January. A new year stretches before us, chock full of hopes and fears, and this is of course the year that I will finally “get healthy!” The first few days of the new year always feel like new sheets on the bed. There is a crispness, a smooth chill, and a tautness to the start of the year that I love. Plans get made, ideas that have been percolating get let out to see the light of day, and it is all going to happen because I put it in my new calendar app!
Then, just like the sheets (go with me here), the edges start to pop loose when you realize that the whole ‘get up an hour earlier to work out’ didn’t fit into your 1 year old’s New Year schedule. As the daily routine settles back into place all the new intentions get bunched up in the uncomfortable spots, making priorities collide and creating conflict. Maybe you miss a workout (only your third one this year!) because a parent wanted to talk about their child after school and your entire schedule was thrown off, or maybe the baby peed your bed in the middle of the night, and next thing you know the sheets need changing again and you are paying for a gym membership you never use. And it is only January 15th.
Being the impulsive sort I always take time over the holidays to maximize and streamline my plans. I don’t work out because I haven’t found anything since boxing and jujitsu that I am motivated to actually do. So if I check out Sealift/Crossfit/MoveNat/Gymnastics Bodies/GMB I will find my motivation, and I will be healthy. I don’t eat well because the life schedule is crazy, but if I find the perfect app that will help me plan a menu AND make a grocery list, that will be sorted and I will be healthy. If I double up on my Headspace/Wim Hof/Mindful Breathing/Nam Myoho Renge Kyo I can clear the backlog of clutter in my head. And I will be super healthy.
I know going into it all that none of it actually works. But it is always so exciting to start that next amazing thing that is really going to bring about some change.
This year was a bit different. Sort of. I turned 45 years old in December, and I spent as much time as I could sitting with the thought that, barring an unpleasant surprise, I have most likely reached the midpoint of my time in this body, with these people, in this life. Not to give the end away, but I will in fact die some day (thanks Carsie Blanton.) So I sat with this thought. If I get the chance to look at my life before I die, will I go with a grin?
Will I go with a grin, not “will I die happy.” Who knows? I might be in a tough place and find it hard to rouse a feeling of happiness. It might be tough in that moment to objectively balance the retrospective film of my life. But if there are enough moments to laugh at, enough absurdity and joy and beauty to bring a toothy smile to my face, then I am good. And I am not talking a bout the wistful smile recalling a life well lived we see in movies, but a goofy, infectious grin that crinkles the eyes and says “now THAT was fun!” It does;t matter if I’m thinking of the whole stretch time, or one of the good bits. That is the the look I want on my face when I die.
So, while I did look for a new fitness app, it was to track something I already know how to do. Finishing something rather than starting something new. Instead of filling my calendar with activities and plans, I spent more time deleting entries and finding the spaces (few and far between). And I didn’t fill them. And rather than talking about one day traveling, spending time with Micki talking over which deals on flights she has seen and getting all our passports updated.
Because we are all going to die one day.