There’s something about this time of year that I just love. I mean, I love it so much that I’m considering celebrating New Years bimonthly. Now, instead of spending time wondering whether I am talking about twice a month or every other month, let me go on to reassure you that I won’t be saying “Happy New Year” randomly when I see you out and about in June in either scenario. I just haven’t decided what I’m going to call this celebration as of yet.
If I had to boil it all down, I think it’s the idea of intentional living that excites me – how good it feels to be heading toward a clear goal with a plan, verses passively reacting to what life throws at you until you are so distracted that even YOU don’t know where you are headed or why.
I absolutely love turning the page on my calendar as the present month comes to an end and a new, fresh one begins. A new page, where all the little blocks aren’t so full that I’ve had to highlight the most important events to attempt to be on time for or not miss anything. But this time of year when you take down a full 12 months of living and replace it with 12 months that have yet to be had… it’s so exciting and refreshing!
Now, I’m not one to keep a bunch of things that I don’t need, but it’s always weird for me to simply toss that calendar, filled with our lives, away without thinking about it first. I flipped through that calendar for a second and began to reflect on the past year’s blessings, accomplishments, and all those things, big and small, that made me feel good about the life we had lived together and as individuals. I also had a moment to reflect on what was missing, or what was there that I need less of – or rid of – completely. I felt grateful as well, as I flipped through, that it hadn’t been a year marked with great losses or trials – as I’m sure some of yours have been – and like a couple of mine from the past.
This is also a great time of year to remind yourself that YOU are ultimately the one who is in charge of reality. No, I’m not kidding. I just said “control reality.” You see, being an optimist who occasionally struggles with pessimism, I choose to believe that our perception of what is real is what we ultimately experience and remember reality to be. (Please don’t waste your time trying to solve this deep philosophical theory of mine. It will be time spent in vain. In addition, please don’t talk to your counselor about this theory, or at least tell them it is mine. They may try to convince you that you have a major distortion of your psyche or worse, recommend that you stop reading my blog.)
You see, this New Year’s really sucked… There were actually moments when I truly think I said to myself, “This is totally the second worst New Years Eve I’ve ever had in my life!” But I won’t go into that worst one right now. Well, unlike that said year, this year’s disappointments were all just silly things really.
I’d been sick all week with a sinus infection and strep throat that took turns burning then itching, burning then itching. At one point I remember contemplating eating crackers or chips and only halfway chewing them up before swallowing them, just to get some relief. I was sneezing so frequently my mascara couldn’t dry between sneezes, and I’d ended up having more mascara under my eyes than on my lashes. I found myself looking at my toothless patients with envy, imagining the lack of tooth pain they must suffer from during a sinus infection. My nose was raw and my lips were peeling from what seemed like endless nights of mouth breathing, and my children laughed at me when I put “butt” cream on my face but I didn’t have the energy to explain to them that A&D helps about anything that needs healed or lubed. The fact was…I was just plane ole grumpy. GRUMPY.
Additionally, I had known for awhile that my hubs was playing his saxophone on New Year’s Eve at The Greenbrier with the West Virginia Jazz Orchestra. I thought about going with him (but really alone) but couldn’t think of anything I had to wear that would look good with tissues shoved up my nose, being replaced as needed, to manage the steady stream. Nothing about that look screamed black tie event to me.
Sophia was going to a sleepover, and my dear parents had offered to keep the two younger kids so I could have the night off to rest up. And to be completely honest right now…I was also struggling with intermittent bouts of disappoint that I wasn’t having to choose between all the fabulous New Years events that I had been invited to.
On New Year’s day I felt so terrible, that halfway through my work morning, I truly thought I was going to have to cancel the rest of my patients for the day. Thanks to good aim, I managed not to drip on anyone, but I could tell I was pushing my luck. I was also beginning to feel fraudulent for the time I was billing their insurance, considering half of my time with them was spent washing my hands between sneezes. It was a mess… really.
I then got a call from MedExpress reporting that they had a patient who desperately needed to see me to stop their spinning and nausea. At that moment I decided to bite the bullet, put on my big girl panties, suck it up, take one for the team, or whatever you want to say, and told them to come during my lunch break … that had all already been cut in half due to a full schedule.
Rick was off and at home with the kiddos, and had just recently sent me a text message asking me how I was feeling and if there was anything he could do for me besides make a yummy dinner. I texted back…
“I don’t want to be any trouble but you wouldn’t mind bringing me some lunch would you? Nothing big. Maybe a little sandwich from Subway?” I texted gently.
“Subway Melt, toasted with provolone cheese, spinach, green pepper, cucumbers, tomato oregano, and vinegar. Oh, and a Diet Coke,” I texted like a drive thru attendant minus the “First window please.”
I ended my text like a humble martyr, “That would be really sweet of you. But of course if you can’t … don’t worry about me, I might be fine, maybe…”
I was in the middle of treating a patient when my lunch delivery boy confidently barged in. It was my middle child, Harrison, wearing his Mountaineer hat, carrying a Subway bag that I could see contained a candy cane full of M & M’s as well as nasal spray; items I know that the Subway Certified Sandwich Artist hadn’t included. It had been packed in there special … for me … and with love. Before leaving the room he gave me the sweetest little kiss with cold lips, from recently being outdoors, that ended with the lingering scent of Doritos breath and it was SO perfect. This is when I remembered, I can change my Today!
I got through the rest of the work day and finally ate that sub at 4 p.m. while I sweetly thought of him.
However, on my drive home I suffered from another case of, “could I have been hit by a car and not remember it” kind of moment. I silently prayed that no one would want or need me as soon as I walked in the door. Strangely, the house was eerily quite upon my arrival? I hesitated momentarily, waiting for a “SURPRISE!!!” that I’m so glad didn’t occur. I then walked into the playroom and found Haley sitting happily, carrying on a vibrant conversation for five or six dolls without missing a beat. The moment she saw me she dropped them all and in her mousy little voice said, “Hi Mama, did you want to hold me for a little bit?” It was much easier changing my tune this time.
After finishing a nice steak dinner with mac and cheese, salad, and bread that had been lovingly prepared by Rick, we packed all three kids up to get them delivered for the night. At one moment during our calm and effective exiting-the-house routine, I passed my husband in the hallway. He was dressed in tux with his collar undone and bow-tie hanging to the side. I thought to myself, “This man not only slaved over a hot stove for me and helped Harrison prepare a New Year’s Day magic show… he looks pretty hot!”
I knew for sure that at tonight’s black tie event he would be exposed to some fine specimens of the women’s physique. I confidently knew, however, that he only wanted to come home to the one he left with tissues in her nose and wearing mismatched pajamas.
Once the house was empty I decided to make myself a New Year’s Eve cocktail that included:
800 milligrams of amoxicillin,
24 milligrams of steroids,
1000 milligrams of Tylenol, and
2 hits of nasal spray in each nostril
washed down with some Throat Coat tea that was harvested from the wild slippery elm bark in deep reverence by Appalachian families (That’s what the box said… take it or leave it).
Then, after discovering there was nothing on TV that was as stimulating as the back of my eyelids, I decided to go up to Sophia’s vacant room for the night, so Rick wouldn’t disturb me when he got home from tooting his own horn. As I lay there in her bed, applying a liberal coat of A & D ointment to my nose and lips, I began to take notice of some of the things she found pegboard-worthy; each one of the them truly an expression of her heart. This one was my favorite. A reminder to her mind of her heart’s desire:
I fell asleep, or possibly passed out from my cocktail that was recommended to me by my pharmacist husband, whose favorite quote is, “Don’t hesitate…medicate!” and I slept for an undisturbed 12 hours!
It was a fabulous New Year’s Eve. It really was. Probably one of my top, well, second-to-top, but I won’t talk about that one right now either.
So that’s it folks, this year I’m going to celebrate “New Year’s” bimonthly or as needed to stay focused so I can live with intention. I will also utilize the practice of make-believe when reality just doesn’t suit me.
However, while I pray that the joys and blessings from 2015 are multiplied for you in this upcoming year, I hope you don’t rush through reflecting on 2015, if found within it are heart aches or trials you are ready to forget, without first…
- Remembering your strength that showed up when it was needed;
- Reliving the presence of love you felt amidst a loss,
And while maybe not now, but hopefully someday,
- Feeling a sense of gratitude for the opportunity to grow, learn, change, or live deeper, that those losses or trials offered you, like mine have done for me…well, eventually.
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