Saturday, January 2, 2016

Out With the Old

There is something symbolic in hanging up a fresh, new calendar. It hasn't been messed up with notations, appointments, life happenings and all the stuff that gets scribbled onto the pages as the year goes on.

I have a hard time letting go of the old. I always keep my previous year's calendar close at hand and it amazes me how often I have to refer back to it to nudge my memory.

My calendars are pretty boring. They are all about "work" and "daycare comings and goings". I write the odd appointment down and often make note of how I spent days off and holidays. I try (but often forget) to note when I've gotten together with friends or done something a little out of the ordinary.

My financial spreadsheets get a lot of wear and tear as I reconstruct the financial aspect of what I've spent, where my money has gone and justify how I literally "spent" my year.

What was the year 2015? What have I learned? Where will I go from here? And how much control do we really have over our destiny anyway?

Last year had its share of woes. Probably no different than any other year. In fact, when I gloss over the year in my mind I would quite likely say it was a pretty good year. All's well that ends well. And the year ended on a calm and predictable note. Sort of.

Life as I know it has remained pretty calm and stable. There were the rather predictable ebbs and flows within my work situations but my personal life? I didn't push myself out of my comfort zone very much. It was a comfortable year that way but not really all that good for me. It is good to feel uncomfortable from time to time. That is the part where you learn, grow, reach out and become a little bit more of who you already are.

When I scan back last year in my mind, I remember feeling the fear of loss in the air. I remember doing all that was in my power to do. I remember giving as much as I had to give at the time. I remember trying my best. But my ability to give and my best was not really all that great. Good enough, I suppose but I didn't push myself as hard as I could have and should have.

I am not going to "could've, should've and would've" myself to death. What's done is done. I did my best at the time. Maybe I will do better next time.

As I look back on the extra-curricular outings and excursions I planned, they are tainted with all that was happening in and around the time of our plans. "Should we back out and cancel?" was a common theme among everything I tried to plan in advance. The last time I planned, I can remember screaming inside my head, "THIS ... is why I don't like to plan things!" I think I may have made a solemn vow never ever to plan ahead again. Ever. That was probably not a wise decision.

Life demands that you "plan" things. If you don't, you end up wading aimlessly through your days. I don't mind the odd day or two where I have no plan or purpose. But by the end of that second day, I know something has to change. And that something is ME.

As I hung up my clean, crisp and new calendar, I wondered, "What now?" I wondered in a way that felt like I had no control over the days and months as they unfold. Then to prove my point, I woke up to an email telling me I was exactly right about that ...

A new little girl is joining our daycare family in a few days. I had my reservations about saying "Yes" to this family because one of my parents on maternity leave will be returning to work in seven months. Do I say "No" to opportunities as they present themselves and count on what I think the future will bring? Or do I say "Yes", knowing that the future is completely uncertain? I decided to say "Yes" and let the chips fall where they may. They have already fallen.

My new little girl is only going to come for one month and then one of her parents is going to stay home with her.

It is January 2nd and life is telling me "Don't count on anything". I can't stop remembering about all that I didn't know as I flipped over the page into the new year 2015, but in reality all that was about to happen was already well in progress. I just didn't know it at the time.

I know we can't know what is going to happen. I know we have to just keep opening up each day like a gift and appreciating what we have when we have it. I know life is full of unexpected surprises. I strongly suspect if I were to keep score, the happy surprises would outweigh the sad ones by far. And even the surprises that break your heart are often laced with light moments and gratitude and small blessings along the way. I know I must focus on the goodness in life. And honestly, for the most part, I already do that.

I have just been too still and too quiet the past few days. I have spent an inordinate amount of time with our cats, who have done their best to amuse and entertain me. I could have used a little less "entertainment" at 3:00 this morning though as our senior cat in residence decided to chase ghosts on my bed. Over and over and over again...

It is time to hop in the shower and wash out the cobwebs. It is time to sit back and count my blessings. It is time to get dressed and walk out into the world and see where the day takes me. It is time to look up and rejoin the land of the living.

It is time to start dreaming again.

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