Thursday, January 5, 2012

It's a new dawn, it's a new day...

"Birds flying high 
You know how I feel 
Sun in the sky 
You know how I feel 
Reeds drifting on by 
You know how I feel 
It's a new dawn, it's a new day, its a new life 
For me 
And I'm feeling good"   ~ Written by Anthony Newley, performed by Nina Simone

I've begun this blog piece three times before today. Each time I've sat down to write, I've been overwhelmed with emotion. It's silly, but I truly love the idea that each of us are given a chance to start our lives fresh every January.  While I may be an eternal Party Pooper on New Year's Eve (who can stay up that late any longer?), I happen to adore New Year's Day. I'll take Beginnings over Endings with gladness. I know that this is mainly because I'm a bounding Labrador of Joy when it comes to starting new chapters. I love new books! I love new places! I love learning a new hobby! I love making new friends! I'm an ebullient starter of the au courant. I love being the first to try something unusual or dynamic. 

Unfortunately, the flip side of this positive attribute is that I get bored easily and tend to say "The heck with it", if something becomes too inconvenient, too difficult, too repetitive or just plain too boring. I tried to learn how to knit. I was terrible. I've tried serious, elegant cooking classes. I burned whatever I touched. I have mangled multiple gardens. From herbs to flowers, I have come to realize that I simply have neither the gift, nor the patience.  I have skis, a Pilates mat, a bicycle and water color paints. All are collecting dust in my garage. And yet, I began each undertaking with a jubilant bounce. What is it about trying something new that, when I hit a bump in the road, turns the novelty into irritation? Do I truly grow to dislike this endeavors or do I just quit too soon? Am I fickle or bungling? 

This year, instead of jumping to the head of the "I want to lose ten---okay, fifteen-- pounds" parade, I'm refraining from even entertaining the concept of a diet. In the place of taking kick boxing (which I am oddly drawn towards), I'm going to stick with my walking and yoga exercise pattern. Rather than sign up for classes in Russian, tap dancing or wine tasting, I'm going to take a realistic  look at what I'm already doing to see which areas could use improvement. The "bright and shiny" has always had a Siren call to me. What I see as my goal for 2012 is to walk away from the new and towards improving the old. An expression my mother likes to use is that we're like monkeys: we're drawn towards the lustrous allure of unique and untested treetops. I'm the worst in our family in this way. I will drop down my 'nets and follow' what catches my attention. If it seems complicated, intricate and all-encompassing? All the better. It will be even more delicious to contemplate. 

Therefore, my resolution this year is simple: nothing new. This concept alone is novel enough to me to get me out of the starting gate. A few years ago, I would have whined "But, that's so BOOOOOOORING.....". Now? I understand that if I'm going to be a grown up (and I think it's about time to start down that road), I'm going to have to behave like one. No more spontaneous trips to Hobby Lobby. No more daydreaming about learning how to snowshoe (this would be fine for another person...but I really don't like being cold. I just like the shoes.) I will leave all the brightly illustrated flyers my fingers itch to pick up right where they are. Since I'm a virtual Tasmanian Devil when I'm in the throws of a newfangled love with learning to go Vegan or weave willow baskets, I'm going to have to keep the barn door on any new interest closed. And locked. With armed guards ready to shoot at the slightest provocation. If not, I'll take a month's worth of Water Ballet classes only to remember that, despite my pretty new swimsuit, I dislike being wet and lack any sense of rhythm.

The new start for me this year is staying away from new starts. I am, instead, going to turn my energy towards my old starts and reevaluate them. I'll ask myself which ideas, from home maintenance to outside activities, really were successful, and which were a collossal waste of time and money. I'll meditate on being content with where I am, with what I have, with what I am able to do and who I want to spend my time with. Rather than race ahead, crazy legs, to a finish line I can't even begin to see, I hope to take this journey slowly, mindfully, intentionally and  with deliberation. As a woman who acts first and thinks after, this is going to be a profound difference.

Just writing this blog piece makes me want to pull my hair out. I'm afraid that I'll be desperate to radically change my style, my house and my interests. I'm terrified that February will come around, and I'll immediately decide that I need to begin wearing 4 inch heels or have a hankering to learn how to smoke meat.  The "shiny things" beckon. They call me to me, reel me in and then eventually lose my attention when the next shiny thing appears on the horizon. I know this isn't going to be an easy journey. I may whine. I might look wistfully at a golf course, wondering if I could learn to play. Yet, I'm determined that this is going to be my year of reflection and completion. I need to figure out what works for me, and what doesn't, if I have a chance at a balanced approach in the future.

The new dawn of the new day rises beautifully every morning. We're given a chance to begin fresh and, for most people, to start with a clean slate. My slate this year just won't be a clean one. It will be a messy one. My job will be to turns my eyes away from the glittering, untried slates and to refocus on finishing the many tasks on my well used slate instead. 

Maybe next year I'll get a clean one. 

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