8:30 a.m., January 1
I woke up around my usual time, the result of the relentless internal alarm clock. I used to sleep in whenever the alarm clock was blissfully unemployed, but years of waking at the same time seem to have taken their toll, and despite going to sleep after midnight, I was awake by six.
(The Kid has never been an early riser—can’t blame it on him.)
Sitting on the couch, my legs under The Kid’s new burrito blanket (literally a blanket that looks like a tortilla), one of the dogs asleep next to me on the couch. The other dog, The Climbing Daddy, and The Kid still asleep.
I’m both envious of their sleep and grateful for time to myself in a quiet house.
Most calendar milestones have never held a lot of sway for me. Birthdays are fun but the age is irrelevant (except 17, when I could get my drivers license).
Birthday, cancer-related milestones, and the beginning of the new year all offer me an excuse to be reflective (though there are certainly prompts many days that offer the same opportunity). The time around January 1 offers me a socially-acceptable time to talk about it.
Resolutions? Nah. When I want to make a change, I either start right away, or I wait until I’m ready, but the date has nothing to do with readiness.
All that said, this year is different than most. I resigned my teaching position due to COVID concerns, so on Monday, I don’t have a job to go to.
But I do have a book to edit.
Perhaps, at least for the beginning of 2021, I am a writer.
That feels weird. Not bad, just … different. Unexpected? A plot twist, if you will. It was set up beautifully, and I’m curious to see where it goes, where I go.
I know that before the end of 2021, I will have a completed book. Will I have another started? I have a lot to write about, but is any of the rest of it book material? Questions I have but don’t yet need to answer—I have enough to work on for the moment.
For 2021, I’ll also be continuing to improve my photography game. There’s a lot kicking around in my head about that as well, but it’s more muddled than the writing bits (which is good—one focus at a time). Regardless, I’ll continue to bring you along on the journey with my posts on Sundays.
I have goals for the state of the house, for relationships, for my inner state, for my habits. Those are ongoing—not new to today—and are always somewhat in a state of flux.
Except for clearing out the clutter. That is always the same, and no matter how much clutter I clear, there’s still more. I know, it means I’m not clearing out enough. Also, we have too much incoming. I’d like to think that if we hadn’t chosen to buy a relatively small house, we wouldn’t have this problem because we’d have room for all the stuff, but I know lack of space isn’t the problem—I just want it to be the problem.
Once ever in my life, or maybe ever in my adult life, I had everything put away.
Once! I met George Carlin once. I climbed a 100-foot rock face once. I moved across the country once. I gave birth once. And I put all my stuff away once.
When I moved into the condo where I lived prior to this house, I unpacked and got everything put away. Everything. Not a single little pile of “miscellaneous,” nor a box of it stuffed in a closet.
It felt so good.
I’ve gotten married more times than I’ve had every last thing in its place.
It’s hard. And with two other not-neat-freak people in the house, it’s harder.
Perhaps this will be the year of a place for everything and everything in its place. To make that happen, I need a plan. To make that viable, everyone needs to be on board with the plan. I foresee a family meeting.
Growing up, I hated family meetings. But they were only called when we were in trouble, or when we were consulted for something that generally kids shouldn’t be consulted for. The most noteworthy—my mom called a family meeting when I was in high school to ask us (my siblings and I) if my parents should get divorced.
So … there’s a little baggage that goes along with family meetings.
Back to clutter. If the house burned down, what would I replace? What is irreplaceable and worth keeping? Why can’t I just get rid of the rest? Every now and then, I get in a good frame of mind to purge and can go from five pair of scissors to two. (There’s always one pair just for cutting tape, because they end up sticky and I don’t want to deal with getting the stick off.) Most of the time, though, I can rationalize having five pairs of scissors.
The scissors, you understand, are just a placeholder in the story. It could be pens, glasses, crafting supplies, notebooks, shirts, socks without toes, winter pajamas, and on and on.
The household is waking. My quiet time is over. To that end, 2021 starts the same way 2020 ended—it’s just the next day.