After two weeks in the whimsical flutter of family, parents and brothers, nieces and nephews, cousins and grandparents, I’m back from Virginia. And while my heart was light and giddy in the season’s festivities, the return to my native state, the company of loved ones, the snowy white Christmas of Nutcracker Suite fantasies, there’s nothing so sublime as being home, eating micro-fried cheese sticks on the couch with my pup yawning at my feet and fire blazing bright despite the 50-degree sunshine outside. Aw, yes, it’s good to be home.
I’m recuperating now: unpacking suitcases, doing laundry, checking emails, packing up Christmas decorations for another year, returning phone calls and reminding myself of stacks of work left unread during the merry Christmas days. Life. And I’ll get to all that in due time. I say with a smile and a happy sigh. Sometimes it takes going away to recognize the glory of the ordinary. I missed the ordinary: waking up and doing my morning routine with Gatsby, settling down at my laptop with my tea and a day of writing before me, the sky over the Franklin Mountains all robin’s egg blue and glad. ‘G’morning, Sarah,’ says the lonesome oak outside my writing loft window. ‘G’morning, Mr. Oak,’ I think. And that’s the beauty of being home: It’s so quiet I can hear myself think! I can hear the characters I’ve yet to meet chatting in the distance, drawing me closer to their stories.
That’s part of my 2010 resolution: to enjoy the quiet moments more; to see the beauty in the details; to relish a dreamy do-nothing hour or two without berating myself for lack of productivity. This goes completely against my Type-A personality, mind you. I like to keep busy. While my mom is the perfectionist, the busy-bee characteristic comes from my dad. The man never sits still. He’s a continual whirlwind of productivity, always engaged in some project, always working, always brimming with energy and spirit. Recently, he ran the Marine Corps Marathon in D.C. in the morning then came home and hauled boxes out of storage for the afternoon. Who does that? My dad. I love him for it and share his pleasure in a fully ‘active’ day. But by the end of 2009, I had reached a point where if I did anything unproductive, the little slave driver in my head would lash her whip, spit fire, and howl; and the moments I could’ve been enjoying were spent in guilt-ridden self-reproach. It wasn’t healthy, and my husband says it wasn’t fun to live with either.
So on the first day of 2010, I told myself to chill out. Yes, I like to be productive, but there is a season for everything, as the Good Book says. A time for seeding and a time for harvesting and in between those, you have to sit back and let nature do its work. You can’t make it rain. You can’t make the sun shine. Shaking your fist at the sky and walking circles round the field won’t make anything grow faster or better. Instead of focusing on the end product, why not stand back, take a breath, and watch the small miracles as they grow. It’s there, in the stillness, that inspiration blooms.
I’m not usually one to make New Year’s resolutions. They never stick and always leave me feeling ashamed for having broken them. But perhaps that was because they were somewhat vain promises. One year I vowed to shave my legs at least once a week… for my husband’s sake. Next thing I knew it was mid-February, and I argued my “winter legwarmers” kept the chill away. Another year, I said I would give up alcohol, but sometimes a lady needs a beverage where vodka is the primary ingredient. Another year, I promised to watch less reality TV and read more. I kept half the resolution: I read more. I stopped making resolutions after that. Unless I had a really, really good one, it was pointless. I think this 2010 one is worthy. I think it’s a keeper.
I’m fascinated by what people have deemed their ‘New Year’s resolution’, if they’ve made one at all. It’s a one sentence micro-story all of its own. What was yours? I’d love to hear.
Yours truly, Sarah