I love starting the year over. It doesn't always have to be starting the calendar year over, either. Whether I'm starting from my birthday, starting from my wedding anniversary, or starting from the school year, new beginnings inspire me.
When it comes to how I talk, I think the pull of the school year calendar is generally stronger than the regular calendar. I don't think I'll ever be able to break the habit of referring to the new school year as "next year." As in, When do you think you'll get a new car? And I'd say, "Next year" (but I really mean this year, just in the fall). In my mind, "years" run from September to June (and then July and August belong only to themselves).
When it comes to how I think of life resolutions, however, January still wins out. I'm sure the media is largely responsible for creating this sense of starting anew, when really it's just buying a new calendar, but still. I like January 1st.
It feels bright and shiny, with a hint of new car smell.
It feels like permission to leave pain behind.
It seems like the perfect opportunity to take a deep breath and say, "What can I do differently in 2010 than I did in 2009?"
On January 1st I thought, What vice can I leave behind? What goal can I set for myself? What change can I embrace rather than fight against?
The last question is the most glaring. I can't ignore the fact that Jason isn't going to a teaching job tomorrow. I'd say it's the first time in 12 years he's been home the Monday after New Year's day, except he didn't go back to work in January when Jules was born. He stayed home, and boy oh boy did we all love that.
Instead of harboring disappointment, I can embrace the fact that Jason is home, with us. And truly, aside from the tiny substitute teaching paychecks, him being home is amazing. I stopped doing laundry in September, and never looked back, except to give Jason a tutorial on how to wash clothes on the delicate cycle. I'm not talking about throwing clothes in the washing machine. I'm talking about sorting, washing, folding, and putting all the clothes (except mine) away. I'm seriously lucky.
The girls love having him home, and I do too. And we are fortunate to be able to make it through this year--err...this school year--without him working full-time. That's amazing. Amazing.
And so that's my goal for this year: to love this life. This time with Jason, the preciousness of my girls, the closeness of family, the memories of my grandmas, the hours of reflection my 3-hour commute provides me, the view from my office window--I've been going through it with a small chip on my shoulder. I try not to be discontent, but I confess that I'm often distracted by how we're not living life as I had expected. Not living quite as I wanted.
But what I wanted isn't what I got, and I have to work with that. It's more than the cliche of making lemonade from lemons; it's realizing that I wasn't given lemons to begin with. I was given lemonade, it just tastes differently than I expected. The flavor isn't always perfect, but it's still sweet.
Not too sweet.
But sweet enough.
I don't know what this year holds, what kind of job Jason will get, what size our family will be at the end of the year, or whether or not we'll need a new car. I don't know if we'll lose someone we love, or if someone we love will bring someone new to our family. No matter how much I plan, it's still so much a mystery.
What is in my control is how I receive this glass of lemonade, and how thankful I am that it has been given to me at all. I don't write that with Pollyanna optimism--my 2009 gave me enough heartache to keep me realistic--but I write it with the conviction that I was not meant to live a life of bitterness, resentment, or sadness.
I was meant to love. The fact that I know this is possible even after our 2009 gives me hope that my goal is absolutely realistic.
My 2010 is planned out: I'm falling in love.
The rest is a mystery. ♥