This morning at work I glanced at my desk calendar to schedule a meeting. The calendar was still on its last page, and filled with scribbles of end-of-year meetings and lunches and parties and plans. It was full, and it was over. I closed it, and opened my new calendar for 2013. The calendar pages are startling white and completely empty. This actual blank slate makes me feel simultaneously giddy and untethered.
I don’t make resolutions. I’m a realist when it comes to grand declarations of change- I know I’m not going to completely change my eating habits, turn off the television for good, and become a runner. But there is something about the start of the new year, especially after the chaos of the holidays, that gives me pause. Looking at that clean page makes me feel like change is possible, probable even. Change is good, and thinking about what needs to change in your life can never be a bad thing.
2012 was personally a good year for me. Among other good things, it brought the birth of my baby girl. But out in the world, the end of 2012 was a snarling mass of bad news and even worse news. By the end of December, I was left thinking over and over: how much more can we endure? Most of us felt a collective relief to turn that page, both literally and figuratively, into 2013.
This thought hit me the other day: what if this is as good as it gets? What if I will never have it better than I have it now? What if I will never have more money? What if I will never be as healthy as I am now? Am I making the most of it? Am I living the life I want?
In a world that can feel increasingly dark and full of despair, what else can I be but grateful that I even have time and energy to contemplate how to make my life better? It’s a gift to be able to think about such things, a gift that my days are filled with mundane thoughts about eating better and writing more and noticing more. It is a choice and a privilege to focus on the better and to turn towards the light. The resolutions we choose might be silly or superficial or doomed to fail, but the act of making resolutions is our way of choosing hope.
Instead of resolutions, I’m making intentions. I’m not sure what that will look like. I’d like to live my life with more intention, with more careful action. I want to live closer to what I know is true. I want to eat food that makes me feel good. I want to move, luxuriate in the feeling of my body getting stronger and doing what it was meant to do. I want to sit quietly, by myself and among my family, pay more attention and listen better. I want to soak up every moment and every feeling while I can. My son is three, and full of high-pitched giggles, poop jokes, sudden tears, and hilarious questions. He is gorgeous, blonde and skinny and slightly sweaty and his eyes are so blue and unclouded. He won’t be three for much longer. My daughter is seven months, and her perfection takes my breath away. She is feisty and loud, so soft and smells so sweet. I want to gulp down her innocence. She won’t be seven months for much longer. I want to be a witness to my own life, stand up and raise my hands and testify: ” THIS is who I am, what I love, what I do. THIS is my life.”
So this year, I choose hope. I choose love. I choose my kids. I choose me. I choose my husband, every day. What do you choose?