Writing

Gradual Bloom

For our first installment of the New Year, G spoke about the slow start of 2023.  For me, the New Year has always had a difficult time taking root until at least the second week.  Even growing up, we would roll right from the holiday season into my cousin Julie’s birthday which is January 6th.  Happy Birthday, Julie!  Our eyes were not focused on a fancy new year or starting back to school.  Our eyes were clearly set on the first slumber party of the year, obviously.

No, we haven’t had a slumber party in a number of years, but I simply replaced that joyous occasion with my wedding anniversary, which falls on January 2nd.  So, even as an adult I have had a difficult time getting my year going.  I mean, why stop the celebration on January 1st when you are clearly going to indulge in some form of dining, dessert, or drinks to celebrate another year of wedded bliss?  So, you will often find us extending our holiday debauchery well into the new year or at least until that Monday after our anniversary. 

It’s more difficult than it sounds, though.  Often, while we are off reminiscing about the number of years under our belt, the rest of the world is sending texts and emails, calling and leaving voicemails because the fun is supposed to be over, folks!  There is no time for a gradual unfolding of the new year. Chop chop!

This year, we celebrated 30 years and we went away for a couple of days.  On our anniversary, we received a call from our builder (we are building a house, but that is another blog series).  We decided it could wait and we chose to ignore his call.  One minute later, he left a voicemail and sent a text saying, “please call me as soon as possible.” These are not words you want to hear from the man building your house.  He isn’t desperately trying to reach you to tell you he just saved you a bunch of money or that things are going well.  In the end, we decided it would be easier knowing what he needed rather than imagining the worst and we called him.  In a nutshell, our excavation costs were running thousands over budget.  

Happy Anniversary, it’s January 2nd, and you are already in the red.

I realize not everyone is celebrating a birthday or an anniversary during the first week of the new year, but trying to gradually move into the new year can feel exactly the same.  It’s like we are all moving along celebrating life, holiday parties, lounging in our holiday pjs, watching movies with our families, toasting to a new year, and then BAM!  There is this hard stop to all things fun.  We’re supposed to begin our new workout routine, eat healthy, adhere to dry January, and be a new and better version of ourselves than the previous year and it’s all supposed to begin on January 1st at 8:00am.  Is it any wonder that January is the most depressing month of the year?

Let’s be honest.  Regardless of those resolutions we made, most of us get to January 1st, and we are just trying to take a deep breath.  Maybe our family just left to go back home, and we miss them.  Maybe we survived our first holiday without our family or we’ve lost a loved one and the last couple of months have been challenging.  Maybe, it’s simply that we are struggling with the post-holiday let down.  

Think about it.  All of this is a lot to process between the New Year’s celebration at midnight and the expectation that we are supposed to be in the gym first thing the next morning.  I mean, seriously, most of us likely feel like we failed before noon on the first day of the new year.  It’s depressing and unrealistic expectations do not set us up for success.

The point isn’t that we should phone in the month of January because it’s a lost cause.  The point is to be realistic when thinking about your new year and take January in bite-sized, doable pieces so you can achieve your goals and feel successful.  

Also, January is like 650 days long, so pace yourself.

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Slow Starter

Are you struggling to “get it together” this new year? Are you skeptical since 2020 broke your heart and ‘21 and ‘22 gave you a steady kick to the kidneys and a sucker punch to the belly?

It’s hard to believe in goodness, the universe and/or the divine when we coming down off a sugar high or climbing out of sleep deprivation. And if you are not a Christmas celebrator, you likely feel some level of post-Christmas stress and wonder; dare you to remove your hands from your ears for fear of hearing the third verse of Jingle Bells for the one millionth and 1 time?

From Thanksgiving to January, it is an onslaught, even if you don’t participate in all the trappings. It is a media montage of someone’s mythical life highlight reel running 24/7 where nobody ever tires, eats, sleeps, irons a shirt, or breaks a sweat. Meanwhile, comparatively, you’re still in your yoga pants from 17 hours ago and think you possibly spy a hint of yesterday’s mascara dutifully hanging on your lashes. 

Then we have the audacity and the innocent, wide-eyed optimism that only an amnesiac could genuinely muster to judge ourselves for not arriving on January 1, after a carefree night of revelry, of course, to a house purged of all things processed and sugar-laden. We are aghast at ourselves for not having the refrigerator and pantry stocked with fresh fruit, veggies, coconut water, and protein powder to the level that any good social media influencer would approve.

Did I mention we Christmas people are tired and broke? We don’t have the energy or the cash to visit the grocery store, even if that’s where the food lives.

We have shopped, wrapped, shipped, pondered, returned, and waited impatiently for late gifts since November. We are simply hoping for a good night’s sleep and a day without a cookie, and our pants still fit.

What we are saying is we are coming into 2023 with healthy trepidation because life experience and wisdom tell us we should. Also, please see above.

We are also moving more slowly because the year isn’t over by January 18. How could it be ruined because we haven’t found our groove just yet?

Who hasn’t started a previous year on fire and fizzled out by January 12? 

The cocktail hour of 2023 has barely gotten going. The servers’ trays are still full of bubbly to come. I promise.

Let’s all slow down. And, ahem, if you need to, unbutton the top button of your jeans/pants. I won’t tell anyone. That’s why bulky sweaters are all the rage in January.

We underestimate what we can accomplish in small, steady steps and overestimate what we can do with big, forced efforts that are overwhelming. This is a life, not a to-do list, although by looking at most of us, you’d be hard-pressed to notice the difference.

If you need a better reason than that, you can go with the moon said so.

The lunar new year, also known as the Chinese New Year, doesn’t begin until January 22. The lunar calendar is based on astronomical observations of the Sun’s position in the sky and the Moon’s phases. 

The moon affects the migration patterns of birds and the ocean’s tides, so it seems like a powerful enough reason to postpone gathering your ducks from the rave until then, right?!

We are taking slow, measured, but purposeful steps forward. Maybe not just for this year but maybe for the foreseeable future because the pace of the world, peer pressure, or the internet, I dont know who is to blame, is too freaking fast. 

This year, Lowi & G are whispering our greeting to 2023 and seeing if any lights fall off the thing first. Happy new beginnings. Here’s to being SLOW.

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