Facing 2019 with one less thing to do.
The world watched excitedly as that glittery ball dropped and the confetti swirled magically through the air to the tune of Auld Lang Syne. In these early moments of 2019, I am left wondering three things:
- How are the young able to stand for hours in the rain – into the midnight hour – while still smiling brightly and appearing to enjoy so much revelry? Don’t their feet ache, their bladders want to burst and their weary bodies long for PJs and Netflix? There isn’t enough Purell in the world for me to show up to that show.
- Who exactly CLEANS UP the entire mess after it is all over and every one goes home from Times Square? Much ink has been spilled about the Confetti Crew that is specially trained to properly throw bucketfuls of paper (?). It should not surprise me that the real heroes – the ones who clean up after the party – remain nameless, thankless and unseen. I know a thing or two about that. After all, I am a Mom.
- Why do we insist on continuing to sing the most melancholy tune EVER at precisely the end – which is technically the beginning – of a brand new sparkling year? Do you know the actual lyrics? Don’t bother googling them. I just did and they shed absolutely no light whatsoever.
Needless to say, Ms. Cranky-Pants McGee over here had no big plans to usher in the New Year in style. Instead, we enjoyed some quiet family time, a night at the movies in sweatpants and then homemade vegetable stew, mugs of cinnamon tea and ginger cookies by a cozy, crackling fire. Perfectly low-key.
At this moment in my mid-life, it is apparent to me that the hassle of fighting boisterous crowds, loud music, overpriced drinks and horrible traffic far outweighs the benefits that it may offer. Since treatment, my world has gotten smaller. A close friend of mine, in her mid-eighties, corrects me when I say this: “No my dear, your world has NOT gotten ‘smaller’…. It has gotten deeper, richer, more meaningful.” But I still think that it may have gotten a tad “crankier”.
At the risk of sounding crotchety and out of touch, I sometimes get the feeling that Generation Facebook goes through the motions of life in order to take that selfie, post that experience, get that reinforcing feedback, and then check that item (finally!) off their life list. It seems exhausting. Like a twisted scavenger hunt gone very, very wrong. Who created the expectation that every experience now has to be the biggest, best-Est and most fun experience EVER? It is insanity. As I myself am a life-long sufferer and innocent victim of the FOMO effect (the much more evil twin of the butterfly effect), I have decided to tackle “event envy” head-on this year. How? By bowing out completely.
Instead of enlisting – yet again – one of the typical, over-used, annual New Year’s Resolutions that don’t last a beat, such as: joining the gym, taking the stairs, losing weight, limiting screen time before bed and not being utterly obsessed with the genius of Ira Glass (wait, is that last one just me?), I have decided to revolt and commit to several non-resolutions for this New Year of 2019:
- I will say “no thanks” more often. Convincing myself that something is the “right thing to do” when I know in my heart that it will not bring me joy, good health or any meaningful fulfillment is nonsensical. Life is too short for that kind of faulty logic.
- I will make “Love You-But Love Me More” my new mantra. That does not mean that I will love others any less. It just means that if we are doling out precious servings of self-care, self-nurturing and self-worth, I will offer myself a heaping helpful before giving it all away to others. Kind of like the oxygen mask on airplane deal.
- I will let go of the nagging feeling that I “should” be doing something other than what I am currently enjoying in that moment. I want to discover that “guilty pleasure” is not the only way that pleasure is served up. I understand that this realization might take all the fun out of it, but I’m willing to take that risk.
In the comments section of my last post, Mary raised a poignant query: “Anyone with clues on how to be so free of guilt let me know.” Yikes. How to free ourselves of guilt? That’s a tall order and a gob smacking question indeed, Mary. Maybe it is time to simply let ourselves off the hook and put ourselves first. When we appreciate that our time is precious and our energy reserves are limited, we have to see ourselves as a cell phone battery with only so much charge to give the world. Plugging ourselves into what reboots, refills and refreshes our own browser of life is what counts most right now. It is not being selfish to be self-serving. With this disease, it is practicing healthy self-preservation. Happy New Year to all my fellow friends on Planet Cancer. I wish you a world of wellness on your journey and a year overflowing with clarity, compassion and peace. May you enjoy many confetti-free moments bursting with small joys and the simplest of quiet pleasures.