Thursday, January 1, 2009

Bring It On

Oh, that's right: its already been broughten! Happy 2009. For this post, I'm digging out and re-vamping a "From the Editor" piece from my running club's newsletter, the January-February 2008 edition. Maybe you're not a runner- and that's okay (you can still be my friend)- you'll just have to suffer the running references. Enjoy!

I’m writing this after taking a break from the computer, after finally shoveling snow (not a nice surprise this morning), after grabbing a room-temperature soda (no joking- I prefer my soda this way), and after thinking about showering. A hot shower in the middle of the afternoon: quite a celebratory event!

What I had hoped for this afternoon was a no-interruption day of cleaning closets and a trip to Goodwill. What I got was laundry, recycled items organization, and that staple of UP living- shoveling snow.

While shoveling, I played that mind trick where you think about what you enjoy while doing something you don’t enjoy, in hopes that you’ll hate the task at hand less. It didn’t work (I still hate snow), but I did get to think without interruptions. Isn’t that a rarity this time of year, no interruptions? What I enjoy about this time of year is the chance we get to re-connect with what’s important to us on an individual level. If that re-connection happens shoveling snow, well then...

What I enjoy this time of year, what I re-connect with, is the concept of the “chosen family.” It’s often said “You can’t pick your family.” I don’t believe this for a second. You absolutely CAN pick your family, just not who you’re related to. How often have you described a close friend as “like family?" I do it all the time, and am so happy to embrace my chosen family at this time of year. They make the rest of the holiday season bearable.

And on the flip side, how many of us have “family” we haven’t spoken to this holiday season, or even in the past twelve months? I’m guilty of this, but looking ahead to the rest of 2009, I’ll have the opportunity to correct that, or to be reminded why I avoided those people in the first place.

The tail-end of this holiday season is coming around, and the cocktail hours, shared meals, air kisses, and gifts both treasured and tacky will become memories as in years past. What will you re-connect with these last few days of 2008? Holiday traditions from your childhood? A recipe you’ve avoided because of your cholesterol count or the number on the scale? A favorite song of the season, no matter if you’re tone deaf?

I’ve checked some things off my list, but first I need to get past December 31st and welcome January 1st with a smile. Maybe I’ll be able to ring in the new year with my chosen family. Maybe I’ll make some resolutions I’ll be able to keep. Maybe I’ll make it through the remainder of the holiday season without anymore surprises (and a special “thanks” to that semi on I-90 for the rock to my windshield last year for setting the tone).

Maybe by the time you read this, the last of the confetti will have been swept up and the champagne bottles gathered and tossed in the recycling bin. Another celebratory event, another mouthful of slurred resolutions just past midnight, another January 1st spent with aspirin, strong coffee, and a constant look of confusion on my face, wondering just what exactly I did the night before. (Who am I kidding? Two vodka gimlets and I’m a goner!)

Or maybe you’ll read this and smile at the great start you’ve got going on those resolutions (you remembered!), sipping some strong coffee after a weekend long run.

However you begin your 2009- hung over or runner’s high- I hope it is everything you hope for, with your own chosen family by your side, and with only pleasant surprises along the way.

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