The New Year is upon us. I don’t make resolutions as a rule because it feels a bit like self-flogging — the same to-dos keep appearing on my list in various forms. Like losing weight. I lost 50 pounds one year, then over the next two starting putting it back on. I cling (or rather shun) the pounds I haven’t regained while trying to wrap my head around why I failed (again) and can’t recapture the momentum that spurred me on the first time around.
I once showed a children’s book I wrote in college to an agent. She said she wasn’t interested because it wasn’t character driven. As in, things happen TO the character, rather than the character making things happen. I felt like it was unrealistic to present children only with books in which the character is always in control of its destiny. I think they need to understand that though we may plan our lives, things do happen to us that are beyond our control.
We may start out in one direction and end up in a completely different place than we planned. It’s easy to get thrown off the switch-backed path onto the one below and totally lose track of the route. It’s whether we keep going forward that’s the key. How we handle the road blocks placed before us and the people we encounter along the way.
Moving was not one of my New Year’s resolutions last year, just as putting weight back on was not. But here I am. Our old house sold and there is no going back. I wish losing weight was the same, sell it and it can’t go back on. I’m learning it’s all in an attitude. Once I made my new house my own, I quit mourning my old house. Once I can dig my hands into the dirt and start excavating the yard and building gardens, I’ll stop pining for my old yard. I won’t quit trying to lose weight for my health, but I certainly don’t want it on a list.
I know, I’m one to talk with all the whining I’ve done over making an unexpected move. Quite honestly, I was excited about the move because I have felt lost since my husband retired and thought of it as a fresh start. However, it’s been a difficult transition as I was kind of thrown onto the island by myself to figure out how to integrate it onto the main land. My kids were involved with their own lives, and my husband had to downsize his shop to fit into the garage of the new house. He was otherwise occupied and we became disconnected.
Not that I didn’t understand, but the day we drove the last car up to our new garage, I rejoiced. I had felt neglected, which in my world (not necessarily the right one) translates to unmitigated sarcasm. After that we both got on the wagon of reconnecting by removing the final two items from the old house: the lawn mower and tether ball pole, which we delivered to a deserving young lady on our way home. As we hung some pictures on our new walls, we had the best bonding we’d had in a long time sorting a box of tacks, nails, and hooks. I missed him.
So you see? We can’t always drive our cars down the perfect roads, but how we choose to get out of the ruts (sarcasm notwithstanding) is the important part. So if I had to write down a resolution it would be to enjoy getting lost sometimes. Happy New Year!
Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom living nearby in a neighborhood near you. You can read more of her writing on her website livingwithgleigh.com, or follow her on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh by Gretchen Leigh.” Her column is available every week at maplevalleyreporter.com under the Life section.