January 1st. Usually, I love it.
New Years Eve means clairvoyance; personal revelation. A tidy list on the front of the refrigerator. The satisfaction of boxes to check and goals to pursue.
But the transition from 2019 to 2020 hasn’t been clairvoyant, per say.
On New Year’s Eve I ate 2.5 brownies, scribbled some notes about confusing relationships in my journal, and then laid in bed with a little anger in my heart until the fireworks faded.
On January 1st I tried my hand at actionable goals again. But do you know? 2020 is a tricky beast. I can’t conceive anything past May.
A PhD will end and, God willing, a job will materialize. The whens, wheres, and hows are all unknown. You may call it an adventure (sometimes I do), but lately I see a great void. I see the loss of proximity to parents, the loss of garden plots, libraries, and best friends who live across the lawn. I see the unraveling of five years of social support.
Am I scared? You bet. Can I prepare for it? Not really, besides collecting Amazon boxes, making lists with ardor, and uttering manic prayers.
2020 isn’t exactly dancing into view under the banner of specific, measurable goals. So how to approach the new year?
Self-improvement, be still a moment.
This year may be more for faith than for vision. Sometimes we are simply “led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things that we should do“ (1 Nephi 4:6).
* * *
This year I am going to face change with trust in God. With optimism. Probably not with flexibility (I’m still me), but I’ll try for humor. I’ll laugh at Andy’s bad jokes at least.
This year I am going to make goals as needed. So this month I can digitize photos and plan preschool…and in August I can make new friends and find a new local library.
This year I am going to lean on my husband. I am going to cheer for him and share his difficulties and triumphs. We are going to make expensive, consequential decisions together.
This year I am going to dust off the things that I have learned during transitions in the past:
- Things take time.
- No judgment calls for the first six weeks (thanks, Mom, for the aphorism).
- God has a plan and a purpose.
This last point is where I’ll plant my sentence marker. It’s not a goal, I know. But it’s true: God has a plan and a purpose. And if I can’t see ahead far enough to etch out the annual road map with short-term goals marking the path, so be it. Sometimes we take a break from WHAT we’re doing to allow ourselves to focus on the WHYs, HOWs, and FOR-WHOMs.
2020, salutations: God has a plan and a purpose.