2012

2012.  A new year.  2011 defined a new sense of low for me and I haven’t been this eager for a year to end since The Mistah was deployed.   As I thought about this sense of longing for time to move, it struck me how often I wish time away.  It goes back as far as I can remember, like when I was told I couldn’t go with my brother to an Orioles game because I was too young.  Well, I didn’t want to be too young.  I wanted to be old enough to do what the “big kids” were doing.  I guess that’s the curse of being a younger sibling…having to watch from the sidelines as life goes on without you.  So it started early.

And it kept going.  I remember being 8 or 9 and wishing I was 10 already because 10 is double digits and nobody mistakes a 10 year old for a little kid.  Wanting to be 10 became wanting to be 13, because nobody tells you how hard it actually is to be a teenager.  Then that wasn’t good enough and I couldn’t wait for the day I was 16 and could drive.  I would have gladly forfeited the next two years so that I could be 18 and leave for college.   The last big “I wish it would just get here already birthday” was 21….no explanation needed.

After that, wishing away time was not about being older.  It actually became about not being.  Not being stuck in a miserable day at work.  Not being torn apart by a relationship that ended.  Not being tormented by my doubts.  And definitely not being helpless to watch a course of events unfold before me.

If I could even roughly approximate how many times I thought “I can’t wait until this {fill in the blank} is over” I bet I have wished away entire years.  What 2011 taught me is that time doesn’t work that way.  You don’t get a few extra years tacked on at the end because you wished them away earlier.  What’s more, all that time I spent fixated on not being wherever or whatever I was, I basically had my eyes closed to what actually was wherever or whatever I was.

How many opportunities did I miss?  How many shards did I ignore that could have made the most beautiful mosaic? How long will it take for me to stop wishing my time away?

I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions and I never really gave much thought to why that was so.  If you would have asked me that question twenty years ago, my response would have been something like “I dunno”.  But thinking about it now, with whatever wisdom I’ve managed to accumulate, I think it’s partly because a resolution is an acknowledgment that I am responsible for making the changes I want to see in my life.  I can’t pawn that job off on anyone else.  And it’s also partly because a resolution made one day a year seems to have a pretty quick expiration date.

So what’s the alternative?  For me, it’s this: be present even when it’s uncomfortable, wish to get through the experience instead of wishing away the time, and make these affirmations to myself every day.

That’s my hope for 2012.