Day 1 of January blog a day — New: New year, new resolution.
If my life were some sort of book, last year would’ve been a notable chapter, I think. Words and phrases like ‘beautiful’ and ‘incredible’ and ‘so damn tough’ would fill those pages. I suppose it might be a worthwhile read since nothing about my last year was real boring — moving out of the country pretty much destines you for a year of getting your butt kicked by culture and inconvenience; selfishness and craziness find their way in to the plot, too.
It’s no 50 Shades but after you were done reading it you might sense one pattern of consistency — a little thing that seems insignificant but, in fact, is extraordinarily impacting: all new.
A new year brings the obligation to reflect a little on the year behind. Like you’re checking to see if the hypothesis you posed for your science project was right or not. I’m kind of into reflection (even if I thought philosophy was superior to science) so I make it a cuppa tea and let it sit round for awhile. As I was reflecting on last year and all the experiences it brought, I was also thinking about this:
You know how sometimes you experience something and it reminds you a little of another experience you’ve already had? Like, oh, I’ve done this before. It could be a really small thing — like going to the beach in Hawaii was sort of like when you went to the beach in California. Or running that mile in boot camp was sort of like 8th grade gym class all over again.
Last year that never really happened to me. In 2012 every one of my experiences was uniquely new. We vacationed in Fiji and that was a little like Mexico except not at all. I started a new job in the same field as my last job and with a partnering office to my last office and yet, none of it is the same. I went to Bangkok; there’s no experience written up in previous chapters that can relate to that. The Kiwis have a slick accent that reminds me nothing at all of the few Aussies I know. Driving on the left hand side of the road, buying tomatoes for $16.99 a kilo, walking to the French markets, living in view of turquoise waters, making friends in a new country, marketing in a new context, pub quiz, Australia, eating Thanksgiving dinner with a suntan… this was all new.
And different. It’s new and it’s different. It’s different to experience things you never have before, like you’re a blank slate of experience. No presumptions, no expectations. But it’s also very different to have no sense of familiarity around you, no real comfort. There’s nothing to cling to when you feel unstable or unsure about what’s new. In the beginning, because ‘new’ sounds really exciting, it’s easy to overlook the elephant of in-comfort in the room. But once locked in that room, the elephant wants more than to just sit in the corner. And what’s new suddenly becomes what’s different. Then you have to deal with what’s different.
Most my last year was spent tripping my way through ‘new’ and different. I would wake up on Monday and want it to be Friday; wake up in March and wish it were June. Whenever you have to “deal” with something, typically one of the better remedies is time, which is actually really annoying and inconvenient; ‘change’ never agrees with my timeline. I spent a lot of last year wishing I could speed up time.
The other day I was at my brother’s house visiting with my sister-in-law and nephews. It was the first time in the 10 months since we had moved I was home to do this; I was so loving it. My three-year-old nephew Ryder was running around in his Transformers’ undies while his one-year-old brother Jaxon wobbled behind him. Ryder jumped up on me carrying the sheet from his bed and said, “Will you make a fort for me?”
Of course, I will. What kind of fort?
“A big one.”
Together Ryder and I tucked the sheet behind the pillows in a corner of the couch making a small triangle of a fort for us to lie under.
(Ryder) “Auntie Ginzee, wanna play house with me? I’ll be the daddy and you be the baby.”
I pretended to cry and lay in Ryder’s arms while he told me to not be sad and drink my bottle. Jaxon found his way into our ‘house’ by now, sort of tearing down half the fort with him. When I looked at him, he smiled the smile I would’ve paid a million bucks to see all last year. He looked at me, looked at Ryder and his face said, “I’m in here with my big brother.”
I melted in that moment. And I wanted it to last forever. I could lie in that fort with my two nephews for all for all of 2013 and have nothing to complain about. I wouldn’t miss their growing up, building forts, playing house. I could have that moment forever.
It was paradoxical to most the thoughts I had all year – wanting to rush time. Now, at the end of the year, I sat on a couch under a sheet pretending to be a baby and wishing I could hold the moment forever.
If there’s something new I resolve for 2013 it’s this: let time be. I can neither rush time nor pause it. But I should embrace it.
Happy new year, friends.
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More from #Janblogaday: Tomorrow day 2: Two… things you should never say to your partner.
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