Friday, January 3, 2014
I Feel Better Already
This week, I've realized that January is my favorite month of the year. It has nothing to do with winter. While I do enjoy some things about winter, it's not my favorite season. The reason I like this month best is because it is so calm. No major holidays, no reason for travel, no deadlines. Yesterday I mailed a package at the post office and I was the only customer in sight. I went to the grocery store and didn't bump into another shopper or cart the entire time I was there! None of the items I wanted were out of stock and I didn't have to wait in line to check out! My mail is being delivered around noon again, instead of 3-4pm. My world feels wonderfully mellow.
The ramp up to the holiday season is gradual, starting just before Thanksgiving, so that by the time Christmas arrives everyone is whipped into a frenzy and they don't even realize it. Yes, I know that Christmas falls on December 25th every year but for some reason the 15th rolls around and I'm always saying "Holy crap, how is is the middle of December already?! I have so much to do!!" I enjoyed my Christmas holiday and time with my family but I was quite glad to get back home at the end of the week.
January just feels good, doesn't it? A brand new year! It's always exciting. There's all that possibility ahead of us. It's much easier for me to make a resolution and stick to it at the start of a new year. I could say "Okay, I'm not eating any more fast food" in the middle of July but the next time I got to craving a McDonald's cheeseburger I'd be able to talk myself out of it, "Oh, I had one last week so I'll have one more today and then I'll stop eating it". I'm just not good at holding myself accountable. But when I set a deadline for myself as in "No more ________ in the new year", it's a lot easier. I don't know why, but it is. I've made a couple resolutions for 2014 but mostly I just have a list of goals for the year. Things that aren't quite as concrete as my previous example. I'm looking forward to changing my habits, becoming healthier and stronger and loving myself.
One of my personal traditions is to eat pork and sauerkraut on New Year's Day. It's one I picked up growing up in Pennsylvania Dutch country and it's supposed to bring good luck for the coming year. As I was mashing potatoes to go with dinner on Wednesday, I was acutely overcome with a sense of gratitude: It's officially a new year and here I am in a lovely house with an amazing partner who indulges my superstition and eats this meal with me. It occurred to me that 2013 is the last year I had with my sweet dog Ritz and now it's over and I cried a little over the pot of potatoes. He was important to me and I don't want him to be forgotten. I actually felt guilty for being glad that year is over. But isn't that one of the greatest gifts a new year gives us? A chance to move forward with an official starting line? So I wiped me tears on my sleeve and ate my delicious meal. One of my goals is to worry less about the past and future, and to experience the present moment to the fullest. Here was a perfect opportunity on the very first day of the year!
I know that the start of 2014 isn't an automatic end to my troubles. The things that happened in 2013 haven't unhappened. I'm sure that a year from now I'll be relieved to have another new year ahead of me. But for now I'm going to enjoy these calm, quiet January days because I know they won't last forever! My roller derby team's hiatus ends next week so I'll be busy, but that's another opportunity to put my resolutions and goals into action. I resolve to not eat fast food or drink soda. I will not make assumptions or take things personally. I will avoid processed foods and gossip. I will not panic or use my iphone while engaged in conversation with others.
I wish all of you a happy 2014 and success with any resolutions or goals you have. Please feel free to share them with me, either here or privately. I would love to strengthen my support system (and yours)!