By Dana Gornall
Harry: [about Auld Lang Syne] What does this song mean? My whole life, I don’t know what this song means. I mean, ‘Should old acquaintance be forgot’? Does that mean that we should forget old acquaintances, or does it mean if we happened to forget them, we should remember them, which is not possible because we already forgot?
Sally: Well, maybe it just means that we should remember that we forgot them or something. Anyway, it’s about old friends. ~ When Harry Met Sally
I have a hangnail.
I notice the familiar stinging/soreness as I stand in the kitchen waiting for the bread to pop out of the toaster. Sipping a cup of freshly poured coffee, I stand waiting and pick up the carafe to refill the few sips I have taken. It’s morning and I’m tired—not just tired from freshly woken sleep, not just tired from being up at 3 in the morning to have a conversation with my son who finally just got in, not just tired because it is the end of a long work week, but wholly and thoroughly tired.
The toast pops. I’ve been trying to eat less bread lately—trying to focus on more whole foods. But today I succumbed to cinnamon toast with peanut butter. I feel the sting from my hangnail again and try to nibble it away with my teeth, but no luck.
The decade is ending soon. This thought didn’t really hit me until I was scrolling through social media the other day and saw a meme about it. It’s funny how we can know something at the front of our minds, on the surface, and yet once in awhile that knowledge hits full force like a lightening strike and we fully realize the meaning of it.
A decade. What have I brought to the table for the last 10 years?
A decade ago I was in a crumbling marriage. In the midst of children, financial struggles, figuring out who I was and desperately wanting something to change soon, I often found myself caving inward more and more. Life was on high speed. I ran like a machine, mornings into days, days into nights. There was no stopping and being present. There was only planning for the next moment and trying not to get sucked into the ones that had already passed. My world felt like it was in a constant state of upside down.
Two decades ago I was pregnant with my son. I had been married for five years and was settled into my career, post college. We had a starter home—a colonial near the lake in a struggling steel town. I was anxious about becoming a mother, and growing thicker and more swollen by the day. My identity would be shifting into a different role and I was in a crossroads. My world would be turning upside down soon.
It's funny how we can know something at the front of our minds, on the surface, and yet once in awhile that knowledge hits full force like a lightening strike and we realize the meaning of it. ~ Dana Gornall Click To Tweet
Three decades ago I was finishing up my senior year of high school. I had come this far with childhood and adolescence, and in just a few months would be starting a new chapter. College. Adulthood. I was at a point that was hinging on change.
Here we are now, a new decade. I think about how far I’ve come and how far I have yet to go. Life is swept up in moments that seem to blend together at the edges. You think when you are becoming an adult that understanding will somehow just bloom from deep inside after all the years of being taught and told how to do things. And we wait, and wait, and wait, realizing nothing happens that easily.
Where will my life take me in this next decade? I’m in another point in time, hinging on change. Although, maybe we are always in that spot, resting on the corners, ready to fall one way or the other. My youngest child is graduating high school. She has come this far and is getting ready to move forward and her world will be flipping upside down. Unsure of what to do with myself on so many nights, I stand in the shadows, ready to be there for times I am needed and finding I am needed less and less.
I tiptoe in my socks to my room with coffee in hand, careful to not make a sound and keep my children sleeping a little longer before they wake and move on with their day. I like the security of them in their beds, remembering mornings when they woke me up for breakfast, to get ready for school or whatever we were doing for the day.
At the risk of being cliche I think this decade will be about finding myself again.
It will be about shifting my identity. For so long my entire being was enveloped in mothering and family, balancing work and house and kids. In the spaces of quiet and loneliness I’ve slipped into mind-numbing activities like television and YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. I’ve shelved the person I am, and became the spectator of watching the world go by.
When the clock strikes midnight this December, I will resolve to spend less time watching television, less time scrolling on my phone, less time standing in the shadows. No more wondering what to do with myself. It’s time to write, time to meditate, time to read, time to go to yoga or kickboxing or for a walk. Because as the days turn into weeks, into months, into years, into decades, and all of the moments blend together with frayed edges, I want to be able to look back at each time I stood there on the hinging of change and know I made it through gracefully. At least somewhat.
My coffee cup is drained again. My hangnail is still there, reminding me of the present moment. My children are still asleep in their beds and my dog is sighing as he rolls onto his side on the bed.
A new decade is beginning soon. What will you bring to it?
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