It’s just Monday

It was 1.1.11.

The first day of a new decade, all shiny, all ones, all the promise of a big, brave, beautiful new year stretched out before us.

It was the reboot, the fresh start, the alpha to 12/31/10’s omega. It was hope, objectified. It was intention, projected.

Or, you know, it was what we called it the week before:

Saturday.

***

One of the reasons I decided, finally, to opt out of the Race for the New Year in December of 2009 was because of the pressure. So much pressure to get it right, to start out right, to not screw up this fresh chance to not screw up. Instead, I decided to roll with December in January.

It turned out to be one of the smarter moves I’ve made, but not for the reason I thought. Yes, there was less stress, not compounding a searching moral inventory with the demands of a holiday. My god, have you experienced a holiday recently? By which I mean “have you endured one?” BAH. And humbug.

I haven’t really even celebrated the holidays since my split with the Youngster back in ’02, and I find them off-the-charts stressful by osmosis. The world gone mad, right up in my airspace. And my left-turn lane. And everywhere else on the roads, in the stores, at the bank, and the etcetera.

No, the big “win” I got from pushing everything off for a month, and then five, six, seven weeks before locking down the program for the upcoming 52, was realizing that I could do it. That I was the boss of me, not some calendar established by a powerful pointy-hat-wearing patriarch four and a half centuries ago. To catch a plane, to make a meeting, to honor a birthday in a timely fashion, yes, I will adhere to the almighty calendar; to determine my present and future well-being? No way, Pope José.

***

I quit smoking on a Thursday in September over 20 years ago.* I started this blog on a Monday in November over six years ago.

I have done everything that changed my life for the better on a day.

On the other hand, I have done plenty of things that went absolutely nowhere on a day. You never know what will come of a day, and what will not. Sometimes you stick a flag in a hill and things work out; sometimes, not. But most of the time, it is the picking, not the day.

What I know now is that today is as good a day as any to start something. And that no day is a good day to stop without intent. Opt in or opt out, but opt. Pick a hill. Start pushing. It’s as good a day as any.

***

Then again, sometimes the thing picks you.

My ex-boyfriend told me that one day a voice in his head told him, “Get a dog.” And he did, and the dog was Arnie, and it was good.

And yesterday, on my morning walk, a perfect one-word theme for the year floated by: SHIP.**  I have never picked a one-word theme for the year, although reading about it has piqued my interest. Many years ago, I would have sweated and fretted my way to a one-word theme, with the probable result of it not fitting, not working. Finally, I am learning a thing or two about ease. And about how other people’s “instructions” are of far, far less use to you (or me) than their stories. No two paths are the same. No two interesting ones, anyway.

***

So. It’s just Monday. What are you up to today?

xxx
c

*Thursday, September 17, 1987. This is one reason why I will never, ever throw out my journals, they are my outboard brain.

**Seth has been talking about this for months, for years; I’ve been resolving to do it for almost as long, at least since I talked it over with him at this time last year. Oh, the plans I had for 2010! The resolve! The three books on the docket! Of course, I still have them. Only on a much longer, far more sensible docket. Although there’s still the outside possibility that I could get three books in some ship-able state by the third week of February. But I wouldn’t take that bet.

Photo by Evil Erin via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license. And yeah, “Bench Monday” is a thing..

25 comments

  1. Hi. I like this. I like to keep my journals too. What do you want to have happen to them when you die? This is something I have wondered about. Do I want my kids to read them? Do I want to edit them first? :) I don’t know.

    I’m interested in your thoughts on this.
    Happy Monday.

    1. If it looks like they will be of any use to anyone, I suppose I’d have them held for 50 years, then donated. I have always appreciated reading the letters and journals of writers and artists—even the more datebook-y ones. I am still vibrating from the five minutes I spent staring at Ed Ruscha’s sketchbooks some 8 years ago.

      Otherwise, I’ll leave a note to send them to the recycling bin.

      If I had kids, I don’t know. Probably the same thing, but with longer times—100 years? Will anything still be standing then? Will people even know how to read? (Pardon my grimness. It’s raining.)

  2. It’s amazing how unfathomably huge your plans magically show themselves to be when you write them down. Yesterday, I was writing down just the ones that were reasonable and important and MUST be done (to share with my staff, because apparently they can’t read my mind…heh), and there ended up being eight of them. Each with its own set of goals and action steps. The outline alone took up a page and a half. And here I was thinking I was “reasonable”.

    I’m glad I wrote them down, though. Because now I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have nothing more to say yes to, which is freeing in a different sort of way.

    Here’s to sticking the flag in a hill…on a regular old Monday, no less. :)

    1. Very true. I’m still not so good at this, but I figure that by the time I’m dead (provided I have a good, long time yet), I should be able to plan a *reasonable* day.

      On the bright side, how wonderful that your plate is so full with work! Not that I’m surprised—you rock. Sarah ROCKS, everyone!

      Happy flag-sticking day, if this happens to be a day you do it, one and all!

      1. This is so smart, Sarah! I too have this long list of things I want to do every day, and never manage, and then I beat myself up over it. When the reality is that I’m making my list far too long! Silly.

  3. i love this post, ’cause it’s so damn true. i started my first blog on a Labor Day…because i was bored…and probably feeling a little diminished because i wasn’t doing whatever Americans are supposed to do to celebrate…Labor. i had a big AHA! moment last week where i finally owned up (to myself) that as much as i savor certain rituals, i loathe schedules. this is the year where i stop trying to fit myself into other people’s memes…and just be me.

    1. Amen. I still feel the tug, but it’s just the tiniest bit easier to ignore. And as numerous very smart people have pointed out to me, you can *feel* something and still not *act* on it.

      Imagine!

      Here’s to more glorious randomness, both productive and unproductive.

  4. Enjoyed this post – aligns with so many of the thoughts and quotes I use as guideposts in my unfolding journey. One you might like:

    “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.” (Chinese proverb, I think)

    1. Well, of course I wrote down this very quote in my morning pages yesterday. Yesterday!

      We are all part of this big, crazy, neuro-electric soup, whether we know it or not. But it’s fun to bump into another noodle.

      Oh—and thanks for clarifying the quote. I had mangled it to bits. Something about “yesterday” and “do something”—you’re not supposed to stop and use the Google in morning pages.

  5. Colleen, thanks so much for providing my word of the year.
    I’d been thinking about “completion” (too much like death, it’s all over) and “fulfillment” (too much like a contract) and “just finish it for God’s sake!” which is more than one word and has unfriendly overtones.
    But ship? Ship is perfect. So ship it is.
    Thanks again. And best of luck to you in your shipping.

  6. Great post! I have a box of my journals that I would be horrified to know that anyone else had read them! Seth talks about shipping, and I bought his little ship it books, yet what does a therapist ship? I’m working on that!

    1. Dunno. There’s something…something! (RE: the “Ship It” books, they felt to me more like they were made for teams at big corporations. I released mine back into the stream.)

  7. I was at a meeting once, and we were talking about journaling. Writing things down.

    A buddy raised his hand and said, “When my wife and I disagree or argue, I’ve gotten pretty good at calling time out…especially when I’m not sure about what to say to her. Then I write it down.

    “I find it harder to tell lies when I write things down.”

  8. Speaking of quotes — thanks, Colleen!

    “We are all part of this big, crazy, neuro-electric soup, whether we know it or not. But it’s fun to bump into another noodle.”

    I’m looking forward to more December-in-January, it feels better to me too.

    Doug, I like yours, too.
    ” ‘I find it harder to tell lies when I write things down.’ ”

    I want my version to read “I find it harder to tell lies to myself when I write things down.”

  9. When I saw the word “ship” – I immediately thought of “cruise ship”. =) Just a thought on this just Monday.

    Yup, I used to have much reflection and goal setting done every December. Now, I start new goals on ANY day, so I no longer worry about doing it in Decembers.

    1. Amazing freedom, starting stuff whenever.

      That said, I do like to do a backwards/forwards once a year. The goal-setting might be the excuse for it, but as long as the goals are helping, why not keep it up?

      And if I was ever inclined to board a real ship, David Foster Wallace’s Harper’s essay killed that notion.

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