It’s the end of a decade. Isn’t that amazing? I am not in the camp that says 2021 is actually the beginning of another decade so don’t lecture me. I prefer the round numbers of 10 and 20.
In 2020, Mike and I will have been married for 20 years. Nick will celebrate his 15th birthday. My dad will turn 80, my brother 50, and my nephew 20. Bob (the dog), Dave and Ethel (the cats) will collectively turn five. I will have been at the CVC for ten years. My niece will graduate from UW and my nephew from Sheridan College this coming year. Wowser! Seems like it’s going to be an epic year all the way around.
I always get a kick out of the commercials that fire up on December 26. We go from nonstop Christmas themes to relentless ads pushing diet programs, exercise machines, and gym memberships. They’re no dummies. They know we lost our minds (and waistlines) to the lure of eggnog, fudge, prime rib, cookies, and wine during the last three plus weeks. Heck, Thanksgiving was a week later than usual so we just rolled right into Christmas food debauchery without a pause. Drying out and slimming down look like a requirement come January 2. Add a brand-new decade to the equation and we’re feeling even more inspired to make some big changes. Who wants to spend 2020 chunky and out of shape? Sure, my cat Madge is ok with it, but no such luck for the rest of us.
I may fire up a few weeks of Paleo eating and attempt a dry January, but I’ve decided that my big and audacious goal for 2020 is a little different. Three friends lost their dads suddenly this year. None had been ill for that long. All were in their 60s and 70s which, at the ripe old age of nearly 52, looks to me like spring chicken material. It all seems so senseless and it also brings home your own mortality.
Reading Sonja Caywood’s column in The Scene today really struck a chord. She eulogized our mutual friend, Marci Mock, whom we lost far too young. Marci was never afraid to try something new and instead of waiting until she retired, she had a special room in her house, or she made extra time, she just leapt into creating art. She was fearless and fully immersed herself in her new pastimes. Marci didn’t expect to be instantly talented when she started taking Sonja’s art classes. She did it for the process, not the product. She tried everything and saw art in everything.
How many of us won’t take a writing class because we’re afraid we’ll have no talent? Avoid traveling to someplace new because we fear being uncomfortable? Won’t paint the bedroom green because we don’t know anyone else who has a green bedroom? Shy away from trying the curry dish because what if it’s too spicy?
At any given moment, I am all these people. In 2020, I resolve to embrace the process and not the product. I already have a green bedroom and I love curry so that’s handled. However, I’m my own worst critic when it comes to writing or creating anything that vaguely looks like art or crafty projects. Going to a country where English is not the local language makes me uncomfortable. If I can learn from Marci and lean fully into the unknown and the awkward, think of all that I can learn and how much I can grow.
Waiting until my kids are in college, or we have more money, or I won’t look like an idiot are no longer acceptable reasons to avoid putting myself out there. Making myself vulnerable and shutting down the voice in my head that assures me I have zero aptitude will go a long way. So will lowering my expectations and my grandiose visions of what success looks like.
Live a little. No. Live a lot. Be like Marci. You have no idea what tomorrow will bring, and you can’t be instantly good at everything. Make 2020 the year you went for it. Whatever ‘it’ is.