Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Woman in her Thirties Resolves for 2017

Well, here we are at the last day of 2016. You know I love me some New Year's Resolutions, so here are mine. Warning: I am suffering with a nasty ear infection, and if you haven't been a woman in her thirties with an ear infection before, let me be the first to tell you it sucks. The gloves are off, people. Here we go.

1. The word of the year is NO.

Unintentionally, 2016 was the year of 'yes' for me. Sure, I'll volunteer that. I'll host this. I'll organize them. I took on a lot in this last year, not the least of which being going back to work, and did so while desperately hanging onto the joy of being home with my kids. I have been like those Chinese dancers who have a billion plates in the air, and they're all spinning, and the crowd is gawking and waiting for the first plate to fall. Because it will.


Let me be clear: I have LOVED all I've taken on this year. I've learned so much and grown a lot. But there's also a saying in writing that I believe to be true in life: if a sentence doesn't move the plot of the story along, get rid of it. Being more intentional with my time and energy is going to be hard. I hate disappointing people and I hate passing up a cool opportunity, no matter what it is. But for the sake of my children, my marriage, and my sanity, that's exactly what I'm going to be doing a lot of this year.

2. See Hamilton. 

Are tickets outrageous? Yes. Do I have the capability of hopping over to Chicago one weekend to see the show, even if I DID get a ticket? Not really. But as Angelica Schuyler so eloquently put it, 'Look around, look around, at how lucky we are to be alive right now.' It's just gotta happen. I don't know how yet. But it will.

3. Stop helping people who don't want help. 

It's no secret that I'm overwhelmed with sadness about the results of the election, and the countdown to the inauguration has sent me into some very serious reflection about who I am, what I value, and how I can help. (Really help. Not ranting on social media. Actually DOING stuff.) This reflection has made me realize something really startling about myself: I spend a lot of time trying to help people who really don't want my help. This doesn't make me a martyr. It makes me a time-waster and a bit of an asshole, quite honestly. And it has to stop. I have my eye on a few organizations that really could use what I have to offer, and I'm going to be giving them my time and energy.

(These are my kids, happily giving away three bags full of unopened toys to Toys for Tots this Christmas. So proud.)

4. Write. 

For God's sake, writing has been the one refuge I've had my entire life. My ONE thing that I can do well, that makes me feel like I'm contributing to the world. And yet I've made very little time for it this year. Partially because I've filled my time with other things, and partially because I've been working on something kind of hard, and the writing of it is draining.

But here's the deal. I won two kinda big awards this year for Edge the Bare Garden, and to throw away the opportunities those awards present me because I'm 'too busy' would be supremely stupid. So I need to finish what I'm working on, for the love.

5. Enjoy.

See these guys? They are the best children in the world. I am the luckiest woman in her thirties ever. Not even Hamilton can compare to the brilliance of being their mother. So I'm going to work on enjoying them, every day, even when I'm tired and it's hard and I just want to sleep.


So, take that 2017. My ear hurts, my hair is a mess, and I can't remember the last time I Swiffered Daniel's dog hair from my kitchen floor. But hey, it's a new year, and I'm on a mission to make it a great one.

'Just you wait....'