I’m not one for new year resolutions, I don’t have a word or a goal or anything specific to direct my path for this new year. I have in the past, and sometimes I fear I’m just a slacker for not doing it again this year. But I just can’t. I just cannot find the energy to make it happen this year. Life is flying by, faster and faster as my children age, as my marriage matures, as my calling and character become clearer and more efficient. What I don’t have much time for is anything else.
I was talking with a friend of mine recently and said, “This year I just want to focus on being a great mom, a great wife, and a great friend. I want to be honest and true, and to stop making up for the ways I can’t be all things to all the people. I’m so done with feeling guilty for not being perfect.”
My words surprised me as they left my mouth. Its not that I didn’t mean them – in fact I think its really that I meant them so much. I’ve just not been that clear about it before. I don’t even want to know how much time I’ve spent feeling overly responsible for the choices of others in my life. I accommodate for other’s messes, for their missed deadlines, for all the misunderstandings. In my history, often I’ve been the one who fixes it, who makes it better. Basically I have assumed the role of Olivia Pope in my relative life. I’m her – minus the awesome wardrobe and expensive wine.
There is no medal for this, nor do I want one. What I want, all that I want, is to stop carrying the freaking baton. I just want to stop. I want to live small, and clear-headed, and wholehearted. I want to slow down and stop all the spinning.
Can you relate?
Here is what I want for 2017:
1. I want to make more art. Since I was little, way before the world told me what and who I was, I was a maker, a doodler, a tiny artist free and wild and completely unaware that art was something people could measure. I want to make, more. Simply for the joy of it. Simply because it makes me happy.
2. I want to see my kids. I want to really notice them. I want to put down my damn phone and look full into their faces as they tell me things. Because I know, deep down, that the days of spontaneous voluntary information sharing are rapidly coming to an end (hello, tween.)
3. I want to stop apologizing. From now on, you won’t get an I’m sorry from me (unless I’ve been an utter asshole and you deserve it.) But for every time I’m late to a lunch or phone date – I’ll say thank you instead. Thank you for waiting, thank you for being patient, thank you for letting me be human and imperfect. And when I say how I feel or what I want, I’m not going to be sorry I took up space in the dialogue – I’m going to be grateful I have a voice and the guts to use it.
4. I want to dance more. I was constantly dancing around as a little kid. Music was always playing. I’m not musical myself, and I can’t sing a note to save my life. But, I love to move. Part of being a child and being an artist is that we move, a lot. There is no room for insecurity when you’re fully enveloped in the moment of something. I love the way dancing helps me get outside of my head and into my body. I want more of that this year.
5. I want to be a best friend to my husband. I want us to laugh more, to be silly and confident and fun and alive and free. Something about a mortgage and real jobs and kids and saving and all the things has threatened our ability to let go and not take it all too seriously. This year, we are fully committed to finding our way together, as us, and releasing the lie that we are supposed to look/be/act/do a certain way at this stage in our life. We will be us, as us, here and now. We against the world.
6. I want to breathe. 2016 is the year I finally stopped fighting the thing I’d been so afraid to admit was true. I have depression, and depression wasn’t something that just happened to me last year – it is a clinical, chronic, biological part of the way I’m made. I knew it for years, though the way it would affect me always came and went if I could hold out long enough. But the waves were exhausting, and hanging on, just barely keeping my head above water while insisting I could keep up with everything as if I was absolutely fine – I was tired of pretending. So one day I said it out loud. I said, “I feel sad, and I think its more than sad. I feel like I am stuck in quicksand and I don’t want to do it on my own anymore – I want help.” Those are such scary words, especially when I’m the one who is always supposed to be fine. But saying them, and doing something about it, was the beginning of a sea change for me. I want to keep breathing in 2017.
7. I want to say the true things in real time. Most of the time, what I feel in the moment isn’t clear, its not until later that I can figure it out. We women are especially prone to this, because what we think and how we think aren’t classicly accommodated for in the world we live in. It really is a man’s world in many ways. Our minds are made so complex and beautifully, and often if we can’t make ourselves work in the status quo, we’re shut down one way or another. I want to know what I want, to pay attention to myself like I matter, and speak up.
8. I want to live here. We’ve moved so often, and part of the consequence of that is that you find yourself constantly preparing for the next move. You store cardboard boxes from Amazon, you hoard the packing tape. You don’t let yourself get too attached to a new friend or place. It could all change, so we keep ourselves less invested. One foot in, one foot out. No more of that. I am here. Fully. I love the people in my life and I want to soak up everything about this place we live.
9. I want to love better. In all the ways. I want to be so brave and free that I can love without fear. And so often I realize I am still so, so afraid to love. I want to care about others, and to let their stories affect me. I want to love to the point where I wake up praying for my friends, where I call my dad on a Tuesday just because I want to hear his voice – because I am so grateful I have to option that I can. I want to hold my kids and my husband’s hand, and sit at the table of a friend and really let myself feel the love of the moment as we share a meal together. No more holding back. Only brave love.
10. I’m going to let things go. No more stories, no more spinning and winding tones and intentions and hypotheticals into the wee hours of the night. Let it go. I don’t want to hold onto past hurts. I don’t want past fear to destroy my chance at future joy. That stuff is old news, and once I’ve gleaned all the wisdom I can from it – I’m letting it go. Second and third and all the chances in 2017. Life is so short and precious. Let’s find our way, together.