When I was younger I loved December magazine issues.
People. Time. Cosmopolitan.
Yes, I read Time Magazine.
Well, I did.
And I loved going through the top-ten lists, remembering the big stories, the big movies, the big whigs and the big deals.
I loved reading about other people’s lives.
I don’t remember making a conscious choice to quit. Maybe it was becoming a mother and giving up small luxuries like reading and being informed.
Maybe it was becoming a single mother and giving up small luxuries like magazines.
Maybe it was simply becoming. My becoming.
My no longer needing to remember what other people had done. Had worn. Had said.
Maybe I started caring about my own life more than others.
Or, I don’t know. Maybe I was just tired.
But for whatever reason, I stopped.
I also stopped making resolutions.
And for a while I stopped hoping. For different. For better.
In 2011 I heard a woman on the radio encouraging her listeners to ditch resolutions and, instead, choose a word.
One word. I can do one word, I thought. And immediately the most random of dancing words popped into my head.
What in the actual heck.
By the way, this was well before the one-word revolution. Before everyone was doing it.
Basically, I started this entire movement. Me and my illuminating.
It’s kind of like when Al Gore invented the internet.
Anyway. Be careful with your word. I became far more illuminated then I ever cared to be. And once you’ve seen the light—
The problem is now it’s popular and I don’t want a word.
I want to go back to resolutions.
Resolving not to be better, but to do better.
Not to become healthier but wealthier.
That was a joke. I like rhyming.
The challenge with resolutions is the hot pressure we put on ourselves to change.
Speaking of hot pressure. Insta-pot. Yes? No?
Yesterday I made a huge pot of soup. It’s soup weather. Cold.
The kind of cold that freezes your garage door shut, and results in completely un-helpful outbursts blaming your ex-husband for the weather.
I was so excited for our soup. Probably more excited than one should get about soup but whatever.
I lift the lid. No steam. And that’s when I see it.
Apparently, you must plug-in your slow cookers for them to work.
And that’s the thing with resolutions. I could make a resolution to plug things in.
To put my keys in the same place everyday.
To be less ditzy.
What? It’s real.
Well, the woman who paints on the bleach is real and that’s practically the same thing.
But here’s the thing. In 2018 I’m not going to miraculously become less “me.” More, you. I’m not going to magically quit doing stupid things like simmering soup on “off” or forgetting to feed my children (seriously? Every day!) or getting my car stuck in the garage.
Y’all. It was stuck. I thought we were going to have to tear the garage down. I panicked. There was an emotional outburst and then there were tears and here’s a bit of advice.
Measure your garage before you buy a car.
Measuring ping-pong tables, also helpful.
But measuring your life next to others. We gotta stop that —insert bad word—!
Measuring your life against pages in a magazine, pictures on instagram, well again. We gotta stop that.
One of my favorite ever, ever, ever Broadway songs, cries, how do we measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee.
In inches, in miles, in laughter and strife.
In truths that we learned. Bridges burned.
Today is our 3rd anniversary. Blended family years are calculated differently so technically it’s more like 23.
Five hundred, twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes.
Times Three. Times 23.
And as I reflect on the magazine that is our life here’s what I see.
Year one. I don’t measure up. This is the worst mistake in the history of the world and we are idiots.
Year two. I don’t measure up. But this probably isn’t the worst mistake in the history of the world and maybe we aren’t idiots.
Year three. Who I am trying to measure myself against? For whatever reason, I think this man loves me. In spite of, because of, and ya know, I think I’m the smartest person in the history of the world for saying yes.
My prayer for you in 2018 is that you stop measuring yourself against the world and start measuring in love instead.
And that you will pour a heaping measuring cup of some of that stuff on yourself as well!
Flannery O’Conner is quoted as saying she writes because she doesn’t know what she thinks until she reads what she writes.
Yes. I write because I don’t know what to think until I read what I’ve written.
Measure. That’s my word.
Love. That’s my verb.
This hard mess of a life?
(Did you know that you can google words that rhyme with verb? I know!—
Dang. So precious. And naive. And full-on crazy. But, oh! If you could’ve measured my heart that day—