I know I’m late jumping on the New Year’s Resolution bandwagon, but that’s sort of what happens when you have a 9-week old. (Don’t even ask about the state of the Christmas decorations…) I noticed this year that there seems to be a trend toward picking a word, phrase or idea to live the year by, rather than resolving to DO a particular something. I thought this was a pretty neat idea, since the idea of accomplishing anything (including writing this blog) is pretty much a pipe dream at this point.
So I thought, perfect, a few words to keep in mind throughout the year. I can do that. And I should do that. So after much thought (usually in the shower, the only place I get much time to think) I have decided on my Words of the Year. And, not to throw out several years worth of education in the theatre, where we were told endlessly to never, ever, upon pain of death make our acting objectives “to be” verbs…they are “to be” verbs.
The words of the year are presence and positivity. I need to be more present, and I need to be more positive. Which I’m guessing you predicted from the title of this blog.
So in the category of Presence. I have a terrible proclivity toward finding myself other places than in the present. I worry about the future and dwell on the past so often that I am literally not present in my own life sometimes. This is a problem when you have a baby, because every moment is a moment of growing and learning and it is so easy to miss those by thinking about other things. I have to learn how to be present because the past and the future mean nothing to her, and she will expect me to be with her in the moment. In order to be more present in my life, I’m starting off by doing things like removing things like “mom advice” pages from my Facebook. These resources are good for some people, and I thought they would be helpful for me, but just like the pregnancy websites that drove me insane, the mom advice forums do the same. I constantly found myself reading questions from women about sleep patterns, milk supply, food sensitivities, how long can you leave out breastmilk, blah blah blah, and it started freaking me out that I was going to fuck up my daughter and how was I going to deal with this when this happens? I realized that I don’t need to worry about what her patterns will do to her in the long run. I have a baby who needs to sleep now, and if giving her a binkie to put her to sleep is going to end up in a dependence problem in the future….it’s in the future. I need to deal with that in the future, when it gets here. I need to be present NOW and pop that binkie in her mouth and get her to sleep NOW. I need to quit worrying so much about what the future will bring, because the thing is, the future doesn’t just happen all at once. It’s gradual as it turns from the future to the present. And on that topic, since I can’t control or change things that have already happened, I need to quit dwelling on stuff that happened in the past. It’s over, it happened. Whether it was positive or negative is immaterial, because there’s nothing I can do about it other than learn from it, move on, and use that knowledge when it becomes applicable.
Not being so negative all the time leads me to my other word of the year, Positivity. I can get so negative sometimes that it really ruins things. I can’t focus on the fact that Caroline just smiled at us three or four times in a row because she might have slept really poorly the night before. And that’s why the two words go hand in hand, because being negative ruins my ability to be present and enjoy the moment. The other day coming home up the hill Caroline screamed pretty much the whole way and it totally erased the memory of that morning when she and I had laid in bed and she was happy and content and just cooed and touched my face and it was just perfect. The positive ought to outweigh the negative, but it doesn’t for me sometimes because it’s way easier to remember how hard it was to get through the bad time than to enjoy the memory of a good time. Negativity, a lot like stupid people on the internet, generally talks a lot louder than positivity. (As an aside, my computer is telling me that positivity is not a real word…well, suck it computer, it is now. I’m a modern day Shakespeare. If negativity is a word why isn’t positivity?) So, my goal for embracing the positive this year is to make myself a visual reminder of the good times, so that I can look at them when I am having a negativity overflow. I plan to do this by making myself a chalkboard to hang in the baby’s room, and every day I have to write on it something good, positive or beautiful that happened. This will give me a revolving record of good stuff to physically see every day.
My hope is that I will start to embrace the present and become more positive every moment that I am in it. Caroline only recognizes life in the present, and I should learn to take a page out of her book and embrace that….for her sake, and mine, and Cameron’s.