10.1.08

A Year of Possibilities

Hi all, I hope this finds you well-settled into the new year and cooking up a storm. After nearly a month of traveling, it feels good to finally be home and trying to get myself back into a normal routine. While this post is coming a bit late, as January 1st has already passed, I think the sentiment is still applicable, so I'm posting it now. I'll be posting more recipes and pictures soon.

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What is it about January 1st that makes us feel like it's our one chance in the year to begin anew? That somehow this single day is our God-given blank slate, no matter the mistakes we’ve made or how far we've strayed from our goals the rest of the year? We make long lists of resolutions, start diets and exercise programs, and vow loudly to anyone within hearing range that we're finally going to become organized this year! Even before the day arrives, we’re frantically writing out Christmas cards, baking cookies, making and buying gifts, and hosting dinner parties in an effort to be that woman (or person) that is able to do it all and survives the journey to midnight on New Years Eve in our perfectly fitting little black dress - without gaining 40 pounds, making too many visits to our therapists, or smashing the Kitchenaid with our bare hands when our 80th batch of snickerdoodles burns in the height of our baking frenzy because we were trying to wrap presents at the same time.

And yet, it remains that for the vast majority of us, even if we do wake up on January 1st alive and with our sanity intact, those long lists of resolutions become lost in the stacks of papers piling up on our office desks. The diets we began meet a quick death with that first thoughtless spoonful of indulgence into a full-cream vat of crème brulee (or maybe after the last spoonful at the bottom of that vat). Our desire to exercise or go to the gym falls away under the pressure of the other things we’ve already obligated ourselves to do, and daily life takes over our neat piles of bills and pristinely organized drawers and cabinets. Because the truth is, we’re human. And sometimes being human is just plain hard. Sometimes it’s hard to be a good graduate student. A good friend. A good blogger. A good daughter. A good wife. Each of these roles, whether you’ve been doing it for 6 months or 60 years, comes with its own set of difficulties and the vast majority of us are attempting to fit ourselves into all of them at the same time.

So instead of making resolutions this year, perhaps we should consider it as a year of open-ended possibilities...perhaps we should remember that we are never going to be perfect people, we are only always going to simply be ourselves – faults and burnt cookies, dry chicken breasts and little pudgy spots on our bodies, funky ear lobes and sometimes broken promises. Instead of beating ourselves up for not fulfilling some resolution we had, we can begin anew. We can accept our faults, our mistakes, our pudgy spots, and our trials as they come and realize that every day is a blank slate – no matter what the date is.

And this year, we even get an extra day! It’s Leap Year and Those Who Decide Such Things decided that this year they’re giving us one more day in the year to do whatever it is we need to do – to cook, to relax, to remind someone we love them, to get more work done or take up a new hobby - and to start over, free of any guilt or disappointment in ourselves for anything that might have happened earlier on. That’s my resolution this year – just to remember. Remember that everything is okay – that if I screw up tomorrow on a talk I have to give, or my chocolate truffles tasted like dirty tube socks and I just happened to have given them away before I tasted them, or if I haven’t posted to my blog in a few weeks, or if don’t like some small part of my body, that it really doesn’t matter, I always have tomorrow. No one isn’t going to be my friend, or stop coming by my blog, or stop loving me, just because of that one little thing. Gulp...I hope! But that vulnerability is simultaneously refreshing, terrifying and full of freedom.

While goals are certainly healthy, and oh yes, I still have goals...plus a thousand things to do on my “to do” list, and ways I’d like to improve myself and my relationships, and on and on and on...but I know that if I don’t get to them today, or if I fumble them up today, or if I forget this positive line of thinking and start screaming at someone who doesn’t deserve it today, then tomorrow is a new beginning. And I can get to those things, or start over, or apologize tomorrow – and you know what? It might even turn out better tomorrow, or next time. I might have to start saving for that Kitchenaid again, but hey, that’s what Life, and being human, is all about, right?

I had resolved to have a picture and a recipe to accompany this post for you. But alas, I do not. So then I decided that it doesn’t matter if I always have a pretty picture to accompany my posts. After all, I’m not a perfect blogger, I’m just perfectly me. And should I come across here as Little Miss Positive – please note that I just had my first breakdown of 2008 a few days ago. And that those tears were such a release I felt like a new woman afterwards...one that could face the world. I’m certainly thinking of myself, just as much as I am thinking of you. So: I hope 2008 brings you heaps of happiness to revel in and mistakes from which to learn, cooking triumphs as well as disasters, fulfilled goals and ones to strive for in the future (but not beat yourself up about), new adventures and new friends, lots of love and laughter, and perhaps a smidgen more of acceptance of yourself (baby steps, people!). I don't know about you, but I can’t wait to see what this year of possibilities holds for each of us. Shall we begin again?

6 comments from you:

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Always! Perfectly you and me! I really believe it's the very best we can be.
I wish you the very best new day each day and it always then will make up the very best new year.
I do make one resolution with each new year. It's the same one I've made now for the last 25 at least. Keep you heart and mind open and see to it you do something this year you've never done before.

katiez said...

I've never been in to the whole resolution thing. Never seemed to make sense to make a list of things I wasn't going to do anyway. I do get the urge to tidy and clean though - get organized. But I think that's just because all December I put everything off.
And...it's Leap Year? I get an extra day.... Yippee! That will make all the difference....

Dianne said...

Nice post Michelle! I am at last beginning to learn that life is a continual cycle of events that bring about change, for which we must learn to adapt. I think this new year I have to learn to accept change and move forward with it!

Happy New Healthy Year!!!

D :)

michelle said...

Thank you dear Tanna, and a Happy New Year to you as well! I like your resolution - that's a perfect way to begin a new year! For everyone!

Katiez, oh how I wish I was organized! I do try every year, and somehow it just falls to the wayside. You're right though, we get an extra day to try!

Hi Diane, Happy healthy new year to you too! It sounds to me like you have a great goal for the year - one that we should all remember.

CookingDiva - Chef Melissa said...

I am so glad to learn that you are back and blogging! Happy new year :)

michelle said...

Melissa! I'm so happy to see you again!!! Thanks for coming by, and a very happy new year to you too!!