December in January:

Just before the end of the past year, I decided to forgo my usual habit of cramming my annual planning into the most riotously busy time of the year. Hence, December in January, where I spend the first month of the chronological new year planning my own, to begin in February. My shrink, a.k.a. my mental Rock of Gibraltar, has known me as long as anyone who has known me for the past eight years, and better than most. (This is, after all, what I pay her for, and what my fine, union health insurance paid her for before that.)

So when she says something, I generally find it to be both wise (because she is a well-educated smartypants) and considered (because she a thoughtful smartypants). Thus was I thrilled when I relayed my decision to make this year's theme MORE ROOM and she approved wholeheartedly.

Well, almost wholeheartedly, which I guess means "partheartedly."

Room, she said, was great. She was all for it. Given that I was a workaholic, though, and may I pause here to note that she dropped that clunker in there without so much as a howdy-do?, given that, had I perhaps thought of also making a secondary theme of MORE FUN? Because "fun" was something I generally stuck in quotes and/or onto calendars, to ensure it became a bona fide action item.

Mrs. Shrink. Please. Of course I thought of it: I'm a Virgo. I think, if not overthink, pretty much everything. This is why I continue to drive my sorry, overthinking ass 52 miles round-trip once monthly to sit on your leather love seat and cry. (Well, at Hanukkah, the G-Rock also puts out some pretty nice gelt for the customers.)

I also thought of, and rejected, MORE MUSIC. Because (woowoo alert!) when I looked at MORE MUSIC on the page, I felt sad instead of happy. Which is not to say that MORE MUSIC isn't 100% splendid in theory. Many's the time I've walked by my dusty guitar or watched a great performance on YouTube or thought fondly of the couple of songs I managed to squeeze out in early 2009 and been tempted to put MORE MUSIC on my priority list.

For that gal who makes HAVE FUN an action item, though, I figured that a MORE MUSIC would feel more like a burden and less like a joy. It would be sweaty and  effortful, not easy and joyful, some good-girl perversion of the real reason to make music, which is to open your heart and communicate (and yeah, to have fun, but not necessary as a subset of MORE FUN.)

MORE MUSIC, like MORE FUN, lacked ease. And if my signal phrase for 2010 is MORE ROOM, my watchword for it is EASE. Or perhaps, "E-A-S-E." You know: now with MORE ROOM!

If my suspicions and those of my esteemed therapist are correct, that I have a tendency to beat myself up, to toil to exhaustion, to cram 10 lbs. of work into a 5 lb. day, then a natural outgrowth of giving myself MORE ROOM should be more of all the other good things: joy, music, fun, laughter, exercise, health, and rolling around on the floor with puppies. If I keep in mind that things can be done with EASE, or that life can unfold with EASE, or that EASE exists not only as an idea, but a reality, maybe I can loosen my death grip on myself and my eleventy-seven projects. Maybe some of the eleventy-seven will naturally fall away with EASE.

And maybe monkeys will fly out of my ass. I'm still conflicted, you see. But I have worked to open my heart, and it would be foolish to deny it these things it now seems to be asking for, this MORE ROOM, this EASE.

Besides, this doesn't happen every day. The small, still voice doesn't try to out-yell the Tasmanian devil with the megaphone; it waits it out. And if you hadn't noticed, my time is less abundant than it once was. When September of this year rolls around, I'll be one year from halfway to 100, and the most generous soul in the world can't call that young.

So. Thus far, we have:

  1. Theme for 2010: MORE ROOM
  2. Watchword for 2010: E-e-e-a-s-e

I can't wait to see what I come up with next. No, that's not right. Of course I can.

I have all the room I need...

xxx c