Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year's Greetings 2016: Good Stuff Can Happen

This is what I posted on my personal Facebook page on the last night of 2015, while I was watching old episodes of Firefly with my 16-year-old and struggling to stay awake:

"The big happy lesson of 2015: not everything can be planned or should be, and really good stuff can happen if you let yourself go, let yourself walk straight into it. In 2016 I hope to keep walking straight into it. Happy New Year, everyone." 

It's true. I'm known as an over-thinker and by the time I get around to acting on anything in my life I've long had a well-thought-out plan with every step and every possible outcome of those steps considered. I'm really into heavily scripting my life. It feels safe. Improv feels dangerous. Terrifying, even.

And no, I'm not much fun at parties.

While I don't think it's a negative personality trait as a whole (super-sensible girls never end up in the wrong place at the wrong time and really, at my age that just sounds tiresome and expensive rather than exciting), there are some negative consequences to allowing careful planning to become paralyzing over-thought, not even counting the party thing.

I learned this last year that you can have everything so tightly planned and so rigidly decided that there's really not any room for.....anything much. Anyway not anything the way real life happens--messily, jumbled cares and joys, and without any guarantees.

Not only did it bring progress on my house to a standstill, me unable to make any decision at all let alone some big ones I've got looming out there on the horizon, it made me unable to set any new goals for anything else in my life, either. You can control yourself right out of any future, and by the middle of the year I was getting pretty close to that point.

This sounds like a depressing way to start the new year, doesn't it?

That's where the big happy lesson comes in.

I suppose it would be too big of a shame if the over-thinker carefully planned a moment to "let myself go, to let myself walk straight into" the good stuff that happened this fall. It did not happen that way. I'm still trying to figure out just what did happen, actually. All I really know is that I went the opposite direction than my plans, did it without much thought as to why, and now find myself in an entirely different place in the beginning of 2016 than where I thought I would be.

It's the reason blog posts have been non-existent for months. The over-thinker, ironically, is still trying to make some sense of it, even though it has been good stuff. What the hell is wrong with me? Old habits die hard, if at all.

Then again, I love so much where this is going, even if....and this is huge for me.... even if I didn't plan it down to the last detail.

I know I'm discussing this in huge generalities right now, and I hope readers will temporarily forgive me. I'm trying to grasp the edge of this the only way I know how--as a writer--and for that reason I'll be blogging more posts in January. Like I said, I'm going to keep walking straight into it. I'm going to let things happen in 2016. How about you?


  1. I am really, really happy for you. I am glad you let yourself live more fully again. I think when we try to control for every outcome, we still get the ones we don't want (because that's how life goes) AND we miss out on ones we might want--because those tend to be a little more choice-driven. A little. Wishing you all kinds of happy accidents in the coming year.

    1. It seems sort of counter-intuitive, doesn't it? I'm still trying to learn some balance with this idea, but I feel like I'm off to a good start. :)

  2. Overthinking. That's what I do. I never quite realized it before until I read this.