January usually makes me crazy. The pressure of a new beginning mixes with gloomy weather and too much time to think, creating a perfect storm that threatens to sink my ship every year. I cope by listening to David Gray’s A New Day at Midnight, because six years ago, I was taking my first ever class on theology, staring a crisis of belief right in the face, and David Gray was there. He’s been with me every January since, but that hasn’t made them any less difficult.1
This January is not like the others. Maybe it’s the heat wave we’ve been having in Southern California, but I suspect it’s not the weather, but rather this girl who has changed. All of the normal things are there–times a thousand, really–but I feel different: optimistic.
At the start of January, it was cautious optimism, but then it suddenly occurred to me that I wasn’t as stuck as I thought. I could quit my job if I wanted to, so I did. I could say no to a person I didn’t want in my life, so I did. I could buy a teal watch, so I did. I could make plans to reunite with most of the #SFNYE gang in Vegas, so I did. I could do my best in class and let that be be enough. And I could walk out of work every day and not worry about the unfinished projects, because I have way too much work for a part-timer and my boss suddenly realizes that, and oh yeah, I quit.
Even the caution is fading. I have this feeling of working toward something, constructing my life the way I want it, but each day I’m excited, even when I have to work 15 hours. Most importantly, I haven’t let dread creep in and that makes all the difference.
When I say things like, “2011 is going to be amazing!” I imagine myself walking on water, becoming a rock star, and just generally taking the world by storm, and that’s what drives me crazy about January, because how am I supposed to make any of that happen?
This January, I still want to be a rock star, but I have a direction. Step one: purple hair. Step two: learn how to sing and/or play an instrument other than the clarinet.
Now that I don’t feel so stuck, it’s easier to change. And at the same time, I have this new faith that even if I don’t have everything I want right this second and preferably yesterday, I am moving in a direction, collecting those people and experiences and accomplishments as I go.