Monday, December 31, 2012

Time Keeps on Slippin', Slippin', Slippin' Into the Future

I had grand illusions of all the things I was going to write about before the end of the year. I don't know why that seemed to be such a hard and fast deadline; maybe because a lot of the holiday-related things were, you know, time-sensitive and it would probably be weird to write about holiday baking adventures in February. Though at the rate I'm going these days, that seems like an optimistic prospect. There's all the year-end posts that are flying at me from all angles, the best of this, the worst of that, Top Arbitrary Number of Specific Topics, and so on, and so forth. If I had more time, maybe I'd pull together my best moments of 2012, or maybe I'd even look at the worst and figure out what I learned from them. Maybe I'd just post a bunch of pictures as a year-end summary.

The problem is, these things take time, and there's just... there's never enough of that.

But there's ALWAYS time for a Saved By the Bell reference.

So, I don't know. (That seems to be one of my favorite transition sentences. "So, I don't know." Perhaps... MOST FREQUENTLY USED TRANSITION SENTENCE OF 2012?! Maybe I should make a list of those. Second place probably goes to "Anyway...").

My friend/blog muse/nationally renowned kicker-of-ass Nicole recently released a shiny new e-book, available FREE of charge called "Why Wait?" (which means you should probably go download it) about setting aside bullshit excuses and making space for the things you want to accomplish in 2013. I was super psyched to sit down with it and finally get my shit together and... and I haven't done it yet, because I haven't had the energy to do it. I was going to say "haven't had the time" but if I were to think too much about that, that's probably a lie. I had time. I just had no motivation or energy left to use that time properly.

Truth be told, I get really insecure and overwhelmed by stuff like this. I hate examining my life because I always feel like I need to have the best answers (even if the "best" answer is actually "prove how effed up you are"- apparently it's a competition with a blank piece of paper to vomit out as many words as possible about how awful everything is and how much of a waste of a space I am). I always feel like there is a right answer and I always have to fish for it, because somewhere along the way, I've been taught that "I don't know" is an unacceptable response. It's not okay to not know. It's not okay to not have the answers. Which sucks, because frequently all I have is a handful of I-don't-knows and the overwhelming feeling of failing because I'm supposed to know. I'm supposed to know what the problem is, and I'm supposed to know what the answer is, and at that point, it's simply a matter of being too lazy to have been doing anything about it.

But I don't, guys. I don't know. I haven't the slightest clue. My biggest goal these days seems to be just getting by and the thought of adding anything on top of that is terrifying. I feel like I'm going to buckle under the weight of all the expectations that really probably only exist because I put them there. I can't answer questions about what's wrong or identifying the problem because, well, I DON'T KNOW. I don't know how to answer any of the questions, and I'm tired of pretending like I know, because I don't. I don't know, I don't know, I don't know. I don't know how many times I have to say it before it feels like it's an okay thing to admit.

Between Pinterest and the other blogs I read, there's clearly a movement out there to "live with intention" and "be authentic" and tell everyone who's getting in the way of your intentional, authentic life to piss off, and to me it sounds like a grand, romantic idea that's about as impossible to achieve as waking up tomorrow and running a marathon. They're just words. I try to internalize them and they seem like a wonderful idea, but I feel kind of stuck in the life I'm in right now. I can't afford the luxury of throwing off the shackles of The Man and giving into my wanderlust or creative impulses. Those don't pay the bills. I'm forced to be pragmatic and timid because first things first, I need to survive, before I can live. I'm out of sync with my "tribe" so to speak and I feel like I'm left behind.

Perhaps it was all an illusion, anyway. Maybe I'd have been better off if there was no such thing as the Internet or globalization. I would have followed the prescribed life plan for a small-town Midwest girl and never have known the difference. I wouldn't feel like I'm fighting for some invisible goal to do more, be more. I want "more" but I don't know what "more" is. Maybe I should want less. Hell, it doesn't matter. I don't know what I want. More and less are relative terms that don't mean anything unless I can define what I have and where I am, and as previously stated, all I have is a giant question mark and a sudden urge to crawl under my desk and tuck myself into the fetal position.

But coming back to what I'm going to pretend my original point was, I've hit the wall at the end of 2012, and since the world decided to not end last week (as it seems to have a habit of not doing), we're going to end up in 2013 in less than twelve hours and apparently this is some sort of magical blank slate and I feel like I need to tie up this year in a nice little package with twine bows and perfectly folded paper wrapping and then, I don't know, shove it in the back of the closet with years 1984 through 2011. This divide between December 31 and January 1 is so bizarre, because it's just another today turning into another tomorrow, but suddenly it's a big deal, and suddenly all the things I didn't do for the past twelve months are gnawing at me and for some reason it seems like nothing is allowed to carry over beyond today. Well, tough shit, universe. Next week I'm going to post about my Christmas cookies and then maybe three months from now I'll post about something that happened in August that I forgot to think about because I was too busy treading water while trying not to get yanked under by a sudden riptide. Or something. I don't go in the ocean much. We don't have any coasts here.

I think New Year's Resolutions are as flimsy and useless as the next person does, but I always make a couple anyway. Though it's not like on January 1, I'm magically going to become a better person. I'm not magically going to lose the forty pounds I've been trying to get rid of for the last two years. I'm not suddenly going to be a stylish dresser or have a sparkly clean apartment or learn to wear heels and stop being the asshole who's late for everything and suddenly be a fully-functioning adult (whatever that means, though from what I can tell, being an adult means doing all the stuff you don't actually want to do and that sounds incredibly suffocating, and every fiber of my being is resisting against things like "financial planning" and "getting up before 7:30 in the morning" and "stop wearing hoodies.") It's going to take some time to do any of these things. I'm not going to be able to run a 5K overnight, I'm not suddenly going to be able to dissolve all the sentimental feelings I have for the majority of the junk in my apartment, I'm not going to be the perfect version of myself that I keep picturing. But what I guess I can do is slowly start trying to get better and we'll start right away (which conveniently happens to be a new year) and maybe by this time next year I'll be writing a post about how I kicked ass instead of how I'm overwhelmed by my life and the fact that I'm pretty certain I'm wasting it by not knowing what to do with it.

And by God, I intend to welcome this blank slate while wearing something sparkly and holding a glass of champagne. Because if there's anything I do know about life, it's that everything is better when there is some sparkle.


Kelly L said...

I've tweeted before about the movement to ASPIRE and ACHIEVE GOALS and LIVE WITH INTENTION, and basically, it's all overwhelming. I don't know about you, but part of my life plan is to not live with the pressure to define my life's path. I'd like to just BE and see where the wind takes me. Sure, I have short and long-term goals, but they are not so lofty or out-of-reach so that I should feel a failure if I cannot: quit my job and travel for a living / run 25 marathons in 25 different states / live debt free forever and ever amen. Basically, I think we should just be a little less hard on ourselves and have fun. Isn't that the point of life?!

So give yourself a hug and let yourself off the hook. You're amazing.

Kelly L said...

<3 <3 <3 <3
Also: I couldn't agree more. Can't we just *BE*?