Scenic Route

Is it a bad sign that I am finally getting around to writing my New Years resolutions on the fifth day of the new year? Maybe, but 2012 was a bit of a roller coaster for me, and I am finding a scenic route through 2013.

This year is about falling little out of step with the proverbial rat race. It is about quality over quantity and savoring the day-to-day. It is also about celebrating small wins and even smaller steps forward.

This is not a new philosophy for me, but I think it is time for a reminder. Since I write historical fiction, let me take you back to the year of my prom. It is twenty minutes before my date was supposed to be there, and I am wiping the tears from my eyes and seriously considering taking off my sequined prom dress, crawling back into my stirrup pants and oversized sweater, and popping an episode of Seinfeld into the VCR.

What made me so upset? My date. He did not stand me up. He did not show up drunk. He did not show up with another girl. He did not even show up in a hideous tux. He showed up early, with a friend who he was helping out because his date had stood him up. Devastating, right? I was probably thinking, “This kind of stuff never happens to Jennifer Aniston.” I was definitely thinking, “This whole night is ruined.”

Okay, it is easy to laugh about now. But that is what it felt like because the mythology of prom told me that everything would be perfect. So the second that reality didn’t match the image I had borrowed from movies and magazines, everything fell apart.

And that is the kind-of thinking that I am walking away from this year.

Because it is impossible to find perfection. And while I am busy looking for it, I am missing out on all the interesting, quirky, fun (like prom turned out to be), ridiculous, charming, silly, and inspiring moments that make up life.

My big moments are always a steady progress of hundreds or even thousands of little moments, each with their own exquisite beauty.

So, this year my resolution is to plug away at the small tasks and enjoy the little moments. I will get up early and enjoy the peace of sleeping children. I will learn the exact way my daughter’s nose crinkles when she smiles really big and breathe in the sound of my son’s laughter. I will get to know my characters and enjoy the way they arrive with bolder and cleaner strokes with each version of the story. There will certainly be moments when I forget this resolution, but that is okay. Because detours happen on the scenic route, and sometimes they lead to the most marvelous places.

 

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