The New Year.
This is the time we are supposed to reflect on the year past, considering all we lived well, and regenerating our mistakes into well thought out goals for next year. Sometimes I think my goals are just a way to satisfy the cognitive dissonance between the person I wish I had been and the person I actually was.
Didn’t follow your diet? It’s ok. Next year. Didn’t read that book? It’s ok. Next year. Relationships not quite what you wanted? No problem; 2018 will solve every 2017 woe.
Except we know that’s not true. We know we’ll probably repeat our stupid mistakes. We know that the gym is as close a reality as that tree fort in Bermuda. It’s just that we like to aim for something better, and I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing.
Aiming for something greater keeps us from falling lower, and forces us forward. Maybe I won’t have a six pack by March, but graduating from ground chuck to ground round (a weird way of saying leaner) would be great too. Maybe I won’t get that book published, but I’ll keep writing, and that’s why I’m doing this right?
The introspection we allow ourselves at the year’s turning also spawns gratitude. It has for me the past couple years more than it ever has before. It’s honest, raw gratitude. Having gone through the hell that an autoimmune disorder can bring on, I have learned a thing or two about being present.
It took me a while to realize that everything I had journaled about in my year of healing was really just learning about mindfulness: learning to truly be alive in the moment in front of you and finding yourself all wrapped up in it. It doesn’t mean that the moment is always beautiful, but there can be beauty in even the ugliest moment, because you’re alive in it.
Lately I have been taking my dog out to relieve himself in the depths of a Midwestern winter. I’m certain Jon Snow is killing white walkers in some far off corner of the yard. It’s freezing and terrible and wonderful. It’s the only time of the year that I can feel the fullness and stillness of peace. It’s not exactly what I would typically consider a spectacular moment, because I’m freezing my ass off, and my dog thinks it would be fun to hide under the deck, but there I am with the puppy I have waited for for years, and I’m alive, and I’m well, and it’s a great feeling.
I chose this particular picture for this post, not because I want to share just how much of a lush I can be, although, I’m sure that’s true, but because I wanted to remind myself of the rough times I have been through at the same time that I salute the fact that they are wrapped up in so much good. Kind of like asparagus wrapped in bacon.
Maybe someone has a perfect life. Maybe their perfect moments are wedged between equally perfect moments, with nothing dirty in between. Maybe. But I’d guess that most of us have asparagus and bacon kinds of lives. Maybe we live with pain, or that’s gone, and something else is getting its ugly on, but that doesn’t make our existence unworthy of celebration. I believe there is a nugget of hope, of inspiration, and of beauty in most of the mundane, even in the terrible moments that are thrown at us.
When I was sick, I met a frightened girl and watched as she grew into a courageous woman. No-one could fix the imperfect anymore. I had to sit in it. I marinated in imperfection until I saw the beauty in it.
So, let’s say a toast. That’s what we do on New Year’s Eve, right?!
Here’s to a bunch of terrible moments wrapped up and in between and part of the shining ones…
Here’s to a glass of wine, the peace of winter, the warmth of a cuddling French Bulldog, and the gratitude that comes with having lived poorly in order to know what it means to live well…
Here’s to a New Year filled with new moments to figure out.
Happy New Year, friends!
May 2018 treat you well!