Saturday, January 2, 2010

Are you there, Best Self? It's me, Margaret.

In the waning hours of New Year's Day, I'm avoiding going to bed because I don't want to finish my novel. It has completely captivated me this week, and is taunting me in the next room, daring me to enter its clutches so it can leave me alone and desperate for more in the end. Since I know I'm hooked, I'm delaying the inevitable heartbreak. Instead, a little reflection tonight.

That's a T-family New Year's good luck tradition you see above, by the way: shots of vodka out of cored cucumbers. We realized that we didn't do the traditional cucumber vodka shots last New Year's, which is obviously the reason behind 2009 unemployment. Easier to blame those forgotten vodka shots than getting all riled up about our crappy economy, after all. No forgetting our cucumber vodka this year, though. We were on those babies like a freshman year bender, and with good reason.

Speaking of courting luck, the sheer number of people bidding good riddance to 2009 this year is fairly astounding. It's been a rough one for so many of us, and I say that as a person with good enough fortune to get married in 2009. So many people we love need a turnaround and injection of hope in 2010, and I've got to believe we're all going to get it. There's a gravity to hoping for positive change that can help put life into perspective, for me anyway. It's been freeing these last few months, editing away what's unimportant and frivolous and focusing on the real stuff of life. That said, here's my take on 2010... no big deal, just being my best me and all. Gulp.

  • Appreciate the small stuff. I think I do this fairly well already. In 2010, though, it's going to be crucially important that I keep enough levity in my outlook that I don't get too weighed down by what's ahead of us. We have some huge changes and decisions coming that are sometimes going to feel overwhelming, but I hope that I'm not so overcome by the big picture that I forget to smile and giggle and laugh so hard it hurts about what's great about our lives. Because to be honest, I feel extraordinarily lucky. I know how blessed I am. When things are getting stressful, I want to think smaller, look around me, feel that hand in mine, see the photos of our loved ones around us, hear that song I love playing in the background, smell that yummy dish on the stove, and snuggle in close. That's the good stuff.
  • Move. Given what I just wrote above about the small stuff, here's the kicker: we've got to get out of here. I'm desperate for a place to really call home, which this city has never been, and just never can be. I miss being in a place that breathes with me, a place that I feel connected to, a place where I'm truly invested. My work is about creating community and prioritizing a sense of place, after all... this is the stuff that I live for. It's not good for me to roll my eyes at people around me and lash out about their out-of-whack priorities. I don't feel better about myself because I think others are misguided; I feel better about myself when I'm surrounded by like-minded people. We have some wonderful friends in this town, but... but... I don't belong here. (I mean seriously, I have fantasies about the Northpark mall exploding into flames and an entire city's credit limit drying up and forcing them to realize their lives are devoid of meaning... these are not happy or healthy thoughts!) I want a place where I can grow roots, be proud, and be my best self. That place is not this city for me, and I don't want to make concessions about the kind of place I want to call home.

  • Patience. Going to need it to bridge bullet point A and B, as you can see. Keep me away from the bomb-making manuals and back to the small moments! Snuggles and good songs and laughter!
  • Write more, and better. I miss writing the way I used to, the way that feeds me, and has for my entire life. Somehow in my brain I've gotten hinged on the notion that our next city will be where I rediscover my writing chops and where my brain recharges and I'm full of the fire I had through college and grad school and over at m-pyre. I hope this is true. I know that when I'm typing with fury I feel the most like myself. I know that when I'm in the writing zone, I catch T smiling at me with a look he never gets when I'm doing anything else. It's who I am, and I need to stop blaming my current zip code for the fact that my fingers haven't been properly worked out in longer than I care to admit. Being my best self can start with this keyboard.

  • Feel the love, and give it. I want to soak in more goodness than I can stand in 2010. I want to give that goodness back, too. I want to vocalize all the positive feelings I have for the amazing people in my life that I too often internalize. I want to be the best partner I can be, and daughter, and sister, and friend. I want to be better at replenishing my connections and exploring new ones. I want to be a sponge, and if the people I love could use some of what I've got, I want to squeeze out whatever they need, then soak more back in. My best self: sponge. Who knew? 
C'mon, 2010: bring it. (I'll take more shots if necessary.)


  1. I just wanted to tell you that I really enjoy your blog, especially your positive attitude, especially about change which is always a scary thing!

    And by the way, what's the novel that you don't want to finish? I'm always looking for good suggestions...

  2. This post was absolutely beautiful.

  3. Happy new year!!!!! I hope that this year brings great things for you and your family... and lots of the amazing small moments.

  4. That's my girl. As the Dixie Chicks say "living the lows make the highs that much higher". 2009 was a tough year in many ways. But it was a year of great celebrations. We had the best wedding in Sanderling history and we had Baby Liam. Both events brought us joy that will last our lifetimes. In a couple of years we will be able to laugh about the challenges of 2009. My New Year's resolution is to embrace change for change is surely on the way. Remember the framed Grandmas Moses qoute that I have - "Life is what you make it - always has been and always will be". It is great to see you and T determined to embrace change and steer your lives in a direction that will bring you hapiness! We are here to help any way that we can. MOM

  5. Love this post! And it really is amazing how many couldn't wait to bid this year adieu! Good thing its now a thing of the past...on to bigger and better! Xx

  6. Thanks for the nice thoughts, everyone, especially you, Mom :-).

    G, the book was "Shadow of the Wind." I'd tell you to reference the blog widget on the front page of FC, but it's not updating right now for some reason. Instead, you can see my review here: (Goodreads is great for book recommendations, by the way - you might consider signing up!)

  7. "Write more, and better" is definitely making my year's to-do list, too.

    Here's to a fantastic! 2010.


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