't compare to fleece pajamas and a scotch on the rocks.  I cherish that lull in my usual movement habits, in part because being lazy can be super fun, in part because sometimes it's nice to get a little out of whack to remember why being in whack is so nice.  This isn't a resolution per se, since I'd do it naturally resolution or no.  I'm just putting it out in the world that I'm finding my way back to more balance and a quieter, less frenzied schedule with space for more bike rides and less tush time.  And then when I get back to feeling like my usual self, I'll get thrown out of balance again, because that's how life is.  I love it.
Wishing you a happy 2014.


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