December 5 – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?
What I expect becomes like cement – it must happen. Phil has always teased me that I have a break down if I decide we need to leave at 9:15 and we don’t leave until 9:17, despite the fact that we still won’t be late…that it’s because it’s the time I decided we had to leave. Don’t tell him, but he’s right. Once I have an expectation or a plan in my head, I find it very, very difficult to deviate.
At some point in the last year I realised that I also apply this to the people in my life, including myself. And we all fail me. And when we do, I become a terror to live with until I eventually get over the disappointment and anger of being failed. What a thing to admit! What a person to be! But since noticing this, I try (and fail) to consciously remind myself that, for example, Phil does not have to be God for me. He can just be Phil. And that I can’t be all of the things I want to be – they are often contradicting traits. I can just be me. And our lives don’t have to be where and what we want them to be just yet so long as we’re moving forward.
I have to let go of my expectations and begin to allow them to simply be intentions. Intentions are powerful. Expectations, in my case, are poisonous.
Like the lovely Skip alluded to (or was it straight out mentioned?) my sense of wonder is expanded daily by my 2 year old. Being a mother of a toddler encourages (enforces?) open-mindedness in a manner of which I have never before encountered. I never tire of hearing him say “wow” when he sees yet anther airplane fly overhead, or another Christmas tree with “colours” (lights) or watches something else that rocks his little world.
He is constantly teaching me to allow my world to be rocked.
More and more I hear myself saying, “Aren’t we lucky?” “Aren’t we lucky to have sheep in the field behind our house?” “Aren’t we lucky to have seen that helicopter?” “Aren’t we lucky to be able to…” But more and more I am beginning to realise that I mean it. We are lucky. Damn lucky. And it’s in these silly little everyday occurrences that my mindset is slowly changing. I am choosing to be optimistic and hopeful and grateful, when I naturally lean towards pessimism and melancholy.
As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I read in a book that one of the best things we can do for our children is to provide a sense of magic. Well, I think that goes for being one of the most important things we can do for ourselves – allow ourselves to maintain a sense of magic, or of wonder, in the world. Cynicism makes good art, good conversation and develops good skills in critical thought. But it also can cripple you if you leave no room for anything else. This is why, after 3 years of studying Theology I stopped all religious courses and transferred my degree into Literature & Culture – I found myself unable to just listen, unable to just be inspired and unable to feel. I suddenly realised that for me, the sacrifice was not worth it.
And so even though it is often a constant effort, I choose wonder. I choose magic. I choose excitement in life.
Because choice is a powerful thing.
December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).
I’m 2 days behind and it’s only the 5th of December. It’s not because I’ve had a baby (sadly). It’s because Prompt 3 floored me, and left me with nothing to say. I was so excited to receive my prompt, and was ready to start writing, until I read it. And then I turned off the computer, telling myself I’d have some time to think and then post. But every time I thought, the answer was still the same “Nothing”… and I left it just a little bit longer.
It feels so depressing, so much like a let down to say that I can not think of a single moment which I felt most alive. But this year hasn’t been like other years. There have been good moments, but I have done so little that stands out. This is the first year in 8 or more that I’ve not left the country. I haven’t had any earth-shattering experiences. I’ve simply lived.
So I’m sorry, but that is all I have. I’ve tried to think of better ways to say it but it’s all I have got.