January became my month of starts and stops, endings and beginnings. Everything leading in a positive direction but a wild and draining month.
At some point last week the stops seemed to be stomping down the starts. I'm one of those people who needs to make things happen, I like being in control and planning ahead, so yeah, frustration set in.
And I'll fully admit to having a few moments of "why am I doing this again?"
The answer came in the form of a 7 year old hanging from a rock climbing wall.
He decided to take on a new for him climb that was one of the more challenging ones along that wall. I sat with my mouth open as the kid negotiated his way up a wall that challenges many adults. He studied the wall then started up. A few times he had to stop and readjust his strategy, lost his footing a couple of times and had to pull himself back up. Once about half way up he anchored himself to the wall and sat back. He stared up at the last hold of the climb, down at his belayer and then back to the top. The look on his face wasn't "why am I doing this," it was pure determination.
He never let the frustration of not having the wingspan to reach across some of those holds get to him. He just figured out how to make it work.
If my 7 year old monkey can conquer that 5.9 climb, why would I let a few momentary annoyances (because really, that's all they are) derail my dreams?
A valuable lesson learned!
There are basically two categories of drivers - those who look at cars as a way to get from point A to point B and those who love to drive and have a special bond with their cars.
I fall into the second category. I've always loved cars. Not all cars mind you. Just the sexy sports cars with the engines that give you goose bumps. And at the top of the love list is the Audi TT.
I had pictures of the TT on my computer before they were even selling yet. The moment they went on sale in the US, we were at the dealer. And my first TT was custom. Oh I loved that car. I'm on my second TT now and the sight of a TT on the road still makes me sigh like a lovestruck teenager.
Wait, that's not the point.
For the last two weeks my TT has been in the shop and I've been driving a loaner - a very nice little car mind you with all the upgrades but it's not a TT.
And I realized something this morning - I'm driving differently.
The sassy, take-no-prisoners attitude I usually have behind the wheel has mellowed. I'm now playing nice, gliding along within the speed limit, yielding to others, not a questionable word coming out of my mouth. Even the 7 year old commented on it.
I'm not making excuses to take the "scenic route" detours that were always so tempting.
I pull into a parking spot and walk away without a backward glance.
I'm not looking at the cars around me (unless a TT pulls up and then I whimper) and I know no one is looking at my car.
Driving has become getting from Point A to Point B. And personally, I find it very boring.
So to go back to my first question - are you what you drive?
That does it, I'm calling the dealership. I want my TT back!
I start every year making goals for the year ahead. So on December 31 I pulled out a new notebook and made my Goals for 2013 (somehow the word goal doesn't sound as scary as resolution). Goals made, I walked off to fix another coffee, feeling smug and ready to tackle the new year.
Until I opened the notebook and looked at my list again.
Can we say ridiculous? Some are "easy" like starting and finishing a novel and catching up on Downton Abbey (okay, starting and catching up). Some "doable" like getting back into an exercise routine and writing the middle grade story rattling around in my brain. And some "insane" like reducing the amount of coffee I drink and eliminating the clutter in my house.
What was I thinking? Not so much about the reducing coffee intake - obviously I wasn't thinking there. But about the number of things I thought I should take on.
Then I read a fabulous blog post where each of the contributors picked one word that would define their year [you can read it here]. Hmmm … interesting (can you hear the gears squeaking in my brain?).
What would my word be?
Only one came to mind … Simplify.
For me, "simplify" means focusing on what really matters and I can easily narrow that down to two things: my family and my writing. When I went back to look at the goals I'd originally written, almost all were in line with those two priorities. But when I compared my goals for the year with my weekly to-do lists, they weren't compatible. That, I'm happy to say, is changing.
So cheers to 2013 and the changes it will bring!