1/03/2013

A new perspective for the new year.

"Well... Would you like to watch a movie with me tonight?"

In another day in time, I wouldn't have thought twice about the words that came out of his mouth. I would have said "yes" without skipping a beat, and promptly looked up redbox movies on my iphone. It would have been typical and not remotely special.

But this day was different. It was the first day of the new year, 2013. New Year's Day is usually full of optimism. A blank slate. A spiral notebook paper filled with disjointed scribbles, the kind of handwriting that comes when I'm all too excited. It would read new goals and new prospects for the year. It would excite me and make me think, once again, that this would be the best year yet.

But like I said, this day was different. It was on the first day of the New Year, and I somehow managed to wake up on the wrong side of the bed. I was completely off of my path. My optimistic, positive, dream filled path. In it's place I found myself in a ditch with a bad attitude, an ill-tempered disposition, and a negative voice stuck in my head that rattled off reasons why this might not be my year afterall. The kind of voice that tells you that you're not pretty enough, or smart enough, or talented enough to make it anywhere in this big world.

After a long day, we were driving home from a game night at the in-laws. It was dark and frigid cold outside. The kind of cold where it hurts to breathe, while frost accumulates on your lips and in your nose. Our toddler sat in the back seat, bundled up so tight that you could barely see his sweet little face. He was focused intently on the disney movie that played in front of him.

I replied to Dan's question in my monotone voice. Trying to sound nice, but making sure he knew I wasn't my regular upbeat self just yet. "A new episode of Parenthood is on tonight, I really wanted to watch that..."

I was sure that Dan didn't know, through my sulky exterior, how it made my heart skip a beat when he made that nice gesture and asked me to watch a movie with him. And as we drove home in mostly silence, I wondered how often he has no idea when he has just made my heart skip.

I didn't want to tell him. I didn't want to smile and hold his hand and apologize for how grumpy I had been. I think that sometimes, when you have a bad day for no good reason at all, your pride sneaks in and holds you back from making it a better day. Even though deep inside I was completely aware that I am in control of this mood I was in, I consciously made the decision to push that awareness aside and let myself have a bad day. In retrospect it was stupid, but at the time pride overwhelmed all of my rationality.

I like to think it was my half-glass-full personality deciding it wanted a break. A little breather for the exhaustion that comes from always making me look on the bright side of everything. Some time off of making apple pies in my imaginary kitchen and coming up with the dreams that keep me going in life.

As I soaked in a long shower that night, I contemplated life some more from the perspective of my new found somber disposition. The steam from the hot water combined with the scent of my lavendar body wash cleared my head a little and allowed me to focus. It was in this moment that I had a split personality lecture of sorts. My bad attitude for the day found my moment of clarity and took hold. It was then that I had the thought, clear as day, as though I was being told by someone else entirely:

Don't let anything break you. Your personality, while some might not understand it, is exactly what you need. You are an overly optimistic, shoot for the stars dreamer. People will call you naive and oblivious. Negative thoughts will creep in and make you believe things that aren't true. Keep seeing the bright side. Keep hoping. Keep dreaming.

It was a peaceful and serious moment. It was the thought that I needed to hear.

Even after this reflection and a long, relaxing shower, I decided not to try and change my attitude. I cuddled up in Dan's favorite t-shirt quilt and spent an hour living vicariously through my favorite tv show. I then went to bed and fell asleep with the resolve that tomorrow I would make things better.

And now. Now, it is today, and surprisingly my attitude hasn't changed much. While I continue to feel happy and blessed, I also feel somber and quiet. Some non existent happening has somehow drained me of my optimism. A superstitious part of me worries that waking up on the wrong side of the bed for the first day of the new year has jinxed my 2013 all together.

But then there is another part of me. The part that knows from past experience that this attitude won't last long. And that part of me is choosing not to take this new perspective for granted. This feeling of craving alone time, of listening to music instead of singing along, of being utterly aware of my own heartbeat. This feeling of living in today, being grateful for what I have now instead of dreaming of what I will have in the future. It's different for me, not typical for my personality. I can honestly say it's refreshing. I love seeing through eyes that give me more understanding and awareness.

This waking up on the wrong side of the bed start to my year, I think it wasn't such a bad thing at all. And while I don't expect it to last long, I'm appreciating it while it does. I'm giving my dreams a little break. Maybe in a few weeks I will find a notebook laying on my bed, filled with those optimistic dreams and goals for the year. But for now, I've got all I need and I'm not pushing for more. I'm learning from the solemn sincerity that has weighed down on my spirit and given me a new perspective, if only for a few days.

Here's to 2013. Maybe it will bring something completely different than I was looking for after all...

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