The week between Christmas and New Year is awkward for me. I am still singing Christmas songs, appreciating the gifts and wanting the magic and glitter to last just a bit longer. But much to my amazement, according to the rules of Commerce and Consumption, Christmas is over and we are moving along to the next shopping holiday!
I went into my local drug store to pick up some meds and what had been a Christmas wonderland just two days ago was now a discount paradise! “Xmas left-overs now 50% off” and shoved to the side. And the rest of the shelves were barren and awaiting the next purchase point item. The music in the store had returned to something bland and quite forgettable. Previously holiday-happy store employees were now irritable and engaged in managing returns for befuddled customers.
I admit to my own slightly-off-center mode. My stomach and eyes are not in agreement about food at present. The left-overs are packaged and waiting, but honestly? My appetite is gone. I long for a simple broth with rice or a nice salad (minus the e-coli). Even the go-to tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich seems too rich.
My vow to exercise throughout the holidays has been broken. The need, however, is great and I must commit to getting back into the routine. It seems cruel that it takes 30 days to develop a habit and just nano-seconds to have it all go to pieces. There are parts of me engaged in fierce debate over whether I should take a nap or go for a walk. Naps are winning out at present.
I already distributed my Boxing Day gifts before Christmas because that is when people tend to spend their money so technically they were not Boxing Day gifts. Today many people are in the backwash that is “Return Day” in stores. Exchanging the given for the desired or claiming the desired within the limits of the gift card.
This is also typically the week to look backward over the prior year and account for the good, the bad, those who have died, and those who have made their mark. I am feeling loss more acutely this year because so many of those who passed seemed like contemporaries; their passing making it more difficult to stay in denial about my own mortality.
As for making resolutions, well, I am committed to setting intentions, not making resolutions. This act of intention setting requires a bit more thought and way more commitment. It reflects what I believe to be a necessary willingness to let go of my ego-driven desires and accept that I am in relationship with many different forces. Not the least of which is my own inner critic.
One of my intentions is to have a book published by this time next year. I have been working on this book for a while now, so it seems more like an old pair of shoes. People often ask after the book, gazing at me with expectation. It is challenging to explain that my relationship to what I write is more akin to raising a child with a mind of her own. She wants what she wants when she wants it. My primary job is to provide the guidance and discipline necessary to get words on a page. Her primary job is to be wildly creative and productive. Sometimes I find the balance and produce what I consider to be useful prose. Here is where the intention comes in – without it, I would just be drifting in a sea of possibility. My intention is like a lighthouse that gives me direction.
This past year has allowed me to develop my skills as a writer and my ideas for what I see as beneficial to fill gaps in knowledge and skills for growing older with purpose and meaning. I am excited about what I am writing and hopeful it will find an audience, as well as be helpful. I have kept my commitment to writing a weekly blog, and many of you have shared your thoughts and encouragement which have supported and sustained me. I hope that will continue as this book gets launched.
In the meantime, as this last week of 2018 unfolds, I invite you to set your intention for the up-coming year. I have created a guided meditation to do just this. You are welcome to download this either as a pdf or listen to the audio version, read by me. Both of these can be found on the Center for Aging & Values website under “Resources”
Thank you for being a reader of this blog. I wish you a wonderful New Year!