I like the idea of a brand new year. It’s like unwrapping a present from a complete stranger and it arrives in pieces, parts and it takes a couple of months to assemble because it didn’t come with directions. And once you get it assembled you then have to figure out how to work it, and it takes batteries or a specialty charger that then has to be ordered online with 4-10 weeks for shipping and handling. And then maybe it purrs and whirs along, or it belches and wheezes. You get some advice, a repair job, from someone who has manned a similar machine at some point and you decide whether it’s the best present in the world or the worst, and now that it’s all in perspective, it’s time for THE YEAR IN REVIEW, and you know there is a brand new year ready to be unwrapped just around the corner, on Jan. 1, so you’d best be getting on with it. To me, this exercise, THE YEAR IN REVIEW, seems both a mighty, monumental milestone and a completely arbitrary non-event. Let’s go!
I am not, by nature, a regretful person. And, considering I could probably spend a fair amount of time regretting if I evaluated, in detail, the vast catalog of poor choices I’ve managed to make in my adult life, that’s probably a good thing. When I look back on a year I generally pat myself on the back and say, “Phew! I can’t believe you made it through that and you’re still standing. Good work team.” I try not to focus on anything specific and instead think about the general vibe and attitude of my year. Could I have been less sarcastic? Should I have been a better advocate for my needs? Perhaps I could have worked a little harder, stood a little taller, sucked in my gut more often. Should I have wrestled that bull to the ground instead of just shooting him with a plastic arrow from the safety of the stands? I should have told that guy to fuck the fuck off a little sooner…yep, always room for improvement.
I’ve always loved the idea of giving ones self the permission to let go of something, just give it up to the universe, after focusing a great deal of energy on it, especially something that you really wanted. I think the New Year is a good time for the “analysis and purge” though I used to use Valentine’s Day as my excuse, my deadline for doing that.
For years I hosted an annual Valentine’s Day open house. Everybody was invited for pink champagne and cupcakes, partner, single, kids, married or no. I loved the idea of celebrating love in all its’ forms, not just romantic love. The invitations always had a perforated heart that could be punched out – every guest was given the task of making a love wish on their heart and hanging it on the “love shrine.” Wishes were secret and could be anything from fingers crossed for a new baby to passing the bar exam. The paper hearts, heavy with hope, would hang from a sequined string, for an entire year, until the next Valentine’s party where they would be read aloud (anonymously) and then tossed into a ceremonial fire.
But, this year, in February of 2011, I was living 1,000 miles away from my Valentine party guests, 1,000 miles from my home of 5 years, and instead of hosting an open house on Valentine’s Day, I was eating hamburgers with my parents and watching a documentary about the Reagan presidency on PBS. Luckily at the time, rather than stabbing myself in the eye with my fork, I was able to chuckle at my new low and I decided to hang on to my wish for a little longer.
So, deadline, here I sit on the precipice of 2012 and it’s time to throw a few things away to make room for some new things. I wish I were capable of setting a grand goal and having the strength of will to stick with it. Like: I WILL BE SATISFIED BEING ALONE, STOP LOOKING FOR A MAN TO COMPLETE ME AND FIND CONTENTMENT IN MY OWN COMPANY. I WILL STOP TRYING TO SABOTAGE MY OWN HAPPINESS AND QUIT BEING SO FATALISTIC. Or, I WILL GET RID OF THE SELF-LOATHING, UNCONFIDENT, UNCERTAIN PART (it’s a pretty big part) OF MY PERSONALITY AND REPLACE IT WITH SELF-LOVE AND CONFIDENCE. Ha! I find baby steps to be more my speed.
My Mom always says you need to be specific about what you want (and what you don’t want) and then be “open to receive it when it comes.” In theory, it seems like a good suggestion but it can backfire. Once I said, “I don’t like super-muscley guys, guys that have to go to the gym for 2 hours a day to maintain their physique. Yuck.” So then Cupid sent me a world champion power lifter with calves the size (and shape) of cinder blocks. His workouts were generally 3 hours long. He could lift, by himself, a small car. He occasionally had “roid rage.” And, I moved across the country to be with him. Thinking about it now…I maybe should consider regretting that…
But, seriously, in 2012, I’d like to laugh it off, sooner, and just move on. I’d like to make more friends in the town where I live. I’d like to give up my need to serve others over myself. I’d like to stop trying to win over people who are terrible to me. I will be nicer to my mother. I’d like to eat more oatmeal and less bacon. I’m going to enter more sweepstakes. Also, have stronger upper arms. And, while part of me hopes that the Mayans are right and it’s the end of the world, because that would just be so much easier, another part of me still believes that someday, in the foreseeable future, I will get my hopes up about something – a boy, a job, or something else that’s so far been out of my reach, and those hopes won’t be dashed on the craggy rocks below. Instead, I’ll rise, in a rainbow hot air balloon over the blue green sea with a glittery unicorn by my side. I can't wait.