I’ve been anticipating this day recently, but not enough to actually investigate when it would be here. Thankfully for the multitude of apps that had my back, I woke up to the notifications that today is the one year anniversary of starting my blog!
Prior to today, I was expecting to think something along of the lines of “that’s neat” and to feel a little proud of keeping this going for a whole year, when I was really not sure what I would be capable of. Now that it’s here I think and feel that, but on a much greater scale. It’s AWESOME and I ROCK.
I also had the impression that I was going to avoid a one-year reflection post. But then the reflecting overwhelmed me and you can guess what I do when I’m overwhelmed with emotions and thoughts. “Bake?” Okay, yes, but write. (I totally made challah yesterday and the best damn French toast ever this morning with it.) My birthday is next week and I think I’m actually more excited for today, which is wacky because I love my birthday. However, this won’t be just about me because as fascinating as it is to me how different my situation is and I am than this time last year, even without the global crisis, I’m more intrigued by how this anniversary is making me reflect differently than anything else does.
When I think about what was going on when I started this blog and my writing pursuit I can remember everything. There’s the big stuff like the longing for something that was just my own, wanting to express myself in a new way, feeling like I could contribute to the world something I felt was missing, and the vulnerability of it all. I remember what it was like when my husband took my daughter on an outing just to give me time at home alone to write and what their support meant to me. Hers wasn’t exactly voluntary, but you wouldn’t know it. I remember having guilt no matter what I did, but instead of chastising myself for wanting to be with her all the time I was able to feel that longing AND feel great about what I was doing for myself.
Then there’s the really little stuff like what pastries I ordered at the coffee shop I took my laptop to for the first time since college. I remember getting frustrated with WordPress themes and rewriting my intro page at least ten times (which I should do again really). I can still see how our apartment was arranged and probably recall what we had for dinner most nights that week.
Who I was and what I was doing and feeling is there in the filing cabinet of my brain, just as easy to pull up as anything tangible. I’m not one of those people that can do that for any date in their life, so why is this one so clear? The simple answer is that it was traumatic. I didn’t make the decision to start something new because things were just going perfectly and I had all the time and energy in the world to spare. It was an attempted solution to a problem, a few problems, and a whole slew of emotions that needed addressing and quickly.
This can’t be unique to me. My guess is that we all make big decisions and big changes when that’s what we need, not because we’re coasting along merrily. And we need to when things are dire or close to it. So while the calendar may be celebrating the day I started a blog, really it’s the day I was pushed hard enough by things I wanted to be better that I started something new and very different.
Everyone wants to get all nostalgic and reflective on New Year’s. Or at least that’s what those who profit on holidays make us think. But if nothing really momentous happened to you around that time, why and how are you supposed to do that? I think we all have days we can think of that are more impactful than the changing of the year.
Maybe it’s the day we made a big move, started a new job or left an old one, invested in a new hobby, or let go of something or someone that was difficult but necessary. Sometimes changes happen we didn’t ask for or anticipate. Maybe celebrating the day your house burned down isn’t super joyful, but the date you moved back in? That should get annual attention.
Those dates should be on our calendars more than most other holidays. The day you took that step and made that change is the best time to reflect on what life was like before that. So instead of feeling shameful, guilty, or angry about the situation it can help you remember how you overcame it.
That reinforcement is important, even in times of ease and comfort. Difficult days are not one and done. They’ll happen again and there’s really no controlling a lot of them or their magnitude. Having those personal holidays to draw upon will give you the evidence that not only will you be okay, but you’ll make something out of it worth celebrating year after year.
Next time you’re reminded of a day that marked the start of something great, excuse my language, but mark that shit down! I know you have at least one digital calendar you can use to set a yearly reminder. Then like any good holiday, pick something arbitrary to go with it. Like buying yourself flowers, watching the sunset somewhere new, or I don’t know, dye eggs and lead a parade around your house. Feel free to steal my French toast idea, it’s a keeper.