Last year it was "wait." The year before it was "seek." And before that, "understanding." It's never hard to think of a word. I think it's because constantly throughout the year I'm always sizing up how things are going, recalibrating my steering just a touch, watching as new challenges arise.
Anyway, for weeks I've been saying "oh, I don't know, I'll have to give it some thought," and so it was about two days short of the new year when I actually tried to come up with a word. I closed my eyes and asked myself, "What is the word?"
It popped right in. "Act." Of course!
Last year was ROUGH. The first three months of my journal are completely blank because I was so miserable I didn't even want to talk about it. I was just so terrified to be pregnant. I didn't say at the time, but the main meaning of "wait" was "don't panic till the baby actually appears, it might not be as bad as you think!" As well as "wait" in the sense of, "Looks like this isn't going to be the year for you to make any progress on anything or accomplish a single one of your dreams."
It was a very passive year; it had to be. But I hated that. I hated that pregnancy is just something that happens to you. Labor, too -- some people see it as something they do, but it's something that happens to me. I felt very powerless, like changes were just thrust on me without my consent. Good morning, you're too sick to eat breakfast! Good evening, now your pants don't fit! It felt unfair. And I have never felt less happy to be a woman, because being a woman means having stuff happen to you, while the men are out there doing things.
Wait was a good word for it. I think I learned a bit about passivity and how it's not always something to be ashamed of. The ability to suffer a lot isn't necessarily less important than the ability to do a lot. And my generally responsive stance toward the kids is generally a good thing -- I let them come to me, and they set the tone as to what sort of day they're having and so forth.
However, Miriam is four months old and I think I'm ready to start doing things again. It was smart to ride the storm out while it was going by, but now that there's a little calm, it's time to pick up the oars and row.
First thing: I've been whining for months about how being highly sensitive is so awful and how overstimulating my life is. One of the factors that is overstimulating to me right now is my hair. It's all over my neck and that drives me nuts. A ponytail bugs me too. I prefer short hair, but I am always conflicted about it because my husband does like long hair and I feel like I'm supposed to prioritize being pretty for him. Really, if it actually mattered to him, I would. But he doesn't care much one way or the other, and it occurred to me he'd probably much rather see me with a smile than with long hair. So it's time to ACT -- I'm getting a haircut again.
Another thing: sometimes when the kids are very crabby, I've discovered that it helps to just step in and take the lead, organize a game for them. It goes against my nature -- I really prefer just letting them entertain themselves -- but I think sometimes they need it. And if the kids need me to ACT, I will.
Another: I have resolved in past years not to hold in my opinions and issues in my marriage but instead address them, because my tendency is to repress things that could be emotionally dangerous. (I can't say if I got that from my upbringing, or if that's cult trauma talking, but it's NOT GOOD.) So again, if I have a problem, stop feeling sorry for myself and just ACT -- by forcing myself to communicate, even when I don't want to. (Do I hear Salix Babylonica cheering me on? Never say I don't listen to your lectures!)
Another: I have been a seeker, in terms of religion, for years. On and on, it's a battle and I'm not really getting the answers the way I would like. Every answer that works for me for awhile ends up getting shredded, and there are more questions. I know those questions also (probably) have answers, but I'm exhausted. It's so tempting to just give up. But what has come very clear to me lately is that often theology is just a distraction from practice. That is, regardless of what the answers to my questions are, I don't really have any doubts about what I'm supposed to be doing. To act as a good Catholic acts is a pretty straightforward proposition, and it is also something I can clearly see as a good. We've finally got a priest whose homilies don't make me want to storm out of the church -- he talks about what you can do practically in your life to put into practice the gospel reading for the day. I like that. There is always something I can be doing better.
There's not a lot I can do as far as the outside world goes -- I am not going to be running for office this year or getting a job. "Act" doesn't mean anything that drastic for me. But I would very much like to finish another book this year. I'd like to spend more of my free time spinning and less vegging out. I'm not going to resolve to do better with the housework, because let's be honest: it's not going to happen. I will do what I can. Anyway I'm lightyears ahead, housework-wise, from where I was when I first got married.
I'm looking forward to 2015 -- there's no reason it shouldn't be a good year. Miriam will get bigger and eventually be playing with her brothers. Spring is going to come, I'll get to go outside again, and I'll feel alive the way I only do outside. Just not being pregnant makes me feel alive -- it is kinda great to be the only person living in your body. I never appreciated that before! I'll be writing, spinning, maybe hanging out with friends once in awhile. I'll be paying down debt -- we hope to pay off one of our loans this year, which is wonderfully encouraging. My "reward" for this is that some of the budget room that's freed up is going to go for spending money for me, which I've never actually had before. I think maybe it's time for me to learn how to spend money on myself! Not a lot, because frugality will probably be important for me till the day I die, even if I had a million dollars, but a little "fun money" nonetheless. Hope I don't blow it all on cheese.
This is the last full year of my twenties; I can hardly believe it. But there it is. It'll be a good year, I'm deciding now. And I will ACT to make it happen!
What are your resolutions? Do you have a word?