Waiting to Start
The finale of 2019 didn’t leave me with a satisfying sense of closure the way past years have. I’m usually rarin’ to review the 12 months prior and set some goals and intentions for the next 12 in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. In fact, in 2018, I started over Thanksgiving weekend and by Christmas I was a full-fledged health nut.
But on Christmas Eve 2019 I finally acknowledged that the relationship I want wasn’t possible with the guy I was dating. The night ended with a crappy phone call and barrage of texts. Christmas day I took a bad spill on my morning run after witnessing a fist fight in my usually tranquil neighborhood. I was an emotional wreck for the last week of 2019 with a painful open wound on the palm of my hand (turns out we use our hands for practically everything) and a snuggly but anxious dog who I was watching for a traveling friend. On New Year’s Eve, a bad cold set up shop. Physically, spiritually and mentally, I just never got into the “zone”.
I went back to work on the 2nd with a nose that would not stop running and a head stuck in a storm. To spare my colleagues, I worked from home on the Friday the 3rd. And spent the first weekend of 2020 in a hazy delirium.
At some point, I stopped harassing myself about my inability to think deeply about the new year. I shifted my focus to my most basic needs. Sleep. Lots of baths. Warm meals. Conversations with loving friends. More sleep. The drama with my failed love interest continued but I gave myself a lot of grace. It wasn’t pleasant but I was emotionally honest and was able to see what I was responsible for and what I was not.
Eleven days into January, I’m just starting to come up for air. My hand is nearly healed. On Saturday, I went for my first run since Christmas. I spent the rest of the day doing a deep clean of my apartment. I’m finally out of crisis mode with the breakup, feeling incredibly grateful for my independence. I’ve invested in my friendships so that I can climb out of a low phase with a lot of support. I’ve created a home that is my favorite place to be. I’ve done substantial work on myself over the past several years. I have tools I’m getting proficient at using to peer into my psyche, assess my needs, communicate what needs to be communicated, and respond effectively to life’s twists and turns.
The last moments of the year cemented some heavy lessons — about the preciousness of our time and energy, the fragile reality of being human, the dark side of opening up to an emotionally immature man. I have a few more deal breakers and must haves. A few more triggers of heartache. A deeper acceptance of my humanity, the hardships that come with being alive (both emotionally and physically) and the unhurriable pace of healing.
But every day is a new opportunity to be the person I want, to make the choices that contribute to a meaningful life, to enjoy the miracle of being alive. Friday the 10th I woke up early to meet two of my favorite people for breakfast before work. The full moon was setting on the horizon, fat and luscious in the periwinkle glow of dawn. Tears sprung to my eyes spontaneously. It was so beautiful. We laughed joyfully over Beauty’s bagels and black coffee. At work, there was a breakthrough on a complicated project. At home after a long, full week, I got to settle into a soft bed with a book that is a work of art.
There are so many magical moments in a day.
There are so many reasons to celebrate life.
I still haven’t gotten to any resolutions for the year. I’m leaning toward marking the transition on my birthday next week, or Chinese New Year, or Persian New Year, or a full moon. However long it takes to properly conclude, reflect on the last phase, meditate on the journey, dream of what I may decide to work toward. There’s no rushing nature and I am feeling very much a part of the natural world.
I wanted to share this because perhaps you needed a reminder that our growth doesn’t always align conveniently with the common calendar. There are times to let that go and let the phase play out on its own time. There’s even something to be said for ramping up when the January 1 goal-setters are winding down.
Where you are is where you are. You can start anew whenever you’re ready.