So, it’s a new year- 2023, I say to Theo, and he looks up from his phone with a slightly worried look on his face. I interpret this to mean – ‘That’s what we celebrated last night, until 2 am…’ As if he is worried I might have forgotten this, or why otherwise would I state the obvious?
Last year at the end of January I wrote a long list of things I was going to do this year, and as a result two things happened: 1. I got into an enormous writer’s block from trying too hard to be so different from who I really am, and 2. then life got in the way – see my post from October – well, I mean, Dad died. I have two of his pictures above the cabinet in our living room, along with Theo’s mom’s picture (she died two years ago in March), near Laura’s picture (she died on January 3rd last year) and a whole bunch of cheerful Xmas and Happy New Year cards we received this month.
A few words about Dad
The funny thing about Dad’s pictures is that he’s smiling in both of them. That wasn’t a look he always had. Sometimes he was smiling, but then just as quickly he could turn serious, angry and quite often – vicious. It’s not that he wanted to be like that. He wanted to be loved, just like the rest of us. But he didn’t always know how to make that happen. More often, he pushed people away, until only his core family was left.
And about me, and about Dad
But I didn’t set out to write about Dad. Although he’d be overjoyed to get all the attention, I’m sure. Any room he was in, he needed to be in the center of the conversation, voicing his opinions, provoking us all into an argument then explaining in his overbearing way how wrong we were. Sorry Dad, now it’s about me. I remember a few years ago, they sent me, as per usual, a gift card for my birthday, and I bought a book about Self Compassion. And when I told him – he raised his bushy eyebrows and asked me – Why do you need that? BECAUSE OF YOU, I wanted to shout back. I learned to listen to you, to obey, be the good girl, and that has taken a toll on my own self compassion. But of course I dared not say that – since he trained me so well. Instead I mumbled something about a good friend recommending it to me…
New Year’s Resolutions – reimagined
It’s a new year. Yesterday I meditated with my favorite Tamara Levitt from the Calm app. Not to increase my self-compassion, not because I ‘should’ meditate, not because it’s part of my daily routine (I don’t really have one), but just because I could. And Tamara had a good idea: (I wonder if she writes the scripts at the end of each meditation?- Yes, turns out she does!) She said – perhaps instead of choosing what we want to achieve this year – could it be an idea to choose who/ what we want to ‘be’ this year?
Who will I become this year?
I want to be the person who prioritizes herself this year. Who is focused and concentrated on doing/ being what I want, and afterwards focusing on the people around me, instead of my usual ‘mothering/people pleasing’ way of being in the world. I’m still a mother, a wife, a good friend, and I hope I do that well enough. But time is tick tick ticking and I want to focus on my stuff, my wishes, me, me, me.
A little convo with me….
Even as I write it – it sounds horrible. Am I so narcissistic? How can I even think this, let alone write it down for the world to read? (World? Ok, a few friends…).
Stop being so selfish, you little…
Shhhh… shhhhh…. There’s a reason behind the madness.
What reason could you possibly have to stop caring about everyone who needs you?
No, I didn’t say that.
Sure sounds like that.
But that’s not what I said. And not what I meant. Of course, I’ll still care about the people around me – partially (don’t use my words against me now!) because I need them just as much as they need me. As an extrovert at heart who behaves often like an introvert – I love to have people around me. They recharge me. I am eternally grateful that the universe conspired to let me have my kids and Theo in my life, to have put great friends around me – deep, funny people, who also care about me and the world around them. So, no, I don’t want to lose any of these people.
To let me focus on what I need and want at any given moment. And sometimes that’s time alone, time with my laptop…
Yes, like now.
Oh you mean, now like when Theo was sitting and eating his Oliebol and drinking tea and you thought – oh, Audrey, you should eat something little too now, to keep him company, and have a little conversation, and see how he’s doing, and hear any thoughts he might want to share…
And what did you do, instead?
I did sit with him, eventually, but first I watered the plants, and I checked with myself if I was hungry – nope. So I didn’t eat anything. As I was watering the plants I started to think about writing. I suddenly wanted desperately to write. The dam has been closed for a long time, so if it’s open, I have go with the flow. I told Theo I was going to write.
So, what did he say?
‘Oh, that’s nice’. And he kept himself busy while I sat down at the dining room table, opposite him, opened up my laptop and began to write. And eventually he went upstairs to play some music in his music room.
Yes! And here I am, writing. Focusing on me. But again, there’s another reason I want to focus on me this year. Be aware of what I need and want – (and writing is a big part of that)…
Well, you know I’ve been working on my book, The Fourth Baby…?
Oh my God, that thing? When will you ever finish it already?
Exactly. I’ll finish it when I prioritize it.
And that is what I am doing. And have been doing – especially the last month or so. I want to maintain that focus. And when it’s finally done…
When will that be?
I don’t know exactly. I’m working on the revision part now – it’s a process – but I’m doing it differently – taking a course, with a small but dedicated team who are also busy with their books (and their lives), and after that it has to get published somehow… Universe – you can start helping me there…
Sounds like it’s still a long way to go.
Yup, but I’m on the way! I’m excited and not dreading it – at least for now. And when it’s done – my friends can read it finally! And who knows, it might make them feel something – a tear fall, a heart may open, they might think about the world for a moment… and then I’ll have done what I set out to do!
And then what?
Then I’ll write another book 🙂
Dear Readers – thank you for joining me – as part of the conversation – no writer writes in a void – no tree falls without a sound – I personally write in order to be read. (This is a hint – please do leave comments!) And okay, I also write because it’s an urge, but mostly so someone will read it – relate to it, and who knows, perhaps create their own unique something in the world.
What’s your New Year’s resolution this year?
PS. Oh, and do you want to read an excerpt from my book? Let me know in the comments!