New Year, Old life

I like the idea of fresh starts. The new year, my birthday, a fresh season, heck, even a new month, these are all occasions that trigger expectations of new beginnings, renewed efforts, opportunities… but not this year. This year I don’t want to start out with resolutions, with hopeful plans of a new and improved me. This year I’ve decided to start out with more acceptance of the old me, the flawed, familiar me. I have a whole list of things I’d like to do, I’d like to finally completely eliminate processed foods and artificial products from my life, I’d like to exercise more, I want to get back in a dance studio, I want to be more patient, more fun, a better more engaging mother. I want to be a nicer wife, I want to have more sex, I want to lose lots and lots of weight, I want to be healthy, and less tired and less irritable… I could go on for pages…. But that’s exactly what I don’t want to do this year. I don’t want to start the year with a series of HAVE TOs.

In fact, I’m going to try to not make plans for “this year” at all. All I want is to be happy. Happy, right now, today. I don’t even want to worry about being happy tomorrow, or next month, or when spring arrives, I don’t want to worry at all, in fact.

I realize I’m not going to be able to eliminate worry from my life completely, I’m always going to worry about certain things, I just want to let go of some of the completely useless weight I’ve been carrying on my shoulders forever. I want my life to be lighter, both in weight and in intensity, I want it to be light as air, light as a bright sunny day, light as when you’re floating in the sea in the summer.

I’m a control freak, but I want to let go of some of the control. I’m tired of fighting to control the things I have no actual control over. I’m not saying I’m planning on becoming a completely laid back person. I’m not, I couldn’t, there’s not enough weed in the world for that… I’m always going to fight to get dinner on the table at 7 no matter what the circumstances are, but there are some fights I’m just not willing to fight anymore.

Being happy, happy with me, happy with life… it seems so simple and yet so daunting. So that’s my plan, that’s my goal, for right this minute and hopefully the next one and the next, but I’m not going to worry about them, I’m only thinking about right now for now.


So, friends, Happy New Year, may 2014 be whatever you want it to be, and may you always love yourself and be good to yourself… because, well, you’re with yourself a lot, aren’t you now…

Swimming upstream and other things

Sometimes things don’t go as we would have liked. I feel like that is a lesson life is determined to teach me over and over again. This Houston vacation we are on… not so much of a vacation. We arrived day late, I got sick on Christmas day, the Girl got a little sick, I was in bed for a week, the Husband managed the kids. New Year’s it looked like we were all getting better, and then I got sick again, the Husband started feeling unwell, with a completely unrelated problem, I got better (ish), he got sicker, he spent a week in bed, finally I had to take him to the hospital. We are now at MD Anderson Cancer Center, trying to figure out if he has a virus, if he’s feeling ill because of one of the many consequences of the transplant, if we’re going home as planned on Wednesday (if he can even fly)…

The kids, they are being wonderful, my friends here are being amazing at keeping them entertained, my mother is really doing everything she can to help out… but a vacation it is not.

The Husband jokes that now we’ve gotten first hand experience of the American health industry, which in Europe is often viewed with a certain degree of curiosity and awe, but that’s fodder for another post. Personally, I would’ve done without this insight, but at least he’s staying positive.

I, on the other hand, am a little deflated, I always have such high hopes for my time at home. But, I don’t want to be a total sourpuss, not at the beginning of a new year. There are lessons to be learned in this experience. We can’t control everything or anything really, we can’t count on things going the way we want. I’m not being negative, I’m just trying to keep things in perspective. Our expectations often get the best of us, our ideals, our wishes, wishes that we invest so much in that we start thinking of them as facts, as law, but things don’t always go as we would like and there is no point trying to swim upstream sometimes. The biggest lesson I need to learn this year, I think, is to relax and go with the flow, which for a neurotic control freak is a very hard lesson indeed. But, stranger things have happened, so, I assume, there’s hope for me yet.

For now, send us happy, positive, upbeat thoughts, if you can, and soon enough we’ll all be heading home. Wherever the hell that is!

Another day, another year.

2013. I don’t know what to think anymore at the beginning of a new year. Used to be I’d get excited, or depressed, thinking of the endless possibilities or the hardships ahead. Now, well, I’m not so sure what my attitude should be. It’s just another day. Another year. Much like the day before, the year before… the one before, and the one before that. It’s so arbitrary, the new year, isn’t it? The Chinese don’t even celebrate it till weeks after we do. Yet, here we are, every year, doing something on the night between December 31st and January first, doing something or nothing, purposefully, intentionally, willingly. But what, exactly, makes this day, this night, anymore special than the one before, or after? Kind of like starting a diet on Mondays, diets started on Sunday or Tuesday are just as effective. The point is starting.

I woke up with a headache today. The last week of 2012 was terrible, comparatively, as a first week of vacation. I was horribly (survivably) sick, I went through two courses of antibiotics, steroids, and loads of other stuff, I’m still not great, but the minute I was up again the husband got sick, in one of those cruel parenting turn-taking jokes of the universe. We’re all sniffely, not able to really enjoy our vacation, to see our friends, to get our shopping done, to go eat at the restaurants we dream of all year. When you live so far from home so much expectation rides on these fleeting trips home that being felled by the flu feels like something akin to tragedy.

This week we’re going to make the best of it, try to make it to the Space Center, to a couple of restaurants, to some stores, I’m hopefully doing a cake decorating course I reserved weeks ago, see some friends… But the New Year? No sir, no ma’am. I’m not ready for the hopeful, exciting, new beginning.

So this year I’m celebrating the new year when we get home, somewhere around the tenth or eleventh or so, when I’ve recharged my batteries. And I’ll be celebrating the ordinariness of my very mundane life, cause that’s the one I live everyday. Cause this year my life is not going to be about the one, special, out of the ordinary day, the New Year’s Day, the anticipated trip home, the once in a lifetime occasion, the extraoradinary, this year I’m celebrating my every day, day after day, with the sniffles and the disappointments, and the anger, and the unexpected joys and surprises, the laughter, the tears, the yelling, the fighting and the joy.

I’m sick of the specialness of special occasions, I’m ready for the ordinariness of ordinary life. Maybe I’m at the brink of middle-agedness, and that colors my outlook on life, but I figure I have many more ordinary days ahead of me than extraordinary ones and I should make them all count.

Another day, another year, that’s special enough. Isn’t it?