Friday, December 27, 2013

As Ever

We humans are a curious bunch. We want everything neat and orderly. We want a clear ending to follow an equally clear beginning. In short, we’re pretty doggone silly.

Yes, we’re silly. Because those kinds of requirements put a ridiculous amount of pressure on us. I've heard so many people lately saying things like, “God, but I’ll be glad when 2013 is done!” or “I can’t wait for 2014, it’s going to be my year, I swear! Either way, it has to be better than this one.” Um. No, no it doesn’t. I’m all for optimism, but I’m also savvy enough to recognize life as a magnet for crazy, sad, turbulent, unexpected, life-changing shit happening. I’m also savvy enough to know that all those "Shit Happening" things can be the best possible things to happen even though they happen in the worst possible ways.

I'm not anxious for 2013 to be done. It’s been a decent year, not entirely without hardship and heartache, but I've become aware enough that I almost immediately look to those moments as learning curves. I have no reason to be excited about 2014, not really. I have a couple of things planned, a few ideas in mind for what I'd like to do and the direction(s) I’d like to see my life move in. But, really, life is going to do what life is going to do. That may sound apathetic, but I assure you, it isn't at all. I'm excited to see what happens, I simply don't fall prey to the folly of planning for the future. If I make each day count, then each next day is going to be more about making that day count.

One of the reasons I don't make resolutions is because doing so is just asking for the Universe to throw a wrench into the works. About a decade ago, for three years running, I’d make the resolution to go to the gym and workout five days a week. I’d be absolutely determined and faithful and then inevitably, about the third week of January, I’d be swept away in a tsunami-esque flu that left me wheezing and listless for a month. That’s not an excuse for no longer going to the gym (although I probably picked up those nasty germs there), but more of a cautionary tale about putting too much faith in the plans we make.

I've made resolutions to write X amount of words or pages every day. I've made resolutions to do this or that with my artwork. And then I don't live up to those resolutions for any number of reasons which mostly relate to unrealistic expectations (such as, that I'm going to magically transform into someone with a mentality other than my own) and the Universe letting me know that for all my swagger, it’s got other plans. And then I laugh. It reminds me of the days back when I was a floundering, failing religious freak (I know, I barely believe it myself). I went to a friend of mine and said something like, “It just doesn’t feel right. I’m not… not… getting it.” Said friend replied, “You're just not reading your Bible enough.” I slunked away, sure that I was condemned to some stark, cold purgatory. Then I stopped, stood straight and said, “Hey. Wait a minute! Just how much is enough?!”

It was in that moment that I began to realize that for all my proclamations, my willingness, my begging for acceptance… I was never going to be any more than me. I was never going to be anyone other than me.

Being the stubborn lass that I am, it only took me another decade to realize that I’m also never going to be any less than me, and that nobody else is ever going to be me. (Ahh, yes… see how that works?)

So, I don’t worry about a year ending or another beginning. I don’t worry about doors closing and opening. Each day is another day and will come with whatever side dish the Universe chooses to serve. Through it all, I try to give the best of me to whatever and whomever comes my way. Every day. No matter what year or time of year it is.

I know that when I wake up on January 1, 2014 it’ll likely feel a whole lot like having awakened on December 31, 2013. Only the numbers will have changed. Those neat, orderly, implacable numbers.

And I’ll still be exactly me. That I can promise.