When 2014 arrived, I woke up that morning and promptly sliced my finger on a knife. Welcome new year, let's just bleed our way into it.
As someone who can fall into magical thinking and put way too much significance on "signs," this freaked me out a bit.
As did the list of bad things that then happened in the next five days--my husband running over a squirrel on New Year's Day, my cat diagnosed with diabetes, getting food poisoning from some strange food I shouldn't have been eating, walking into the edge of my armoire before bed and gashing my head (yes, the bump and cut are still there).
I wrote to friends: 2014 is kicking my ass. Please tell me 2014 is starting me out tough because it wants me to be surprised by all the good stuff later.
By day 5 of 2014, this is what I looked like:
But right in the middle of "2014 Sucks!" meditation, a received an acceptance for a poem from the New England Review.
I cannot tell you how much I needed this good news. In fact, I've been living on the good energy of it for the last several days.
I confess sometimes I am an empty box of Raisin Bran away from a meltdown, and a "Hey-there's-an-owl!" away from a great day.
But I've been thinking about these events and a friend telling me, "It's not what happens to you, but how you respond to it." Personally, I was not responding too anything very well, saying "2014 sucks" may be slightly overdramatic and definitely not appreciating one's life and blessings.
And I realize, life is not perfect. And when it is not, I have the luxury of using all of its awfulness, its flaws, everything that has gone wrong or bugged me as writing material.
I confess by the fifth day after I walked full-force into my armoire, once the pain and bleeding stopped, I had to laugh.
Life is life. Deal with it.
There's a favorite comedian of mine, John Mulaney, who while trying to get a prescription for Xanax ends up with a rectal exam instead (you can see the full hilarious video clip here and if you have time, watch his whole "New in Town" bit... hilarious.)
Anyway, in the story about the Xanax while getting a rectal exam he says:
"And by the way, part of me was like, whatever, you know? You know those days when you're like, this might as well happen? And I realized, this had become my new year's: Whatever. This might as well happen.
I confess there's an inner peace is just saying, Whatever. In not overthinking any of it, just acknowledging that sometimes things suck and moving forward.
Yesterday, just to prove that I could move past the first six days of 2014, I went mountain biking and I as I loaded up my bike, I truly believed I was going to break a bone or be eaten by a bear. I knew one of the two would happen.
But "knew" is such a big word.
If I really "knew" I was going to break a bone or be eaten by wildlife, I wouldn't have gone.
I'm just going to keep living my life...
Mostly I think if you can acknowledge that sometimes life sucks and sometimes it doesn't, then you are ahead of most.
If you can take a few moments to say, "Yes, I have a gash on my head, but I have food to eat and a warm bed, so I'm lucky." If you can look at your life with the eyes of a stranger--
"That poet is an absolutely amazing klutz, but she just got an acceptance to one of her favorite journals," things don't look so gloom and doom. (And I am a gloom and doom girl, I love to stir myself into the crazies...)
So here's a sign I found and I think it's a good one to start the year--
I'm still not an optimist, but I like to dance.
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