Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Years Resolutions and Choosing Joy

Today is the first day of a new year. 
I am at once hopeful, and maudlin about it at the same time.
But what else would you expect? Where else do you all go when you need a good dose of emotion, than Sarah's poor neglected blog?
2013 was hard.
It was a year of struggle in so many areas, but now looking back, I see the biggest one was relationships.
I am a relationship oriented person.
The connections I share with the people around me are huge to me.
I'm extroverted.
I'm emotional.
I'm sensitive and I need my people.
Am I saying anything you didn't already know?
Struggling so hard with so many personal relationships this year, took a huge toll on me.
Tonight I saw Bill's daughter post something similar on Facebook, and it nearly made me cry. I wanted to hug her. I wanted to say "I get it. Me too. I'm sorry."
I feel like when the bonds between people are tested, it's so scary, because we don't know when the point will come that they break. Will it be a sudden, final snap? Something obvious and definitive that we can look back and point to? That, that right there was when we broke apart, and were never able to heal. Or will it be gradual, slow and inconspicuous, disguising itself as a general tiredness. A nondescript exhaustion, and lack of things to offer one another. Lack of that more to give, that spirit to fight, to try, to do your best. To go the extra mile and give a little more of yourself to a person who has worn you out. A general feeling of "Ugh." when they ask something-even something small-of you, until a point comes when one or both of you just stops.
They stop trying to ask for what they need.
You start pretending you don't notice they need it.
Until they really stop needing you, and you really stop noticing them, and then it's done.
Like I said, it's been a hard year.
I want in so many ways to feel hopeful and excited about the year to come, and in a few ways I do.
I have a business that's moving along and becoming something the kids and I can count on. It's fulfilling and amazing in ways I can't even begin to describe, and still so wonderfully surreal. I have kids that get bigger and cuter and more fun every year. Lainie and I get a little closer as she gets older, which is rare with mothers and daughters, but amazing.
In other ways though, I am sad.
I'm sad that this year was spent in what seemed like a constant struggle to feel happy and close to some of the most important people in my life, and I am genuinely afraid of where that all might end up.

People ask the same question every new years: are you making any resolutions?
I don't have a close relationship with resolutions.
I used to make them when I was a kid because the grown ups did, and I'd scribble them down in my Buggs Bunny journal with a purple crayon, things like "Finally work up the nerve to tell Jordan Beltran I like him" and "Spend more time with the cats" {both things that were clearly intense foreshadowing into my adult self} but the journal would inevitably lay forgotten under the bed, and Jordan Beltran would never know my true feelings. 
I do like the idea of goals, although that's likely a different word for the same thing.
I thought about it for a long time tonight, and the closest thing I could settle on, was this:

choose joy.

Whatever the situation might be, this year, I want to try to choose joy.
This doesn't mean I won't ever be unhappy, or I won't ever feel hurt by the carelessness or dishonesty or cruelty of the people I loved. It doesn't mean that endings won't be sad, or I will never have a hard day.

It means not chasing love, affection, or attention that is not freely given, and being willing to accept the obvious, and move on from those people. Letting the ones who don't call, or show up, or be with you or stay attached to you, go. Knowing when their part in your story is over.
It means that when someone shows you who they really are, regardless of what they say, believe them.
It means not owning someone else's demons, and remembering that their intentionally hurtful or careless actions are their problem, not yours.

It means giving yourself what you need, rather than waiting for anybody else to.

Choose joy.

Happy New Year.

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