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- napping in a field while storm clouds brew overhead
- walking through centuries-old woods
- articulating hopes and dreams while drinking a soy latte
- starting that art project you thought about 5 months ago
- smelling unspent rain on breezy night air
- coming home and pausing outside the front door—one extra breath, one glance at the stars—to savor the taste of these sweet final hours, the delicate finish of another delicious day.
RIGHT BRAIN: Let’s go skip in the sunshine!LEFT BRAIN: What will that accomplish, exactly?RB: Fun!LB: How is that going to further your career as a writer?RB: Sun!LB: …RB: Yaaaaaaaaay!LB: No one wants to read babble about daylight. Let’s think about how you can build a name for yourself.RB: …LB: What if you wrote something fun and amusing? Something people would want to tell other people about? Then you could justify your existence for another day.RB: …LB: What?RB: : (LB: Come on. Careers are about working hard and proving yourself over and over and over again.RB: : ( : (LB: Oh, it’s not so bad. We just need to set some goals and eventually be louder and smarter and faster and more creative than everyone else on the internet.RB: : ( : ( : (LB: Look, we’re not going to have a pity party about it. You knew this would be hard.RB: I want a nap.LB: You can’t. We have things to do.RB: : (LB: OK, we aren’t getting anywhere. Look, maybe we just need to get the blood flowing. Move around a little bit.RB: Can we go for a walk?LB: Sure.RB: And skip in the sunshine???
And we did.
Her reaction was basically this, at which point I collapsed on the counter and had an emergency Dunkin Turbo shot directly into my veins.
Later we took a walk through my hometown and admired the wintery landscape, the lacy tree limbs and frosty porch lights and drunken Giants fans falling into the snow. Despite these simple pleasures, a thought kept tugging on the back of my mind:
Now, I realize 95% of suburbanites follow basic human protocol and remove their sh*t by January 1st. It can be sad, taking down the pretty bows and bells and heirloom ornaments; it can be downright depressing, tossing that poor, used-up tree into the street. But if you or your loved ones have trouble letting go—or just want some festivity back in your life—Doctor Derby has your fix.
Make a wreath!
Yes, the solution is a ring of stuff hung from your front door. Nix the pine and ditch the orbs; there are a bazillion different ways you can celebrate the season—like, every season OTHER than Christmas.
Make it happy:
Seriously, I can’t overstate how easy it is to make a wreath. (You can also make it super-complicated, in which case you should read someone else’s blog.) Here is my three-step guide to wreathing:
1. Go to the Dollar Store and buy what appeals to you.
— Frances Moore Lappé
I didn’t make any resolutions this year. Sure, I want to finish my novel and post to my blog every day and become a better cook and make new friends and meet local artists and get involved with volunteering and start freelancing, but I didn’t “resolve” to do any of those things. If I had, my head would have exploded.
Instead, I opted for the Plug-and-Chug-to-Git-‘Er-Dun Method. Like, just do something every day or whatever.
Imagine my chagrin when I realized this wasn’t working. For the 11th day this month, it’s 3PM and I still haven’t written a lick. Didn’t I quit my job to write, like, every day? Didn’t I vow to get on some sort of schedule so that I could accomplish work-y things like writing AND submitting said writing to contests? But here it is, 3PM , and I still haven’t written anything. Seriously, how did this happen?
Haha, sorry Brain. You’re right; I know exactly how I got here. Allow me to recount in excruciating detail how “this” happens:
7:30AM: Wake up.
7:35AM: Iron Boyfriend’s work shirt because you promised to do so for three days running and now he actually needs it. Clumsy with the weight of so much domesticity, you take approximately half an hour to press six buttonholes.
8:05AM: Start a pot of coffee. When Boyfriend appears downstairs—already fully clothed—hand him a travel mug.
8:10AM: Wave goodbye to Boyfriend as he skips into the world of professional productivity. Fold the ironing board, hang up his shirt, and shake your head.
8:10:30AM: Suffer the first many mournful gazes from the dog.
8:11AM: Swap hobo sweatshirt for gym clothes.
8:20AM: Brush teeth. (Whoops.)
8:25AM: Read a fiction story in a three-month-old Washington Post Magazine. Because, you know, you’ve earned a break.
8:40AM: Face another surge of accusatory pet-eyes, feel the wash of misery suck your feet out from under you and succumb to the strength of your animal’s emotions. In other words, grab the leash and a bunch of poop bags because you no longer control your own life.
8:55AM: Realize that a) Dog is on a Mission to Point at Squirrels, not necessarily answer Calls of Nature; b) it is beginning to rain; and c) your gym class starts in fifteen minutes.
9:00AM: Suck wind while chasing Dog back up the hill to the house. Usher Dog back inside while panting heavily; hand her a treat to compensate for your imminent absence. This does not prevent a reproachful glare.
9:15AM: Pound away at your stationary bike. From beneath a blanket of sweat, confirm your self-declared truism: the perkier the instructor, the more psychotic the gym class.
10:20AM: Stagger out of the spin room and swear you’ll never eat another piece of junk again. Angle for the showers (assuming you can still walk).
11AM: Arrive home showered, polished, and primed for another heavy dose of guilt.
11:01AM: Eat a cookie.
11:05AM: Take Dog for a real walk this time. Get squawked at by some chickens in a driveway.
11:20AM: While passing the gas station, some dude holding a brown-bagged forty starts yelling and waving his free hand. He asks if you are trying to kill your dog by walking past cars. Sagely, you refrain from throwing a bag of poop at him.
11:45AM: Boyfriend calls to make lunch date. You offer to cook like the fool that you are.
12:30AM: You decide to make chili: simple recipe, ingredients on-hand, the perfect antidote on a day of drizzle and misery. Miraculously, chopping onions and opening cans only takes you 45 minutes.
1PM: Boyfriend comes home and you both eat a surprisingly delicious lunch. Victory!
1:45PM: After noticing a tick and some fleas (AUGH) on Dog, Boyfriend applies some flea-and-tick medicine to her coat. Pavlov here has trained your dog to associate Frontline with a long walk. She gives him big sad puppy eyes as he puts on his coat; when the door swings shut, she turns them on you.
2PM: Donning a hat and mittens this time, you schlep back into the cold. Dog vaults down the hill with glee and you scuffle through the rain, calves burning, in an attempt to keep up.
2:30PM: Wet and tired, you collapse into a chair so you can keep an eye on Dog and make sure she doesn’t do anything foolish, like lick her medicine or demonstrate affection. She climbs onto her bed, curls into a ball and sneaks a look in your direction. Gratitude shines in her wet doggy visage. (Or maybe she wants a treat. Let’s not go there.)
2:33PM: You finally turn on your laptop and spend a very necessary half-hour trolling other people’s blogs. You laugh and laugh, delighting in the wit and frivolity of this bizarre universe before resolving that you, too, must be a part of it.
So here we are. It’s now nearly 6PM. Why? Because I took a break to Google the new Britney Spears song?
Actually, Self, I do know why: time flies when I write for this blog. It’s how I know I’m doing the right thing, a thing I will never regret. The minutes aren’t boring; they don’t even register. I dive into words and emerge from the deep with no sense of loss, no confusion or argument. I am refreshed, excited, a brave new girl. Exactly the person I resolved to be.
- Trash Bag Purses AKA Derelique Chic September 9, 2010
- The Internet Is an Appropriate Place to Garner Pity September 15, 2010
- Welcome to My Quarter-Life Crisis November 22, 2009
- The Grapes of Wreath January 23, 2012
- The Sartorialist (This One’s For the Ladies) January 13, 2011
- Writing, Reflection & One Resolution for 2013 December 31, 2012
- Publishing Person of the Year: Whoever Wrote Fifty Shade of Gray December 18, 2012
- 3 Ways to Expand Your Literary Network November 26, 2012
- This is the paaaaaaart of me where I publish something in an honest-to-God newspaper November 12, 2012
- Your Costume is…the Grinch October 20, 2012