At the time of this posting, it is T minus 7.5 hours until the start of the New Year on the Gregorian calendar. At exactly midnight, we ring in the year 2016. Most of us do this with great fanfare, some of us stay comfortable at home in pajamas with a champagne toast as the clock chimes, and others of us sleep right through the event. I have done all of these – I even wore a tiara last year because I had never done so before, and in case you don’t know, they are uncomfortable. This year I am shooting down the middle again, watching the year change from the comfort of my sofa across a coffee table laden with snacks and a few holiday gifts that I have yet to put away because:
- Seeing them makes it feel like the holidays are still ongoing;
- They remind me of the thoughtfulness of others;
- I have lost my ability to worry about tucking everything neatly into an assigned drawer, closet, shelf or box;
- All of the above.
While it is customary to make New Year’s resolutions to create new habits, reform unhealthy patterns, and achieve goals, for me this year is officially about what I can live without, and I bet there is a lot more I can (and probably will) live without than even I have considered, material and otherwise. Granted, there are some physical things we all need in the best of possible worlds: a good roof over our heads, nutritious food and clean water, climate-appropriate clothing, the essential tools for good hygiene, and a sound mode of transportation to get to and from a job that hopefully allows us to afford these things and still have something left over. That said, it’s also good to look at giving up that which does not serve us.
Dissolution of material items: Give it away, give it away, give it away now.
Several years ago, I signed up with Freecycle, an awesome (in the literal sense of the word) global grassroots initiative with almost 10 million members. Have something you want to get rid of? Join a Freecycle group in your area to give (or get!) items for free to (or from) people near you simply by entering a description of the item and how you would like people to contact you. I have given away overgrown aloe plants the size of my torso; piles of books, CDs, and movies; golf clubs (apologies to my golf pro brother-in-law); and even a piano. Maybe these items were polished up and sold, to which I say, “Great!” if others had the inclination or ability to do something I didn’t. Beyond this, lots of nonprofit organizations accept gently-used items to sell and invest the proceeds in their cause. This year, our local SPCA and another national charity have been our go-to organizations. Find one or more that are meaningful to you.
In other realms (I can’t tell if this is emotional or psychological, but I think it’s both): Don’t harsh my mellow, man.
It might be time to dissolve my perhaps utopian notion that we all do our best to play fair in the sandbox. It’s really a shame to let this one go, and it’s a serious downer, but not everyone has our best interests at heart all the time. There are people who, through whatever internal mechanisms of their own, take strides to injure happiness, undermine security, or damage important relationships, including but not limited to our relationships with ourselves. Here’s my motto: You don’t have to love me, you don’t even have to like me, but I would appreciate your mutual respect for the position I hold in whatever capacity you know me. I will do my best to meet you somewhere in the middle, but if you treat any part of myself like a piñata, I am prepared to move on with or without you. Maybe that’s the desired outcome anyway, and if so, I sincerely hope we are all the better for the change.
In the grand scheme of things: Wash it all away.
Thank you to President Obama for signing the ban on microbeads, making products that contain them illegal in the United States! Huzzah! Microbeads are a manufactured hazard to aquatic life that, I think I can safely say on behalf of everyone, we can live without. The centuries old washcloth (not an actual centuries-old washcloth, I am speaking generically of the product) does the same thing without hurting a soul. Please pass the soap!
In keeping with washing up and washing out, I hereby dismount my soapbox to prepare for festivities. Life is complex; don’t overthink it. It’s been my joy to share this new blog with you, thank you for reading, and Happy New Year! Catch you on the flip side of the calendar page.