As the New Year approaches.

IMG_1846Eleven days with no writing? Imagine the tips of my fingers all soft from not pecking keys, and my creative brain jumbled with unexpressed thoughts. It’s totes true. But most palpable is the rising sense of panic, the fear that my ability to string words together is as sunk as a concrete-laden body. And add to that the fear that I’ve disappointed you, Generous Readers. In reality, I know you’ve been busy baking cookies, right? And storing away your Elf on a Shelf.

My writing muscles are still here, of course, although maybe a tiny bit atrophied, just in need of some exercise. But damn, my brain is jumbled. It’s this end-of-the-year nonsense, I think. New Year, New You! Resolutions! Self-help! I find it so duplicitous that just days/weeks after the SPEND MONEY LIKE IT GROWS IN YOUR YARD season, we’re ushered into the MONEY ISN’T EVERYTHING season, and encouraged to reevaluate what’s important. Um, shouldn’t we have done that a month ago, before maxing out our credit cards on Apple products, last minute shipping charges, and the Doc McStuffins Get Better Talking Mobile Cart? Sheesh.

Well. Yesterday I ate an entire piece of Kilwin’s salted caramel fudge and it was so delectable and decadent that it reminded me of how I never get to spend time alone with Hot Firefighter Husband, if you know what I mean. With or without the fudge. Although with….that’s a thought.

Fudge…..husband…..OH! Right. So I ate the fudge and thought, Fuck It, I might as well eat a fried seafood platter for dinner and just wear stretchy leggings for the foreseeable future and restart my healthy lifestyle on Monday.

NO. No. That won’t do. Because a lifestyle is a lifestyle, right? And I can live a healthy life and still enjoy an occasional piece of fudge without contributing to the apocalypse. BUT. When I let that occasional piece of fudge plunge me into a nutritional pit of despair, my claims of living a healthy life fall into the pit as well.

A little over a year ago, I started writing to you about The Latest Plan. Remember? We sold our large suburban home and downsized to a 1,200-sq. ft. concrete block bungalow where we now live with our three kids and two dogs. We gutted the house and rebuilt it to suit our needs. And it’s awesome. We love this house. We love its location on a tiny cul-de-sac, its one family gathering space, the fact that everybody knows what everybody else is doing at all times. But here’s what’s been a struggle: incorporating the SIMPLIFY, SIMPLIFY mantra into our daily lives. I really thought that once we moved into the house, the hard part would be done – we had sold most of our furniture, after all, and given away most extraneous belongings.

But what I’ve learned is that SIMPLIFYING is not a decision; it’s a mindset. You can’t just declutter your house – you’ve got to declutter the noggin, too, or else the stuff, both material and intangible, creeps back into place, and suddenly you’re more laden than ever.

I realize I’m making lots of ethereal points right now, without enough details to satisfy interested parties. Details will be forthcoming. Probably. For now, just know that I think New Year, New You! is stupid and counter-productive. Why do you (or I) need to be reinvented? How about New Year, time to become more YOU than you’ve ever been, with an occasional bite of fudge?

The Tyrant just snuck into bed beside me. We’re currently in Destin, Florida for a holiday visit with my parents and siblings, and staying in a 12th floor condo. She snuggled against me and wiped sleep from her dark eyes.

Mom, she said, ever since we came here, every night I go onto the balcony and look at the stars and make a wish.

What do you wish for? I asked, swallowing fear about her creeping onto a balcony alone at night.

I wish that one day, I could be a really nice girl, she said happily.

Oh, oh. I smiled and winced and blinked. Why aren’t all of our wishes like that?

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