Friday, January 1, 2010


January 1st seems like it should be a blank slate. A beginning. A day when you can choose how you want to proceed--or cease proceeding--from this point forward.

But it has never seeemed like a beginning to me. Having been tied to the school system for21+ years as either a student or teacher, January 1st has always marked the approaching conclusion of the two week break from everyday life as usual. Since school generally begins on the weekday following the 1st, New Year's Day rings in a closing rather than a start: the end of vacation, festivities, freedom with the impending return to responsibility.

Now that I'm no longer in school, the transition is less dramatic, but I still find New Year's Day heralds the return to the grind. Family returns home--or we return home from them, Josh heads back to work, the kids' school and classes resume, my obligations beckon once more, and we settle back into the steady rhythm of the year. Very little changes in January except the calendar, and unless you are one of the masses who makes resolutions about how you'll improve your workout consistency or organizational efficiency only to drop it within three to six months as the majority of said masses do, life proceeds in January as it did in December, though perhaps in the context of colder temperatures.

For this reason, it has always seemed an anti-climax, expecially as it follows its more exciting Eve. The Rose Parade is fine, but it's never been a huge thrill for me, and I can take or leave the football games.

It seems there are other times of year that are more conducive to change: summer, perhaps, when the population--even those out of school--seem to collectively graduate a year in maturity, in dreaming, in responsibility. Most organizations, from schools to churches to service institutions to corporate america, create some sort of scaled-back version of themselves in the summer, often to accommodate the busy vacation schedules of their patrons and supporters. With this change, it is easy to step back from unwanted tasks or to step into new ones, to make decisions about how to prioritize time and energy, and to surrender oneself more fully to the present. For similar reasons, the fall invites reflection and decision-making regarding family commitments and schedules.

But not January. In January, we simply continue to live with the consequences of the decisions we made months ago. All we can change are those internal perspectives and attitudes that color the way we enter into life. And for me, at least, choosing to make internal changes due to an arbitrary date on the calendar seems artificial--and therefore destined for failure. I used to make resolutions this time of year--to work out more, eat better, do more, do less, be a better everything...and generally I found myself no different on December 31st of that year than I was 365 days prior.

Until a couple years ago when I decided to resolve nothing. And then I fell in love with spin and found myself craving that hour on a bike and, in turn, exercising more consistently than ever before in my life. And rather than change myself, the passion changed me, turning me into one of those crazy people who climbs Squaw Pass for kicks. And last summer I felt this yearning to write--a passion I'd had before having kids that had gone dormant in the long winter of babyhood--and now I find myself here sorting through the big questions of life on my very own blog, not because I committed to sitting down and writing, as if it were some chore or duty to be completed and checked off, but because I acknowledged the growing desire as something important and true and decided to share it with Josh who supported my endeavors as though I were the next J.K. Rowling. And this adventure fulfills me, completes me in some place that I hadn't even realized was vacant.

I'm finding that change happens most readily, most effectively, most enjoyably when it springs from some undeniable compulsion, a steady and growing resolve, a mustard seed of faith or conviction nurtured by something bigger than me, within me. So I won't be resolving anything this year. Instead, I'll be waiting, watching, listening for that little voice to say, You know what would be amazing...or not.

Because at 31 years old, I'm finally learning who I am and who I was made to be and what I was made to do. I guess I've inverted the process. Rather than creating resolutions that determine who I'm becoming, I'm allowing who I am to drive my resolve--and this reversal has made for some happy and new years, indeed.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love comments!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin