Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Do Overs

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Hello, it's been a while... not much.... how 'bout you?

(If you now have a song by England Dan & John Ford Coley playing in your head, you're welcome.)

Like most people, I started the new year with intentions to do certain things. Exercise. Eat better. Finish my book. Write new things. And especially I intended to start writing on my blog again. Really, I did. And so, here we are, on the 31st....better late than never. And that is the moral for today. Right up front.

Ever wonder why there is such emphasis in January on resolutions and fresh starts?

Long ago, January was tacked onto the beginning of our calendar and named for the Roman god Janus. He is the god of new beginnings. Since Roman times, January has been seen as a door to the new year, a chance to put the past behind us, to start fresh, get healthy, meet goals, and make the most out of life.

January is usually an awesome month for me. But I struggled with January this year. I didn't start exercising. I didn't start eating right. I was snowed in. I had the flu. I hadn't finished my book. In fact, despite being confined to bed for days, I wasn't writing at all. Things were not going well.

By the 25th, I had descended into moping and fretting, depressed with the feeling that I had frittered away any and all my opportunities for a new beginning.

January 25th was a Thursday. To most people, it was an ordinary day, nothing special. But to me, not only was it still part of Ja"new"ary, it was my BIRTHDAY. My January Birthday. My (gulp!) 54th Birthday. The day magic is supposed to happen. I wanted it to be anything but ordinary. 

But it felt worse than ordinary. I was not doing anything wonderful but was at work (see "snowfall", "sick days"). I still felt like crap (IBID). I felt unaccomplished. I felt uninspired. I felt I'd lazily dropped my clean slate on the hard road of life and cracked it irreparably. So I did what seemed most logical.

I went home and went to bed.

When I woke on the 26th of January, nothing had changed. Except the date. And since it was no longer my birthday but I was still alive and kicking, I was free from the intense pressure of feeling that I needed to do something magical.

Instead, I took a long look in the mirror and reminded myself that I'm a grown up. There is nothing inherently magical about January 1st. Or January 25th. I can choose to be magical anytime I want. I don't need a calendar to give me permission to celebrate or change or start over.

I declared a Do Over.

It's not a coincidence that Janus of January fame was seen not just as the god of beginnings but also of transitions, of passages and endings, of duality. His two faces look to both the past and to the future. This dude was not one to be penned in.

Today I read this great blog post by my friend Angie Mizzell. In it she says,

"There isn't one set day on the calendar to make things new. There are actually 365. As long as I'm healthy and breathing, there's always another chance to continue what I started. Or, to simply begin." 

Reading Angie's post further bolstered my idea that it's never too late to make another start. And, as she often does, she reminded me: I am not alone.

Getting older is a mixed bag. At this point, there are more days behind me than there are ahead. (Unless I live to be 108....uh, no thanks...) But getting older gives me experience and perspective and freedom to know, I don't need anyone's permission to make every day a Do Over. I can simply start from where I am.

Every. Single. Day.

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