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And a Happy–Well, You Know What Day it Is

January 1, 2015
Yes I set a reminder on my phone. Who doesn't like to be wished a happy new year by an inanimate object?

Yes I set a reminder on my phone. Who doesn’t like to be wished a happy new year by an inanimate object?

At approximately 10:43pm central time, December 31, 2014, I posted a request on Facebook. I wanted to know what my friends were doing for New Year’s Eve. I wanted to know, you see, because I did not do anything.

Scratch that.

I very much did something. What I did was stay at home, eat Tombstone pizza from the freezer aisle and drink champagne out of a Pilsner glass because I’m a very odd duck too lazy to get out the wine glasses just boss like that.

This was not my first New Year’s alone, and it may not be the last.

Ok, Ok, someone wants you to know that I wasn’t alone.

My Precious.

My Precious.

Not that he isn’t a great snuggler, but it is nice having someone who will kiss back at midnight. Oh, well.

I think this is the first New Year that I’ve been truly ok with the whole alone thing though. (And by “truly ok” I mean I’m not ok at all, but I’m nowhere near as despondent as I’ve been other years.)

Mostly I think it’s because about a month ago I had a meltdown.

Ok, you can stop backing away now. Come on, we’re all a little bit crazy, right? We just don’t all talk about it. Except, well, I do. Perhaps it will make you feel better about your own insecurities. Not that you have any, of course. (Well, nothing too big, anyway. Actually… well let’s just keep moving, shall we?)

I had a bit of a meltdown because, unlike you, I find it difficult to divvy up my time between everything I want to do, everything I should do, and everything I need to do. And it all culminated in my wanting to quit everything, stay in my house, and do nothing.

Cut to my taking off the last week of the year. And making no plans. Zero. One of my friends at work asked what I was going to do with my time off. He was about to leave the country for a week. He was stoked. And yet, I don’t think he could even begin to match the level of excitement anticipation sheer, unadulterated glee that was practically emanating from me that day. I was vibrating with it. “Nothing!” I replied to his question. Emphasis, exclamation point, and underlined for good measure.

And yet every day so far has been full of stuff. In fact I have a to-do list that is so long I know I won’t finish it. There are a few non-negotiables, however. Such as: I forced myself to go grocery shopping today, so I can spend time tomorrow cooking a bunch of meals that I can freeze. And I had to go spend $270 I don’t really have to buy insulin for the love of my life (see photo above. Oh wait, they both are. I mean the cat). And my house is that kind of mess where you’re about half-way done cleaning so it looks awful but you know that if you just keep at it it’ll look a whole lot better very soon. And I am going to the Art Institute on Friday so I can spend some time doing something that will fill me up.

Because I had that breakdown in a time of emptiness. A time when I asked myself “Why?” and I couldn’t come up with an answer. A time when I asked myself if I could do it (ah, “it,” that ephemeral pronoun of all the things you need to do) and the answer was, emphatically, no. And it was a time when I asked myself if I was ever going to be good enough, if I was ever going to make the right choices, save money, have a clean house, and maybe, just one day, lose that weight. And the answer, the dark whisper in the dead of night over the gaping hole that is my self-esteem, was “no.”

It was that meltdown that made me realize I needed to spend some time on myself. I posted about it on Facebook and got amazing feedback and support (thank you). A wonderful friend of mine introduced me to the term “Self-Care.” I love this term because it shows that one must take care of one’s self. But here’s the thing… “taking care” isn’t just being lazy or self-centered. It isn’t taking a day off work and not getting dressed and staying on the couch all day watching movies… unless that is exactly what you need. But in this last year that has been my default “I am so exhausted I just can’t do anything else” move. And I wanted this time off to be different.

So I’ve spent time with friends, and I’ve spent time alone. I did the dishes and the laundry (Ok well the laundry is still in a pile in my room, but at least it’s all clean now). And I have spent time with friends and family too, even if it’s just over the phone.

And I’ve found myself a little more relaxed, a little more human, and… a little more likable. At the same time, I am a lot more driven. Driven to clean, driven to do the dishes. (Oh yes, also driven to sleep in and watch movies on the couch, but come on, this is essentially the second real vacation I’ve had all year). And no, I haven’t finished my to-do list. I won’t. But I’m going to forgive myself. You know why? Because I have to love who I am before I can make changes to what I do.

Let me say that again. I have to love who I am before I can make changes to what I do.

That’s why I haven’t made many changes. That’s why every day I find myself hating myself. Or at least some aspect of myself. And when you hate yourself, you don’t protect yourself from making bad decisions. Problem is, I’ve made enough of those. I am ready to clean house, physically, metaphorically, spiritually. I know that I won’t get it all done during this week. But then Rome wasn’t built in a day practice makes perfect [insert whatever frothy platitude you like best here].

Cut to New Year’s Eve.

New Year’s Eve was always the night when I made the most money as a kid. Yes, I was that bastion of suburban life–the babysitter. I was the girl who played with your kids, then sat on your couch eating your food watching the ball drop on your TV, and getting paid to do so. This isn’t my first kissless Midnight.

Ever since then, New Year’s Eve became this Thing for me. A day I dreaded, a day I hated, a day I sometimes looked forward to, but mostly a day when reality didn’t live up to the hype that had grown in my own mind. A day when all I want is to be with the one I love, to get that kiss at midnight with his arms folded around me, entering the new year in my loved one’s embrace, my lips pressed to his, our scents mingling, a secret smile shared between only us.

You get why I’m depressed sometimes, right? I’m much too good at imagining how it’s “supposed to be.”

That’s why this year… this year wasn’t about expectations. This year isn’t about promising myself that I will be perfect in 2015, that I will get up on time and be at work early and make good choices with my money and eat nothing but vegetables and get all my projects done on time. Come on.

So I stayed at home, and finished my Harry Potter marathon. I took a break to watch the ball drop, and then I went back to the movie. And do you know what those movies are about? Love. Loving yourself, and loving others. Love means finding out who you are, and accepting it. And it means finding out who others are, and accepting that as well.

At the time that I wrote this, a fair handful of people have answered my question on Facebook. What were the other people in my world doing today?

  • Watching the ball drop on TV
  • Watching the ball drop in NYC
  • Taking shots
  • Taking pictures
  • Eating
  • Dancing
  • Snapchatting
  • Falling asleep

Sounds like, in a way, we’re all doing about the same thing. What matters most is that, whatever you do, you do it with someone you love. So maybe I spent tonight with myself. But you know what? I’m a pretty good date.

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