I don’t know how your 2017 has been, but mine has been lousy and here comes 2018! I am a firm believer that we have agency in our own lives, and we make choices all the time. Sometimes they’re good choices, sometimes not, and sometimes what seems like a good choice turns out not so great. I often hear a scolding voice in my head repeating the phrase ‘Be careful what you wish for’.
As much as I would like to spend the next few paragraphs kvetching about the current state of my life and the country I will refrain. Rather, I will look forward to the new year.
Things I know will happen in 2018:
- I will turn 60
- My daughter will turn 18 and start college
- My house will remain slightly disorganized and a little messy
- The seasons will unfold
- I’ll have good days and bad ones
Turning 60 is astonishing to me. I still think 1990 was just a few years ago. When I look in the mirror I don’t see a 60-year-old looking back at me. I see all the ages I’ve been, I see the same face I’ve been staring at and dissecting for about 50 of my 60 years. I see all the feelings and experiences that have made me who I am now (the good, the bad and the ugly). If you Google 60 is the new____ you’ll get 30, 40, and 50. People tell me I look good for my age, but I attribute that to an expectation that 60-year-old women have grey hair in a bun, wear wooly cardigans and orthopedic shoes.
When I talk to Rachel about leaving for college, I am filled with excitement for her, and all that lies before her. When I am alone and think about her leaving, with the knowledge life will change for both of us in ways she cannot foresee, I am overcome with sadness, and the awareness of how much I will miss her. When I was her age I was in a huge hurry to leave my childhood behind and get on with my life, she is more circumspect and ambivalent.
After all these years of living both alone and with others I have resigned myself to the fact that I am not a neat person. Once I got my entire house neat and super-organized; the surfaces mostly clear and everything stowed. I looked around waiting to feel a deep sense of satisfaction and instead felt anxious and uncomfortable. Marie Kondo wouldn’t approve, but I am most at ease with some clutter.
As I sit here writing snow is falling. The northeast is extremely cold and I have no intention of leaving the house today. I have a few more days off before I head back to work, and it won’t be long before the cold gives way to spring. The days will unfold and I can choose how to spend them.
A few months ago I was on the bus heading to work and I overheard a guy complaining about the bus getting re-routed (adding approximately 3 minutes to our trip) and how it had ruined his day (It was 6:15 am). The coming day was already pressing down on me, but his complaint jarred me back to reality. I could choose to stay positive or allow things outside my control make me unhappy. I could choose happiness.
Today is the final day of 2017, and tonight I’ll ring in the New Year with my favorite person on earth. We’ll eat runny cheese, and fancy hors-d’oeuvres and drink Prosecco. Tomorrow I will get to choose how I embark on this new year. I haven’t made resolutions in several years, and since 2014 I’ve been choosing a word for the year. I’m still working on it but will have one ready for tomorrow.
I hope wherever and however you celebrate you feel warm, safe and loved, because if you are those things you are very fortunate as am I.