It’s New Year’s Eve, and I’m spending it deep cleaning my house. I’ve been working on “good enough” instead of “perfect” all year, my kitchen and bathroom certainly reflect the achievement. I usually have a Sisyphean outlook about cleaning, given that I have three kids and lack the assistance of Alice from The Brady Bunch. But I love a good metaphor, and what better metaphor is a thorough house cleaning on the last day of the year?
So, this year has been… interesting. I’m not one of those people who declares the whole year to be great nor terrible. I mean, how is that defined, anyway? By fate or free will? I am neither looking forward to 2018 in fear and dread, nor giddy anticipation. There were ups and downs in 2017 and there will be ups and downs in 2018. But on the whole, I felt this was a year of progress. There is something that feels complete about it, other than the date. Perhaps because I feel like this was a year where I met my goals. Perhaps it’s because I chose the right goals to meet. On this day last year, I wrote this:
At the start of every year I usually make lists about what I want to accomplish, but I’m not going to do that this year. Accomplishments are great, except if, like me, you are trying really hard to not define your self-worth by them. This year my list is not about doing, but about being. I want to be at peace with myself and others. I want to be mindful of the ways God is at work in my life. I want to be present, even when it is boring or painful, and especially when it is mystical. I want to be joyful. I want to be truthful. I want to be thoughtful, kind, and considerate. I want to be heard. I want to be understood, I want to be loved. All being requires some doing (unless we are talking about being in the presence of God) and this year my desire to be will be what fuels my desire to do.
This year in many ways felt like a new beginning. Not in the exciting and optimistic sense that seems to be the expectation with anything new in the first half of life, but more with a middle-aged, road-weary, calm and assured outlook. I feel like the things I have put into motion this year will serve me well for the years ahead. It was a whole year of deep cleaning, really. Not perfect, but good enough.
This year, I think I will make the same agreement with myself. To be, and to be more fully. What else is more important?
Happy New Year, indeed.