Tuesday, December 18, 2007


My father always said that when I was younger, all I ever wanted to do was to grow up. Be older. Move on to the next step.

And it was true. As a teenager, I longed for the freedom and release of my college years. When flexing that independence throughout college, I saw my young twenties as a time when the world would take me seriously and I would gain respect from those I respected. But my twenties became easily distracted and I was frustrated by its lack of predictability and reliability, something I was convinced would be found later...possibly in my thirties and plausibly through higher education and marriage.

My Dad was right -- much of my life has been spent looking forward to the changes of the future, with the unavoidable implication that I was unhappy with my present. And often I was. I was awkward in high school and desperate in college. My fabulous partying self of my twenties took a toll on my self esteem and rolled my growing addiction up into a tight ball in the center of my psyche. And as I transitioned to my 30s, I was growing uneasy with how disparate my actual life was in comparison to my expected life.

I longed and sought to replace. I looked forward instead of sat still. I was unhappy for many reasons, but sometimes it was simply my inability to be happy that circularly argued for my own conclusion of ineptitude.

I remember most of the New Year's celebrations during these years. The ones I spent in Hamilton with my college and townie friends. The ones that brought me to wonderful parties in New York apartments and smokey cabarets. The ones as the hostess with the best hors d'oeuvres and biggest glass of wine. And even the ones with broken heels and expectations, stuck in cabs at the witching hour with casual friends and empty kisses.

And, like many, I thought throughout those nights of my hopes for the next year. For sudden slimness and acquired control over my own prosperity. I, too, longed for the heart exploding joy that rings your ears with a solid note and leaves your life indelibly changed. I would fashion my daydreams of my life together in a woven fabric that defined what my personal success would look like for those 12 months.

Such an exercise. Such an exhausting exercise.

It is exhausting to forever be looking for the next goal and the next definition of want and need. It's tiring to be always a little unhappy or a tiny bit ill at ease. To never feel like here is enough. Like right now still needs work before I'm okay with it being right now.

Because that moment always passes well before you can craft it perfectly and it is never to be attained again. In your eagerness to be prepared and ambitious and right, you manage to let the here and now slip away.

And much of this, for me, had to do with being well. Many of these years I simply wasn't. I didn't have the tools to cope with the tragedies at home. I was ill equipped to recognize my own deconstruction until I was in pieces. I needed help and I got it, but until I was able to I was in no place to do anything but hope for something else.

But now is different.

I don't need the New Year. Go ahead and take it. I don't need to cleans or evaluate or re-evaluate, for that matter. I no longer have that urge to wonder what it will be like and how do I get there and why can't I have that (blank) right now.

Because I'm there. I have a full heart. I have a peace about my own life. I have the here and now, so my urge to plan and prepare for the future has ebbed. I still manage the details, but no longer at the expense of my own experience.

My future still holds more for me. It holds a marriage and children. It holds new homes and new jobs. It will likely hold loss and illness, too. But I'm not captivated by those eventualities. I look forward to my future, but I no longer spend my present looking. I spend my present living. Here and now. With my love, my work, my family.

So enjoy your New Year's resolutions. Find empowerment in them. Find an articulation of your own wants and needs. Resolve for connection and achievement, purpose and motivation. Plan, if necessary. Plan in detail and bright colors if you can.

And maybe, just maybe...resolve to not resolve. Plan to not plan. Make your immediate future about your own immediate. Allow the next thing to be new to you. Allow the now to become familiar before time steals it away. Slow down and breathe.

Define your "one day." And then just let go. Because your one day will come in its own due time.

And you will never see it at its clearest when it is still on the horizon.


Brent Buckner said...

The juxtaposition with your previous "lists" posts is striking!

stronger said...

beautiful post

amy@runnerslounge.com said...

Great post!

I recently learned a valuable lesson from yoga - "stay in the moment" and just enjoy it - take it all in.

That has bled over to other parts of my life and I find that I am so much more content when only trying to be content in the moment.

Enjoy your holidays and family and friends. Take care,


Kim said...

lovin the post lady!! 2008 will be a great year. happy holidays!

Meggan Ann said...

I always learn the same thing from yoga that Amy said . . .

But my main thought here is that you have NO idea how your entry today resonates with me. NO. IDEA. I'm serious.

If I could pull out of my mind and put on paper the thoughts I have had and the things my friends and family have said about me in some of these very areas of my life, they would be, word for word, exactly as you have described yourself. That gives me chills.

Chills because there's another one of "me" out there. And chills because there's hope. Because I see you conquering your own personal battles with grace and humor and wit and soul. And that makes me happy for you and hopeful for you - and happy and hopeful for me, too.

And guess what? You're going to have to share the ELF with me.


LBTEPA said...

I reckon I've had similar conversations with at least 3 people this week - consciously appreciating what's happening right now is the way to have a rich, satisfying life. I also think exercise is so addictive becuase it provides those 'in-the-moment' experiences so reliably.

JenC said...

Right on sister! It has been my motto to live in the present for the last 8 years and it has worked out beautifully.

Anonymous said...

Loved this entry. Thanks for the reminders.

GP said...

High five and right on, girl! Why keep resolving when you should just keep living? It's really awesome to reach that point and the only way to be happy.

robert said...

Outstanding post, don't know what else to say, I've probably read it three times now and I'm sure I'll read it again at some point.


Donald said...

Wonderful post. You certainly seem well from where I sit.

Happy 2008 to you.

Jane said...

Yay! Nicely written.

uncadan8 said...

Thanks, I needed that.

Pokey said...

Thanks for the reminder.....sooooo true!

Steve Stenzel said...

Merry Christmas!! - From the Speedo/Pharmie household.