January 15, 2018

january me

I was wrapping up a meeting for the day job last week. It was on the eve of a winter storm front that had been hyped up as being a thick coat of ice followed by up to six inches of snow overnight and into the next morning rush hour. Even though I was probably jinxing myself, I had visions of snow days running through my head. I'd sleep in past my usual 5:30 wake time. I'd binge-watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I'd even pour the last of my holiday Bailey's into my coffee. I wouldn't worry about the troubles I'm having with my book. I wouldn't check my work email. I'd just be, because that's what snow days are about. They're free days. A chance to just live.

While I'm mentally planning a pretty spectacular day, my colleague was cringing thinking about the huge drop in temperature that would be coming overnight. (I suppose I forgot to mention, it was 50 degrees outside during this meeting, and the forecast called for a drop to below zero within 12 hours. All the more reason to stay inside in my mind.)

"I hate January," he said.

I began to agree with him, but froze. He had a point, January in Nebraska can be rough weather-wise, especially if you don't have the promise of a snow day. It makes getting around difficult and uncomfortable. That's not so fun. But I don't hate Januarys.

"I actually like January."

This earned an eyebrow raise. "You like the cold."

"No, not really. It's complicated." I paused again, trying to figure out exactly how to put it. "I like who I am in January."

Forever a dreamer and a New Year's Resolution-maker and goal-setter, January means a fresh beginning for me. I'm somehow able to mentally shake off the blues from the year before and declare that this will be my year. I envision my best life, and I try to live it.

I try new recipes. Already this month I've tried six or seven new-to-me dishes; recipes I've saved during the past year, but never come around to making.

I read. Half-way into January, and I'm through three books. That's not a personal best, but it's a lot better than I did much of last year and the year before and the year before.

I stay philosophical about my writing progress (or in most cases, lack of writing). I remind myself that even if I'm not logging big word counts, I will. And it will all come together.

I drink more water. This year I'm also more than three months off of drinking diet soda and moderating my general caffeine intake.

I make time for what I enjoy. I have dinner and lunch with friends. I go see and rent movies. Add in that this year I'm doing an average of 30 minutes of cardio every day on top of monitoring what I'm eating, and I'm feeling pretty amazing.

It's not perfect. I still get crabby if I don't sleep. I still get colds. I still run out of patience. But I rebound from my mistakes more quickly and make amends. I left the house wearing slippers a week ago and had to turn back. Instead of berating myself for being an idiot or clueless, I laughed and said, "Well, at least I can keep myself humble."

Something happens to me later in the year. I lose track of my goals and dreams. I lose my hope and belief that things will work out. I stop taking care of myself, and I don't feel happy. I can't pinpoint the exact moment this happens or why or how. But it does.

I love who I am in January. Maybe now that I've realized that, I can remember it in April or June or October when I'm feeling panicked about something that's really not the end of the world.

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