The last week of the year has always been one of my favorites. As a kid I’d be off school and would play with my new toys. In high school I loved to watch the year end wrap ups on MTV, all the Best Of lists. Home from college, then in my 20’s, home from NYC, I’d love to lay low in my parents’ house. Now I try to take the week between Christmas and New Years off from work and reflect on the last 12 months, to tarry, if you will.
As a journal keeper it’s easy to flip through the year and remember all I’ve done, trips taken, struggles, triumphs, bad days, good days. I take a couple days to reread my journal for the year then I write out a recap and then set goals for the new year. As a tried and true introvert this time of reflection is my happy place. Joy sparked! I know the extroverts out there are probably thinking this sounds awful, but having a week to tarry at home is pure heaven for me.
This ritual has gotten harder to pull off as I’m more in demand as a wife and mother. When you’re a kid or a grown up who doesn’t have kids, you can say, “Everyone leave me alone!” I’ve been annoyed, frustrated and longing for the days when nobody would bother me. Why is it so wrong for me to get to stay home, read through my journals and go deep inside to reflect? Alan said, “That’s fine, but you have two kids.” I’m always being pulled in different directions.
Then it hit me! There will be a time when I get to be alone as much as I want – when I’m old. In forty years I’ll be 84 years old. My kids will be in their 40’s and hopefully busy with their lives, careers and families. Most of the people I’m running off to see now will either be gone or too sick or frail to go out anymore.
This may sound depressing or morbid but it made me snap back to what I’m always writing about. This is your life! Right now is the juicy part!
In forty years I’ll have all the alone time I ever dreamed of but right now I have little kids. I have two parents alive! I have three sisters and a brother I could go see today – a short car ride away. I can go pick up my little five year old boy who weighs about 45 pounds but if he’s anything like his dad, he’ ll be six foot five in about ten years so I won’t be able to pick him up for much longer. I’m so freaking lucky to be pulled in a million directions!
A friend of mine lost her dad this year and now has no living parents. My husband lost his brother. There are and will continue to be devastating losses all around us. Half of California burned down for chrissake! So many lost their homes. But I still say, take a look around at your life right now. There’s so much to be grateful for. We’ve still got a couple days left to wrap up 2017, take a little time (or a whole week) to reflect on all the good stuff you still have. Then pick up your pen and think about how you can improve in the the coming year.
Here’s to tarrying more in 2018!