It's 1:13am on January 1, 2021 - and seemingly nothing is different.
I'm not sure what all the big hullabaloo was about.
Yea, 2020's over! Welcome 2021! Woo hoo! So we woo hoo'd. But the clock didn't care.
What does a clock care?
Can a clock cure a pandemic? A fractured societal infrastructure? A polarized "United" States? A family? A livelihood? A well-being? An emotional state? A bank account? A child's schooling? UPS delivery? My WiFi?
Last time I checked - at 1:22am - a clock could not. It could just tell me what time it was.
The reaction to that time was up to me.
So, I'm writing.
Mike is sleeping (God love him) among two big dogs and a puppy. All five of our combined children are with their other parents for this holiday, and we missed the New Year's midnight celebration by four minutes because we were watching the season finale of Season 2 of "Yellowstone" and lost track of time like one does while binge-watching a show.
I look at the clock now, and I've begun to cry. Don't feel sorry for me. My mom used to call this a "good cry". Crying is cathartic. Crying is the shedding of an emotional state. And Michigan is an emotional state. Plus the other 49 (give or take since I last watched the news).
So what emotions am I shedding?
I miss my kids -- this is always #1, but putting "Yellowstone" first was funnier
My friend, a mother of two, just lost her job
I'm sad that 2020 was not what I had planned - but hey, if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans
Things I can't write about
I don't like to recall too much about #5 or it would trigger some Post Traumatic Stress. But, as Dr. O has coached me, we call it Post Traumatic Growth. Which is how my new website came about.
And that's how our lives are transitioning from 2020 into 2021 as well: from stress to growth.
But when, exactly?
A clock does not care.
It's 1:29 am.
I put on Mike's big work boots, untied, and trudge out to the dock. His heavy boots crunch the frosty snow, my arms wrap around me as if they know I'm both cold and in need of a hug.
The are no clocks out here. Unless you count astronomy. I like Cassiopeia the best (the shape not the story).
It's stunningly quiet. I stare at the varied constellations.
And I think.
Maybe too much. But that's what writers do. We think too much and we feel too much. So writing is a lot like a "good cry" where we shed our emotions. Except instead of tissues we use type.
Because if we feel things, other people feel them, too. So why not share ourselves with one another? Why else are we here?
I'll share my writing if you share your tissues, okay? That's the deal I make with my students.
My job is to teach.
But my life's calling is to write.
It always baffles me when people ask, "So, what do you do?"
Like a job defines our souls.
Why not ask, "So, who are you?" But even then most people reply with their names and job titles.
"Who are you?"
"I'm Jane Doe. I'm a paralegal."
That's basically an abbreviated resume. And that's not tissue-worthy.
Why do we do that?
Maybe because it takes time to figure out who we are. It takes time to progress from stress to growth.
It takes time. But a clock does not care about time. Unless he's Cogsworth from "Beauty and the Beast". How cute is he? I'm buying one for my desk.
What do you care about this year? How will you progress from stress to growth?
I care that I write.
Except not about #5. I can't write about #5. Even though we both want us to.
Sometimes I feel that I think too much, and sometimes I think that I feel too much.
And that sentence was written that way for a reason: because I am a writer.
I've known this since I unplugged and lugged my dad's Smith Corona typewriter up to my bedroom, cord dragging behind me, when I was in grade school (he's a writer at heart, too). Since I cried when my third grade teacher made me re-write a paper because I printed it instead of writing it in cursive. Since I saw my name in printed by-lines at newspapers and then on websites. And then on my own website.
I'm not bragging because I'm not that great of a writer. Though most writers don't become great until they're dead, and I don't want to die just yet. I want to make good use of my time.
Thinking about the app Tik Tok? Now think about why it's called that.
(*Insert pause to think here ___________________________________________________.*)
I'm going to bed now, but I'm not going to look at the clock.
Okay, I'm up again, and my online banking has gone to shit and I'm throwing a fit like a teenager who can't find her AirPods.
My mortgage payment bounced.
2021, we're off to a good start. C'mon, I even woo hoo'd like Mr. Morrison at Troy High School.
It's all fixed and fine now. Just an online glitch.
You know how it goes: hours on the phone with scripted "people", punching numbers, yelling yes's and no's into the bottom of the phone like we do with people who don't speak English. And that damn elevator music. I'm not on an elevator, I'm on the phone! At least Apple Support gives a choice.
And thinking about my mortgage got me thinking how heavily I miss my kids during this part of the holiday stretch.
I was trying to explain all of this to Mike. Tissue in hand. Okay, hand as tissue.
The first day I dropped my two middle-schoolers off back in September of 2020, my son didn't have any anxiety because his big sister had prepped him well and walked in with him. Well, she walked ahead of him. Leading him.
This was something I had not seen in two years. My two kids walking into the same building. My cool, confident 8th grade girl walking just a few steps ahead of my 6th grade faux-confident boy. His head slightly down, his eyes following her shoes, her steps. Her head turning back every so often to make sure he was.
It gave me pause. It gave me reason to park in an undesignated spot. It gave me reason to grab another tissue. It gave me reason to run late for work.
It gave me reason.
And I did not care about the clock.
2020 took a lot away, but it gave me that moment. And it gave that one sheriff the opportunity to wave at me, in that undesignated spot, instead of writing me a ticket.
It also gave most of us more time to be together - for better and for worse. Like an old married couple, which my two kids sometimes act like.
They know each other well enough for them to anticipate one's vulnerabilities and needs to help out; but yet just enough to know one's idiosyncratic buttons to push when they feel like pushing them.
And the button they push is not the "Easy Button".
It's 2021, but that hasn't been invented yet. I'm sure Elon Musk or Siri or Alexa or somebody is working on it.
So far, Frankie's snore is the same. The news is the same. The clock's tick tock is the same.
But one major thing for me is different this year: I'm NOT making any resolutions. Yes, of course, I understand that is a resolution in and of itself. But this is my blog, and I don't care.
So I'm making an UNRESOLUTION.
Or technically an "irresolution", but I like the UN better - it sounds like a close-mouthed groan from a teenager who can't find her AirPods or a frustrated mother on hold with elevator music.
And 2020, we've got some UNresolved business.
Like the end of Season 2 of "Yellowstone" and the beginning of Season 3 of "Cobra Kai".
So much unfinished business.
@thelashloungerochesterhills @voula_at_figo @turtlefur @joshhartmanphotography
New Year's Resolutions? Ha.
According to THE GOOGLE, it means: "a firm decision to do or not to do something".
What's firm these days? A James Patterson novel? A Tom Cruise movie? My tofu preference?
Should we really be firm about anything?
I don't like the word "firm".
There's no w~i~g~g~l~e worm.
You're either here OR there.
You're either with them OR with them.
You're either this OR that.
Take a look around! It's 2021!
That's not how people work. That's not how humanity should work. In fact, it makes it UNwork.
I will no longer stand firm on anything. I will allow for wiggle room. I will try soft tofu.
I will allow for greige.
In fact, the new color for our family/living room walls @m22_aframeonthebay is called "Drift of Mist". Not gray. Not beige. Not firm on one or the other.
It promises two or more things fluidly. It's transitional.
It's not firm.
It's just a drift of mist.
Maybe we should all rename our family/living rooms "wiggle rooms". Because, after-all, that's where most of the wiggling takes place (sans master bedrooms).
Oh, by the way, it's January 2nd at 11:36am. The clock doesn't care, but it makes me care. About irresolution. About greige. About wiggle room.
I'll cheers to that.
*Last blog revision January 3rd, 10:20am - in case you kept track of the time.