Miss Night's Marbles

Musings, mumbles, marvels, and sometimes mockery, live from kindergarten.

A seat by the window

*I wrote this post on Jan 1, and then somehow didn’t post it. So, you’re getting it now. The intention remains the same. Happy New Year, friends. I hope 2015 has been kind to you so far.

So. It’s 2015.

While I have long been ambivalent about New Year’s Eve, I do love New Year’s Day. A fresh start, a chance to begin again, to try out a new, improved version of one’s self… I like resolutions, even though I am inconsistent about keeping them. January has always seemed full of hope, just as September does.

All day, I have been trying to decide if that is still true, this year. Do I still feel hopeful? Does today feel fresh and different?

The fact is: it doesn’t. The sky is the same. The sun is the same. The snow on the ground is the same. Freddy still wants me to throw his ball. The garbage still needs to be taken out. The candlelight still flickers agains the wall.

The sameness is not a bad thing. To the contrary, there is a certain kind of comfort in it, even hope. The world already feels different enough to be terrifying. The concrete sameness of the sun going down behind the same mountains, and coming up behind the same trees, seems like a message that yes, SOME THINGS are certain.IMG_1606

And at the same time (to amend something I said to My Girl after she had a rough afternoon involving crying in a shopping mall): grief is a sneaky and fickle bitch. And as much as I am deeply comforted by the sameness of the mountains, the sun, the sky, all I have thought about for days is how much I wish I could sit at my dining room table and see out my window, at the same time. I’ve now spent the better part of 2 days rearranging furniture in my little home, so as to see outside while I drink my coffee, eat my dinner, sip my tea.

 

Every single piece of furniture in the main part of my house has been moved, with the exception of my glass-front bookcase, and I’m starting to have a vision of how it could fit next to the desk, and then I could put a bench and some hooks where the bookcase is now… Every plant, every lamp, every piece of art has had to move, too.

So: outside is the same. Inside is entirely different.

I’m sure there is a metaphor here, somewhere. Maybe a couple.

Most importantly: I have a seat by the window.

Windowseat

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New Year’s Resolution #1: Be Gentle. Mostly with myself.

I should write a blog post every day.

I should make and follow a housekeeping schedule.

I should meal plan every Sunday.

I could watch a movie a week for the whole year.

I could stop watching TV during the week.

It’s so easy to go down the road of self-recrimination, especially when you are active online. You read blog posts and browse pinterest, and see all the awesome things other people do in their classrooms, their homes, their lives, and think “I should do that! I could do that! Why don’t I do that? I don’t do enough! I need to do more! Do better! Do faster! Do fancier! Good enough is not good enough! I need to Get More Things Done!”

We all have this voice, right? It’s not just me?

Going into Christmas break, I was so burnt, so broken, so tired, the pain of Newtown still so fresh, that I knew in advance: this break is not for Getting Things Done. I am a great one for having great plans to get great things done on my time off. Sometimes I am successful. Often I am not. And when I am not successful in Getting Things Done, I mourn. I pine. I beat myself up for not waking up earlier, not  staying focused, not MAKING THE BEST OF MY PRECIOUS TIME. But: going into this recent break, I know: the best possible use of THIS PRECIOUS TIME was to heal, to rest, to fill up my empty heart. I did exactly what I WANTED to do. Nothing more. I was extraordinarily gentle with myself. When thoughts of “Oh, I wanted to clean out the linen closet” intruded, I gently acknowledged the thought, and then put it away. “Yes, I wanted to. But I didn’t. And that’s ok. I did other important things. The linen closet is not going anywhere.” I did the same thing if an obligation-laced intention crossed my mind: “Tomorrow, I should wash the floors” “Yes, I can wash the floors if I want to. But if I don’t, that’s okay, too.”  The habit has continued this week in my classroom. Instead of beating myself up for the things that didn’t get done, or a detail I forgot, or a too-late epiphany about something that would have brought a lesson to a whole new level, I just… acknowledge the thought, file away the idea, and move on. “Yes, I could have. But I didn’t. And that’s okay. Maybe I will remember that bit next time.” End of recrimination. It feels… amazing.

Interestingly, this has had a curious effect: often, the very act of giving myself permission to NOT do something helps give me the motivation, the energy, to DO it. “I should get milk on the way home.” “Yes, you could get milk. But there’s still enough for a latte, so if you don’t, tomorrow will still be okay.” “I don’t HAVE to get milk, but it will only take a minute, so I may as well. Then I won’t have to worry about it tomorrow.” Crazy, right? (Huh. Let’s not get into whether this amount of dialogue WITH MYSELF may qualify as “crazy,” okay?) But it’s working. And I feel good. And more at peace. And more productive.

I should sign up for a ballet class.

I could try one new Pinterest recipe every week.

I should join a book club.

Or maybe even START a book club.

I should turn off all my screens at least an hour before bed.

I could. I can. I might.

But if I don’t, that’s okay, too.

 

I made a total of 3 resolutions this year. The other 2 will get blog posts of their own, soon. Maybe.

 

 

 

 

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