January is a time of reevaluation, rebirth, reorganization, reaffirming and renewing, and while I enjoy the momentum of this sudden urge to mend and move forward, I can’t help but feel the pressure to do things I've never done in an attempt to demonstrate that I am suddenly someone New, not just Renewed.
There are so many things that I wish I did more of or better at.
…I wish I gave gifts for no reason. I wish I wrapped my gifts with care and creativity.
…I wish the number of phone calls I make to my friends were more in proportion with the amount I care about them.
…I wish that the number of visits per year made to my grandparents’ house was in proportion with the gratitude and love I feel for them.
…I wish that I sent more cards and letters to the people who are far away.
…I wish I had taken the big family portrait at my wedding.
…I wish that the many many little things I do in my life could be combined into a coordinated effort toward a common end.
…I wish that the things I do do mattered as much to me as the things I don’t do.
These would be my New Year’s resolutions if I were brave enough to face letting myself down again. I'm tempted to think it is New Year's that makes me feel this way, and I am mostly fine with myself the rest of the year. Or maybe I am really just Less than I wish I was. I think, "Certainly I can’t be as busy as I am without doing some things that are worthwhile…" Or maybe I am not as busy as I think I am. Maybe I am so accustomed to being busy that even my downtime feels busy. What is a Renewed (but not New) person supposed to do with all of these feelings and impulses? The pressure to change everything is the only thing CERTAIN to make me change nothing at all.
Is what we do who we are?
And can the answer to this question really be “Blog”? I can tell you for certain that it is not my chosen answer. It is, however, a way to organize my thoughts and present some of them to you by way of explanation or apology or pledge to do more of or better at.
So here goes.
What I do do:
… I do knit, almost daily.
… I do dishes, almost daily… unless Senor does them.
… I do teach a dance class to the most enthusiastic, grateful, devoted dancers in the world.
… I do work out more than I want to… which is none.
… I do write. I like to, once I set the pen to paper, but I hate the effort it takes to get the pen out. There’s no good reason for that. I love pens.
… I do cut my own hair. And dye it.
… I do laundry, almost daily.
… I do dump the trash if it’s overflowing too badly.
… I do work for my dad and appreciate the job and care about the business.
… I do pay the bills on time. I do put money away in savings. I do look after the well-being of my family’s finances.
… I do wear Chapstick and facial moisturizer to bed almost every night… I do want to be beautiful as I age.
… I do floss every night (for 8 nights in a row).
… I do have a blog that I love.
… I do think about watering the tree here at work everyday. I watch it droop and yellow and wilt, and I know how to fix it. I never do.
… I do light up when my husband gets home from work.
… I do worry about someone breaking into our apartment every night. I do sleep with the bedroom door locked to keep my husband and myself safe.
… I do fear not seeing people ever again… This is an especially worrisome worry considering how rarely I make the time to see so many of you.
…I do think about that family portrait everyday with regret. I didn’t think about how important it was to everyone besides me, and I didn’t know it would become so important to me. I hope to someday think of something to make up for it.
…I do plan to try to be a more avid phone caller, but if it never happens, please know that it’s just that I don’t like the phone, not that I don’t like you. I don’t call anyone. It’s nothing personal, I promise.
…I do care about all of you distant friends and relatives. The things I “do do” distract me from the letters and cards and visits I mean to do. Having been a good student all my life, having read some very long books, having rehearsed and performed in many long-running plays, you may not realize that I have the attention span of a 6 year old… the kind of 6 year old that hasn’t quite outgrown its inner toddler. So please know that if I am doing dishes it’s because I thought about sending you a birthday card and passed a pile of pots and pans on my way to the stationary box. If I am folding laundry, it’s because I thought about calling you and tripped on a pair of dirty jeans on my way to the phone. If I am knitting a scarf for no one in particular, it’s because I went looking for yarn to knit something for you and came across some old cheap yucky yarn that I just had to use up so that I could see the friend-worthy stuff more clearly. The intention is there.
…Claudia, I actually AM knitting you a scarf, and Gran, I actually AM knitting a pair of socks for you (I’ve restarted 5 times in the search for something good enough). But I can’t finish either because I am so busy worrying about how I haven’t finished the other yet. I am not a machine; it seems I care just enough not to get anything done.
…Grandma and Grandpa, I’m coming down soon. I promise again and as always.
I’m so “Cats in the Cradle”. Why don’t I do what I wish I was doing? What do you do to keep yourselves on track? Are my expectations of myself unrealistic? Or are they too low? Am I exaggerating your expectations of me?
I’m not writing this to assuage my guilt. It could never accomplish that. I am writing in hopes of conveying to you how much I care just in case your card never comes.
How do you Renew without wishing you were someone New? Has anyone done it?
(Tomorrow I will lighten up again. I will tell you about how Danny-Zucko-meets-Lucille-Ball my hair looks today.)