|Every day a new day.|
This post is inspired by Donna over at her blog and by Kelly's latest link-up, both of whom are encouraging us to share a vision of our coming year. I like this idea much better than making a list of resolutions. Creating a vision for the new year seems like a creative way to move forward, with room to make mistakes but not losing the overall image of where (or who) I want to be one year from now. Resolutions, however, sound so, well...resolute.
I suppose in looking forward, I must first look back. Hindsight is 20/20, the saying goes (no pun intended). I am not one who tends to reflect much on the past, being more accustomed to always being motivated by my to-do list and what I want to get out of each day, and planning my days, weeks, months accordingly. The time goes faster that way, and feels less wasted. Years speed by. In 2020, my baby becomes a preschooler, my eldest child becomes a tween, and my husband and I are on the cusp of completing our second decade of marriage. I could use the cliche', "Where did the time go?", but I know where it went. I pushed it away.
2019 was a challenging year. I turned 50. My marriage was rocky. My child was diagnosed with autism. My circle of friends grew smaller. My husband traveled a lot. My children fought a lot. I lost my part-time job.
And I responded to all of this by pushing time away. It was easy to do. I had no shortage of distractions to keep me busy. My rule of life ruled me. Cooking, laundry, gardening, homeschooling, cleaning...I devoted myself to meeting all my family's material needs in 2019. I tried to fool myself into believing that this would be enough, and that if I just worked hard, the end-product would be a loving, peaceful home life.
But as I end this year, I recognize that in my frenzied 2019, I created not a peaceful home, but an anxious home. My children are strong in body, thanks to the clean diet I work so hard to follow, but are weak in spirit because they have a mother too busy to play with them, and who forces them to pray. My husband is well cared for, with clean shirts and three home-cooked meals a day, but is sad because he has a wife who nags and sets unattainable standards for him to reach. And me, I just keep pushing the time away, making it go faster and faster, because parenting is hard, and marriage is hard, and friendship is hard, and special needs are hard, and solo-parenting is hard, and teaching math is hard, and the faster time goes, the sooner it will all be over.
And soon, it will all be over. In 2019, my father turned 80, and my mother falls asleep now during our conversations, and I think a lot about the day I'll get the dreaded phone call that one of them is gone. Already, I am going to too many funerals for friends who are my age, dying of cancer, heart disease, strokes. My network of professional friends, built assiduously during my career, has become a network of retirees. The new friends I make now all tend to be either younger or older than me by a decade, or two, and are restless and searching for their happy place and so, do not stay here in this remote corner of the world very long. I say goodbye too often and resist making new friends who I know will likely be moving on in a year or two. In 2019, it felt like a lot of things were ending.
When I started 2019, my vision for the new year was to use my time wisely and to make the most of every minute of my day. It was a noble endeavor. I exercised more and my body is stronger now. I cooked more, and my family benefited. I cleaned more and our home is tidy. I scheduled better and we got more done. I grew more food than I ever had before, and our pantry shelves are stocked full of wholesome goodness. Perhaps it is a mid-life phenomena, but in 2019, time became not my enemy, but my friend, because by maximizing how I used my time, I felt like I could maximize my life. And that gave me what I craved; it gave me control. And where there is control, there is peace. Or so I thought. But somewhere in 2019, I forgot to relax. I forgot what Pope Francis once said, how important it is to "waste time with our kids". And not just with my kids, but with others, too.
So, that is my vision for 2020 in a nutshell. I want to waste time. I want my children to see me take time to pray instead of hearing me telling them to pray. I want my husband to hear more compliments and fewer requests from me. I want to waste time with him like we did years ago when we'd just talk on the phone about nothing for hours. I want to make new friends, even if goodbyes are inevitable. I want to visit my parents more, and listen to them repeat the same thing over and over because they forgot they'd already said that. And I want to write more stories, because someday, when this is all over, all that will be left is what I took the time to write down. The time that feels so wasted right now.