Happy New Year! Welcome to 2009, land of robots and flying cars and personal jet packs and flying to the moon. So far I have done none of these exciting, science-y future things. So far I’ve spent the new year with my belly feeling kind of broken (enormous quantities of food that is very greasy and very delicious will do that to you and also your gut), and with a little notebook full of to-do lists that have few to no have-dones satisfyingly crossed out with heavy lines, which, two days in, has already made me feel a little bit like I’m ruining 2009. Already.
This is a brand new year full of possibility and an opportunity to take advantage of a fresh, clean slate (I love the term “clean slate,” because it is so clean and fresh and, you know, slate-y), pretending that all your mistakes and bad judgments and less-than-wise decisions have been wiped right off the record and you are starting totally like a newborn right out of the womb, only with slightly better motor control. So far what I’ve done with this exciting opportunity is some laundry, a little bit of picking up around the house. I made an appointment to have the cat’s vicious claws trimmed so that he can no longer continue his organ-harvesting experiments in the dead of the night. I packed and shipped, finally, the stack of boxes full of returnables that had been piling up in my living room.
And because I am me, it doesn’t feel like anything near enough, or even close to beginning to start to be near enough. I feel like I ought to have already made headway on my Great American Novel, have procured an agent, totally revamped my finances, landed two or three new writing gigs, and have made significant progress towards unifying everything and everyone into one sugar-coated ball of delicious deep-fried happiness and well-being. Why have I not, two days into the new year, yet baked the rum ball of world peace? What is wrong with me? Why do I ruin everything? I give up, am going back to bed, and I hope in 2010 when they find my desiccated corpse that it will be well-preserved enough that no one throws up on their shoes.
Or, of course, not at all. Here I am, being hard on myself again as is my tendency. It’s true that it is a little ridiculous to expect to say “here we go! I am an entirely different, productive person for whom everything is going to change!” and then in a shower of glimmering lights that sparkle from the ceiling and set my soul on fire, actually become in that instant an entirely different person. Patently ridiculous, of course. Also patently ridiculous to fling my hands in the air and say forget it.
I can’t keep saying “well, it’s still new year’s week, and I deserve a vacation,” or, “it’s the weekend, and I don’t have to work on the weekend,” or, “I don’t have to do everything today. In fact, I don’t have to do anything today! I will do everything tomorrow.” There is a balance to be achieved, here. There are baby steps to take. There is a time, in the future, which I hope is rapidly advancing upon me and practically in my lap, even, when I actually learn this lesson I keep stumbling into over and over. Maybe even here, in the new year, fresh slate, clean record, maybe a brand-new-me.
photo by scubadive67 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/71217725@N00/)