new years cause me to inhale slowly and exhale nostalgia; then panic sets in because what did i really do last year and what i am really doing this year and can it already be (insert whatever year it actually is) and is it time to die already.
yesterday was the lunar new year, and i experienced the same feelings of reflection and endless possibilities — followed by chest-tightening fear that life is not a game anymore: i don’t care enough to keep score, so my chances of winning expired long ago. spectators have moved on to younger, more hopeful prospects and people who value currency in the form of human spawn. what are my experiences, really, but a just another lap around a deserted board game with dusty dice and tipped over sand timer?
this morning over genmai cha, i reviewed my scribbly notes from a mary kay event yesterday. the dichotomy of my state of mind splayed before me: how can my heart swirl in sunrises while my hands routinely claw out my grave in cold ground? i cannot continue with my misalignment and expect to succeed in 2017. affirmations of united mind, heart, and actions are my goal in the coming year, as i acknowledge that 2016 was an exploratory year for me; i reached new milestones in my identity.
2016 was an inside job. before i welcome a new year, let me share a few tidbits from the last 365+ days to appease the sentimentalist in me.
walla walla in winter
watching hawaiian dancers on the beach in oxnard, california
jon exclaiming “i have heard 10 different languages tonight!” while walking down the las vegas strip
being told i can have the year of my dreams at mary kay seminar in dallas … but realizing it could all end with an uber ride gone wrong
cheering for red in seattle
that time my heart grew five sizes too big
exploring swan falls
determining that, you guys, my makeup is ON FLEEK thanks to mary kay
and loving my family more than i would ever, ever admit to them.
last week, my new friend jillian unknowingly stated my life philosophy in a simple little sentence. her observation of two different kinds of people pointed to some of my biggest frustrations with social circles yet reassured me that my position is not isolated. she said that she prefers to work the law of attraction instead of the mode of promotion. she would rather allow others to approach her after recognizing her efforts to create her best self — rather than constantly tout her accomplishments in front of others to recruit like-minds. the distinction is small; but her words defined two types of people — and i hope you’ll reflect on which category you’d like to belong to.
have you ever been at a party where you listened to that one girl talk a lot… about herself? first, she tried to find common ground with you. oh, you’re from boise. cool. you smile politely. you went to school here too. sweet. throw in a slight head nod. but suddenly, her college degree led to a more lucrative career than yours, and she successfully birthed more children than you (described in immaculate detail, from method and position of conception to exact millimeters of genital tearing), and her granite countertops in her second home are cleaned professionally twice monthly.
well, that escalated quickly.
and then you found a new place to sit.
let’s be kind and assume that she was genuinely interested in becoming your friend. her words — while brash and scarring — were meant only to impress you so that you would find her accomplished and interesting. she promoted her life highlights and what she considers to be important. to be fair, society does place a strong emphasis on career, family, and lifestyle afforded by money.
which is one of my biggest frustrations about socializing with the masses. fortunately, people like wise jillian exist.
here’s another scenario: you’re scooting a screeching grocery cart down an aisle that fits 0.75 cart-widths if unoccupied when you spot a lone figure ahead of you. she’s holding her shopping list in her left hand and quietly discerning between two different brands of *insert something healthy here.* she looks like she just stepped out of pinterest and you’re pretty sure you’ve seen her hairstyle on one of those pretty little liars. as you get closer, she hears your cart and you expect a frown of disgust as the front right wheel locks up (again) — but instead, you are greeted with a smile as she moves out of your way. you notice a leafy green bundle of kale in her reusable shopping sack (oh, right, yours is at home… in the pantry… holding oodles of plastic bags) and exclaim, “hey, i love kale! i use it in smoothies.” her already bright eyes twinkle under the fluorescent lights and a conversation begins. you find out that she graduated with a degree in biology but landed a job as a nutritionist at a local gym; her two school-age children will only drink their vegetables so she blends kale into a yummy breakfast “milkshake”; and you find out that you went to high school with her cousin who now manages her own cleaning business — and she could probably hook you up with a great new customer discount. as you continue shopping, you make eye contact with and smile at strangers and you sincerely thank the high school kid cashier as you leave.
was it her lovely appearance? her unabashed kindness? you were attracted to what she was: open, honest, and polished.
but wait, didn’t “i should be able to breastfeed my children anytime and anywhere with my overly engorged-with-milk boobs because i can afford organic food that’s free from GMOs” party girl also have those qualities?
but which person would you rather be? rather be friends with?
i want to embody grace. and intelligence. and integrity. i want to be those things so that you’ll want to be those things and you’ll pass on those things to other people who want to be those things. but i don’t want to be pushy, or braggy, or obnoxious because i don’t need to seek approval for what i already know to be true. i continue to grow and emanate beauty with dignity. self-improvement is the balance of appreciating your present self while also knowing you’re capable of more in the future.
i hope you’re out there attracting like minds. i hope you inspire others because you motivate and enlighten yourself. i hope you find what you’re looking for.
my goal is to read twelve books in 2017. keep track of my progress here:
1. "The Art of Forgetting: A Novel" by Peter Palmieri
2. "Where'd You Go, Bernadette?" by Maria Semple
3. "I, Lucifer" by Glen Duncan
4. "Pacific Avenue" by Anne Watson
5. "The Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawkins
6. "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn