Friday, December 31, 2010

Year in, year out

So, today is The Big Day, New Year’s Eve, and tradition dictates that I am suppose to reflect on the previous year and list resolutions for the coming year. However, I extremely dislike the term “resolution” it sounds so cliché, plus it just means that the gym is going to be crowded for the next month. In years past the California Stars household made goals, SMART goals, according to business-savvy J, but this year I am finding no motivation and a lack of inspiration to write any such goals.

I rather like the idea of setting aside time to review and reflect, in fact the past few years we have spent long car rides on I-5 mulling over the previous year and discussing personal, professional and family goals for the New Year. However, this year, I cannot find any motivation. Perhaps it’s a lack of time or a reflection of my overall severely lacking holiday spirit. But, on our recent road trip to Santa Barbara, my only ideas for 2011 goals were to be hipper and to read more American Literature, which are definitely not specific, measurable, attainable, realistic or tangible.

This year past was the year which brought new babies, new friends, new jobs, graduations and some travels. It was the year I established myself as a mother. It was the year which I developed new priorities. It was the year which I developed many new skills and talents, like changing diapers, laundry guru, one-handed cooking. But, mostly, I will remember 2010 as the year my daughter was born. I spent the first several months of this year consumed by her: preparing, waiting, laundry, diapers, poop, nursing, napping, and of course, cuddling. And while, she was the focal of my world this year, and brought about many smiles and laughs, I have also had to deal with many tears and sadness. New words and phrases have been added to my vocabulary this year, including cancer, chemotherapy, and metastasis status and survival rate. In fact, February was the month which essentially rocked my world and one that will forever stay etched in my memory.

While this year I am unable to articulate goals for the upcoming New Year, one thing I am going to try very hard is to keep things in perspective. My days of exhaustion, or the weeks deadlines abound are just that. I am thankful for the work that keeps me busy, the baby that makes me exhausted, and life that continues to surprise me. Life isn’t expected to always be rosy, and we encounter bumps and bruises, along the way, but they are just that. I am going to remember to take deep breaths, be my best self, drink more water, and dance a little more often. I want to take long walks, read my Bible, and just sit down and play. And, of course, be hipper, and look!, I’m almost there, as apparent with my new sunglasses, obtained in San Barbara:


So, happy New Year Internet. Cheers to 2011!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

And we danced anyways

The pub was packed, patrons spilling out into the square off Geary Street, and it was raining. Not the normal drizzly rain that is typical of Ireland in the spring, but solid raindrops that splatter when they hit the sidewalk. I can hardly remember the pub name, or who was with us, but I do remember we danced. The music was barely heard over the rumble of the people milling about, we were on a crowded street, the rain pelting our faces, and we danced. Oh, how we danced. I was with a new friend I had just met, rather my parents forced an introduction, and we had just come back from the Aran Island of Inishmore off the coast of Galway. We were parting ways in the morning, this being our only night together in the big city of Dublin. We started off with a big group, pub crawling, but somehow we lost our group in the mess of people and crowds, finally deciding to abandon the pub crawl idea. Instead, we started dancing, the kind of dancing where you put your arms out and spin around and around and around. You twirl and dip and kiss and hug and kick your feet up and above all, laugh. The exhilaration from dancing in the rain, under the stars, in a foreign place was the purest sense of freedom I’ve ever had.

I have always been overly cautious. I look before I barely jump. I guard my heart, worry about what others think, and am always, practical, diligent and sensible. But, for some reason, this particular weekend, I did not care: I leaped, and danced, and laughed like a complete fool, and I felt free. Of course, in the end I did get hurt, but that one night when I let my heart open and danced in the rain, feeling each drop tickle my skin, running down my face, splashing in the puddles, and not caring what anybody else saw.

Now, rainy days remind me of that perfect freeing moment. That one moment when I wore my emotions on my sleeve, threw caution to the wind, and felt every rain drop.

These days, my life is practical and sensible. I guess that’s what happens when you live with a nearly 10-month old, and hold down two part-time jobs. And while my girl is a happy baby, I see glimpses of her personality emerging. She seems to be careful, always calculating her next move: not pulling herself up unless she has a surefire way to sit back down. While, this can be an admirable trait, I want her to be able to throw caution to the wind as well, leap, and take chances. After all, those can often bring us the greatest life lessons or perfect moments. So yesterday, in the pouring rain, I opened the windows, turned on iTunes, and donning our goulashes and raincoats, laughing and singing, we just let go. And on our driveway we danced anyways.