Happy New Year!
We celebrated in traditional parenting style, by staying home in our slippers. The boys ate chicken fingers and hashbrowns and after the ketchup had been wiped from their fingers and cheeks and hair, the crumbs swept, the stories read and lullabies sang, their little tired bodies plopped into bed, not even 8 o clock and already dreaming. A couple friends came over and we sat around the living room discussing our Enneagram numbers (4 for the girls, 8 for the guys), passing the goat cheese, dunking potato bread in vinaigrette and licking the oil from our fingers.
It was altogether normal and not at all extraordinary but it was entirely lovely. Because I like these people, and I like the way new friendships are burrowing their way into my heart. Changing me, challenging me, teaching me. Even though life together can be messy and frustrating at times, it can also be enriching and so very encouraging. I’m into that, and I’m learning to take it all, the good, the bad and the ugly. We’re worth it, you and me. That’s why we keep showing up for each other, we keep listening even if we’ve heard the story 50 times, we keep on caring. And we keep replenishing the goat cheese.
I have no New Years goals to list off today, no resolutions to boast of. For me it’s all about more happiness, more joy, more love. I’m forever searching for beauty. This is just life as an enneagram 4, I suppose. I want this year to be one of increasing inspiration (the library holds are never-ending, as are the fines). I want to do more of the things that make me feel alive, that shake me up a little. It’s going to take bravery on my part, to step outside of comfort and self-doubt and into adventure. To say good-bye to safety and guarantees, to welcome the new.
How does one do this, I wonder? To bring inspiration and vitality into everyday life, when life is so consumed with mothering and marriage and friendships to tend to, laundry to fold, groceries to buy…you know the stuff. The challenge lately has been one of balance, though I know better than to think that perfect evenness is the goal. Equality across all things in my life is impossible. I want to be an involved mom, a supportive wife, a dreamer, a maker, and so many other things, and this is why it just isn’t feasible to give the same amount of energy or focus or presence to everything. There isn’t enough of me to go around.
Priorities. What are they in each moment? What can I compromise in honour of those I love and what should I hold on to, dearly, like precious treasure. What needs to change for just a season, what needs to change forever? Sometimes the writing will be the thing. Other times the untangling of knots in relationships. And then the nourishment of my family. The tricky task is to bring awareness to my ever-changing life. To not judge or criticize the state of where I am, but to have acceptance and compassion. To have the wisdom to know what needs to remain in the juggling act, and what needs to be dropped.
Ahh, it’s quite a task. Why do some people make it look so easy?
It’s a lifetime of work, I’m sure, to learn the dance that is your life. I find myself gazing, longingly, at the seagulls who I’ve loved watching ever since I was a little girl. I’d stand on the rocky beach at my grandmother’s house, bare-legged and sun burnt, as they soared overhead in an effortless ride on the wind. It’s their grace and ease I find beautiful. When I so often feel stuck or overwhelmed, frozen in contemplation and indecision, they fly free. I try so hard to do all the things I deem important — raising kids with good character and strong morals, creating a healthy marriage, pursuing faith, investing in myself — yet one moment I’m flying the next I’m flat on my face.
I wonder if it is possible to glide as freely as the seagulls do, here on earth. For the complicated dance of life to be known so intrinsically that you move perfectly in time with the music, in rhythm with the dancers around you so that no one’s toes are stepped on, and everyone has the closeness they need, the space they need, to make it all work.
What will it take to learn the steps, the rhythm, of your song? Right now I’m just trying to hear the music. It comes in faint, I strain my ear to hear and then other noises of life crash in, lovely as they often are my music fades to the background. I want this year to be one where the music, my music, grows a little louder. Gives a little more lift to these wings that want to fly. I’m so eager to just get off the ground.
One of the smartest quotes I’ve heard about creativity went something like this: One of the main reasons we create and make art is to inspire other artists to make art. When my heart wants to feel something, something powerful, I usually turn to specific songs. Here are the voices that are satisfying that hunger for me, and inspiring me to go and make something beautiful too:
I Can’t Make You Love Me/Nick of Time – Bon Iver
Piece by Piece (Idol Version) – Kelly Clarkson
Perfect Duet – Ed Sheeran (with Beyonce)
Young and Beautiful (Orchestral Version) – Lana Del Rey
Dust to Dust – The Civil Wars
All of Me – John Legend
True Colours – Tom Odell
Chandelier (Piano Version) – Sia
Stay – Rihanna (feat. Mikky Ekko)
Suggestions of others I’m growing to love:
Michigan – The Milk Carton Kids
Big Black Car – Gregory Alan Isakov
What would you add to this list?
Here’s to a year of more making, more dancing, and more being together.