I was late getting out of bed today. It was dark, still. A bitter cold had settled on our old house over night. I was wrapped in thick swaths of comfort and warmth, and though I knew the day beckoned, it was easier still to resist.
I did get out of bed, later than I should’ve, padding to the bathroom only after checking the thermostat. Looking out that window, I watched the light play on the snow-covered yard. It felt darker than it should be. The blue-light of almost-dawn lay eery shadows on the snow. The swings gave rides to invisible friends as they gently rocked in the wind. My eyes were drawn up the spindly naked trees, stretching skyward.
There was the moon, just a few days past full, hovering like an ornament, hung in those trees, adorning the morning. Strong, luminescent, gently glowing with fuzzy edges.
I wasn’t late at all.
While I love the chance to reflect, I carry little pomp and circumstance from the end of one year into the beginning of the next. We don’t often get wrapped up in New Year’s Eve celebrations, and our New Year’s day probably looks much like the rest of our life: quiet and together, maybe seeking out sunshine and fresh air.
I’m not big on resolutions, and I’ve had a tenuous relationship with “goals” in the more formal sense. I’m not a linear thinker, not a type-A planner. While I may really love lists, they tend to be more suggestive than directive, and I want my lists to look pretty and include beautiful things in them, too. In the past I’ve done the whole “one word” thing – it’s been fun, and useful, and challenging, and freeing.
This year feels different to me, though. 2014 was a life-shifting, perspective-gaining year, and I don’t want to lose that. I don’t want to forget the heart-swelling reality of all that was etched in my heart by reducing it down. I’m not doing “one word” this year. I’m not making resolutions, setting goals, making lists.
But because of this, 2015 feels vibrant. It feels full of color and opportunity. From where I am, with a pinky toe into it, it feels like fresh air.
I struggle with the notion that I am supposed to be a better person this year than last, or even a more fuller version of myself. From my perspective, life looks to be more spiral-like, more weaving in and out, up and down, and less like a climb. While it can be tempting to make building blocks out of our time, clicking Lego-like foundations one on top of the other, I can’t quite get myself to say that I’m always on an upward trajectory. Sometimes I’m not. That’s where resolutions fall a bit flat, I’d say. If last year I was going to learn Chinese, than it supposes that I’ve done that, and can build upon it this coming year, say by resolving to plan a trip to China. Life is not as boring and fundamental as a syllabus for a class.
Sometimes, I like the version of myself from years past better than the one I am today. Isn’t there something about innocence that we know we want to hold on to, something about the traits that we love best in ourselves before they get covered up with the cynicism of life? I think there is. How do you resolve, then, to take apart what you’ve built, one Lego block at a time, to create something new?
Just as truthfully, I can cringe at versions of my younger self. I’m thankful that I’m not who I once was, and grateful for every next day that I have the chance to rearrange myself again and again.
I am growing, and learning, and becoming a version of myself that resonates deeply with my soul, but my experience has felt a lot more like trial and error than a check list of things to accomplish. Sometimes it takes a dip into the past to teach me something of the future. Sometimes its taking steps backwards, or upside down even. Sometimes its standing still.
I want to stay soft. I want to be teachable, mold-able, grow-able. Less like Legos, more like Play-doh. And this year, it means not being strung up with goals, or lists, or words, but being smushable and flexible.
2015 will have no resolutions. I will make no check lists; I will not a choose a word. I will not clench my hands tightly around any one thing, but lay it all in my open palms.
We do have some intentions for 2015.
The kids will cook more in the kitchen. I will drink my coffee black.
Be outside as much as possible. Grow things from the ground. Seek the smokey benediction of the campfire. Pay attention – to each other, to the moment, to the world. Less whining, from all of us. Look for the light – casting shadows through the trees, sparkling the dust motes in the family room, coloring the sky with pinks and oranges. See it. Love without boundaries. Take risks, big and small. Be thankful, always.
See the unexpected moon arcing homeward, sliding down the smooth bark of the trees. I’m not late at all.