The holidays can be a difficult time of year for many. As I slip down from the love-filled high of Christmas, with all of it’s hustle, prep, lists, cleaning, cooking, baking and visiting, I am left with little desire to step into 2015 with yet another list of resolutions or wishes and wants. It all feels like the unmet expectations of each year past. Both the ones that I put on myself and the ones that I think I need to attain in order to be an ideal version of myself as a woman.
I break most of those resolutions anyways. But I get why we do it; a shiny new year represents the opportunity to have all our innermost desires met and exceeded. Resolution lists have little to do with personal enlightenment but everything to do with being a better person. And therein lies the reason that such types of resolutions often fail, because you can’t attain physical or financial glory without cleaning out the cobwebs first. Well, most of us can’t anyways.
Every holiday I remember those that came a long time ago before. All of the lonely, bleak, cold, and hopeless times I was without family, homeless and swimming way down in a bottle somewhere, surrounded by unhealthy and at times dangerous people who didn’t really care about me, not one little bit.
I now see such sadness in others, that man or woman on the street corner. Especially when I see youth huddled underneath a bridge or stairwell, their eyes telling me of all the possible heartbreaking reasons they are where they’re at in life. Much of which has nothing to do with laziness. I see this kind of pain brightly and deeply this time of year and imagine all of their stories. I see myself.
The truth is I’ve been encompassed in my own past, my own stories for quite some time now, draining me at the end of what started out to be one of my best years yet. Many would say my husband and I have gone out with a bang and it can only get better from here. All of our health woes and emotional woes … the hard work we’re doing inside and out to get better, all of it has me feeling deeply accomplished. Because in spite of it all, our marriage is stronger than ever, and I attribute that to the personal work that takes center stage now.
I’ve been focusing so much on myself, my kids, my home, and our collective happiness and health that my eyes have strayed back to where they often do. Searching for the light in others. The kind of light I want to help bring back. It’s had me questioning what kind of work I want to continue doing, who I want to write for, and why.
It’s had me not desiring to join any sort of race in the least. All I want to do is get sucked into stories, inspire, and be inspired. For so long I worked hard. Really hard in so many ways as a multidisciplinary arts professional that I lost my way. It all became too big and I ran out of steam and inspiration. Desire to make, create, or say anything. It all started to feel like a struggle. Writers block swerved in, often and hard.
So, all I want to do in this bright, New Year … is continue to stay lit up from the inside. And to help others light their way too. Continuing with my kids and my husband and myself. Beginning with nothing I haven’t already been doing; remaining a storyteller and letting everything else go that I thought identified me as a professional. All I crave these days is the raw simplicity of the everyday. Home-cooked meals and turning the laundry over. Reading my kids stories and writing stories for all of you grown-up kids. Maybe things will stay nice and simple like this for a while, or perhaps I’ll get the best of myself like I so often do, taking on project after project. Although I sincerely hope not. Perhaps the path to self success lies in simplicity. Doing less for more … for myself and my family.
This is a new realization I’ve had. Something that never quite sunk into my stubborn head before. Most of what I do is for my family, not just for myself. And if I’m stressed and rushing around to the max everyday to attain a higher quality of life, then I’ve lost the plot entirely.
Image courtesy of Selena Mills