09 January 2012

The Creative Exchange: After the Holidays

In Memoriam, Magdalena, NM, Jan. 2012
For today's Creative Exchange I offer a photo and a confession: I don't really enjoy the winter holidays much anymore. The decorations are beautiful, and with two young kids I do my best to make a festive environment and build their anticipation and all that. But in addition to it being winter, which I just hate despite my best efforts to appreciate its quiet dormancy, I usually feel overwhelmed by the expectations, other people's and my own as well. I unexpectedly spent New Year's Eve alone this year (well, except for two big snoring dogs at my feet and two purring cats in my lap) because of a misunderstanding with the kids' dad; they were supposed to be with me but he took them to a gathering and didn't bring them back till after 1:30 a.m. As midnight approached, my Monkey Mind kind of freaked out because everyone knows you CANNOT be alone on New Year's Eve -- what happens at midnight sets the tone for the ENTIRE YEAR, right?? And there I was, all alone (except for my menagerie), and I was pissed off that not only were the kids not with me as expected but I could have made other plans, and really I was terrified because oh my GOD this means 2012 will be a huge disaster and I'll be alone forevermore, woe unto me.

Last year, I had a similarly quiet time; I was pretty deep in the process of mourning my mom, and the kids were with their dad, so I burrowed into my bed and watched movies all night. That part was okay, but it was very, very cold out and the water pipe from the village main to our house froze that night, so I had no running water for three days. That's definitely a sucky way to start a new year, and yet as 2011 unfolded some really amazing things began to happen, and I ended the year in a place far better than I could have imagined.

Expectations are rich fuel for Monkey Mind; as some people say, an expectation is a premeditated resentment, I think because it sets us up to be disappointed and to feel like we've been deprived of something. That said, I still hope my next New Year's Eve is a bit more exciting -- say, lounging in a tropical paradise with the love of my life -- just so I don't have to work quite so hard at convincing myself that it will all be okay. I am getting better at it... it only took me nine days to process all this and write it out so I could let it go and get on with the new year, a day at a time.


lisa said...

Kudos to you Anna for processing it!! The way I see it, now it cannot follow you into the year!
Here's to a beautiful year ahead for you!!

Thank you so very much for sharing with us this week at The Creative Exchange.

Have a great day!


Pat said...

I hope you get that monkey off your back and enjoy 2012. Happy New Year!

Skye said...

A quiet peaceful New Years Eve at home snuggle up with furry friends... sounds like a great way to ring in the new year to me :) I'm not one for big noisy parties or dealing with people who've obviously spent too much time over indulging as they waited for that special 'moment'. I'm the type who spends the night doing what *I* want and feel comfortable doing and to hell with what is 'expected' or what the world think you 'should' be doing on new years eve. If I had still lived out in the country I'd have slipped out and gone for a midnight walk and just enjoyed the night. Since I live in the city now, I enjoyed the night much like you did. I'm quite content on my own though and have found my life and myself far happier and more comfortable without having a partner, though. So your superstition about how you end the year doesn't bother me since alone is just perfect for me :)