Tis the season to be … worried. I spent this holiday season in complete knots over an opportunity — a marvelous one I had willingly sought. This opportunity offered me a challenging project to temporarily fill long winter hours, in addition to another wonderful job I already have.
So how did I meet the call of “congratulations, we would like you aboard?” By freaking out and losing sleep and one weepy morning crying actual tears at 4 a.m. because I do NOT like change at all.
Also, two part-time jobs equal one full-time job and I really have no desire to spend that much time out of my house and out of my pajamas. I became a writer for a reason y’all.
I was letting my fear of the unknown, trying new things, change and essentially living a lifestyle that millions enjoy every day (namely: having to be somewhere five days per week at a set time with their teeth brushed and pants on) completely freak me out.
Meanwhile, a very dear friend faces the exciting challenge of renovating a beautiful home while selling another beautiful home. Her brain is full of great ideas for the new home and great trepidation at leaving behind the old one.
It is exciting — and daunting too — to make a home out of a house you have not yet moved into. It is unsettling to see a “For Sale” sign hammered into the yard of a home you have called your own. It is equally unsettling to realize you have two mortgages on two homes.
She and I spent many conversations over the winter break fretting over our collective concerns for change and time and the limits of what we can do. Sitting with friends and shooting the breeze on New Year’s Eve, Mr. Wonderful told a wonderfully witty anecdote about our early days in this old house. Listening I realized I had completely forgotten about the incident he was talking about.
Back in the day, the water would shut off mid-shower. We would have to run out into the yard, rain or snow, and into a well house riddled with rats, to bang on the top of the motor with a wooden board to reset the pump.
It is just as grim and draconian as it sounds and I had completely forgotten about it. At the time it was awful, now it barely registers, and when it does, it’s a story to dine out on. Our friends listen and laugh and we all raise our wine glasses around a warm, cozy dining table. Some change is pretty good.
During all these years, this time rolling on, we made do. We made better and we made headway in making a life, a family and memories.
Throughout it all so many things, that once seemed big things, have revealed themselves to be little things after all. Worry and concern seems so BIG when you are in it and so often so small (if we are fortunate) when we look back.
Last night, in the midst of my gut- clenching anxiety over having accepted an assignment I perhaps should not have, my friend called, laughing. It was easily our third phone call of the day as we worried the collective change that faced us.
She said she was standing on her deck worrying that she now owned two houses and had made too much steak, while simultaneously mulling over the plight of her dear friend (me) who had two great jobs.
In the background the TV was on and she turned to see news coverage of a homeless man being given a blanket. He stroked it and said with a smile “Oh, it’s a good one. Cotton.”
She called me laughing — but crying a bit too. “We are worrying about two houses and two jobs and too many T-bones and somewhere in the world a man is grateful for a blanket. We need to get over ourselves!”
You know what? She’s right. We do. Life lived right is change. Worry. Taking chances. This year I resolve to make mistakes. Change for the better. Talk it out. Try to be a better person even as you love — and accept — the one you are right now.
My New Year’s resolution is equal parts attitude and gratitude. The attitude to try new things — and the gratitude to appreciate what has already blessed us.
In the meantime, worry is a part of life, but we should resolve at the very least to be grateful for all we have to worry about. This new year I hope we have love, faith, comfort, family, good health, good fortune and the good sense to do a little bit of something that scares us too.