Looking back on my life, I realize most of it has been spent in rigid countdown mode – ticking off backwards down to zero.
How many days until I start kindergarten?
How many days until I can ride my bike past the end of my street?
How many days until my 8th birthday party?
How many days until I can go to the shopping mall by myself, pierce my ears, get my driver’s license, shave my legs, go on a real date, open my own checking account, vote, drink, marry, give birth, buy a house, decorate a house, get all my kids in school, witness all my kids graduate?
I have almost lost track of myself while eagerly entangled in a waiting mode until I reach the next coveted milestone. This seems – as I get older – to be quite an appalling way to lead a life.
So many days until vacationing in the Berkshires.
So many days until I get to see my sons who live out of town.
So many days until I reach my goal weight at the Weight Watcher weekly meeting.
So many days until I see my six grandchildren again.
So many days until my new book The Secret life of a Weight Obsessed Woman goes on sale.
And now – thanks to ubiquitous social media – I am presented with yet another mathematical marker. This one is more pernicious because it reflects validation, not just days passing. It implies how much I am connecting with my readers. How much my words and thoughts are being valued. Heard. Known. Shared. Acknowledged. Commented on.
What is more important? To cultivate my creativity, to speak my mind, to have my words and observations reflect what is truly in my heart? Or to succumb to the temptation of trying to figure out what friends and followers on Facebook and Instagram want and giving it to them? I vow to choose the former in 2018.
The year 2018 will be different. Not rushed through, but savored. Life not held captive by the calendar and clock – days not viewed as something to be endured until reaching the next mile marker. I am going to zestfully relish each hour, each moment, as it unfolds and crystallizes. And not be unduly influenced by the inherent messiness of life – its aches, aggravations and acrimony.
All this is uppermost in my mind as I’m coming off an exhausting, but exhilarating, eight days of family-filled mayhem surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday. My husband and I head to LaGuardia Airport to fly back to Florida, arriving with hours to spare. So I stroll the terminal – indulging in my passion of searching for eclectic street fashion among the passengers waiting to board. Here’s what catches my eye:
The striking message emblazoned on the jacket jumpstarts my ruminations. Sure, the string of family parties was invigorating and satisfying. In reality, following our Thanksgiving weekend of fun and frolic, we all return to our routines, our challenges, our situations. And as 2017 rushes to a close, I wonder once again how to best use the days and weeks and months that I hopefully will be granted in 2018 to overcome some of life’s difficulties.
Two thoughts spring to mind:
- I will do one thing that scares the heck out of me.
- I will do one thing I have tried and failed at numerous times before.
What scares me? Ditching the podium and my note cards when public speaking.
What am I going to do? I am registering for the storytelling retreat at the John C. Campbell Folk School.
What have I repeatedly failed at? Embracing the concept of Intuitive Eating.
What am I going to do? I’m going to e mail the author of Intuitive Eating and ask for guidance and advice.
What scares you?
What have you tried and failed at again and again and again?
And how do you plan to move past the fear and the failure?
Let me know.
In the meantime:
Let’s pause more.
Allow “one of these days” to give way to “now.”
Pry loose “someday” from the grip it holds on our agenda.
Let’s keep in mind that courage to face our adversity and devise a plan is more important than short lived, unsustainable results.
Let’s use, admire and cherish that which we have. And not count anything anymore – except our blessings.
Keep Preserving Your Bloom,