Sunday, January 22, 2012

Another Guilty Pleasure

Tonight, on my way home from yoga, I caught an interview with Gregory Maguire. He's the brilliant author who takes fairy tales and turns them on their head. That is not what tonight's post is about. Sorry. But he did strike a chord with me.
He reminded me of a lost era. He reminded me of my childhood. In explaining how his ideas came about, he reminisced about a time when there were only 3 channels on TV. I came a little later, and can remember  just 10. I thought my family was really super high tech when we had 10 buttons to push, rather than a dial to turn on our television. I could feel a little bit of the excitement from long ago when Maguire shared how the Wizard of Oz was scheduled to air once a year, and it was eagerly anticipated. These days, most kids grow up seeing their latest favorite movie until it wears a hole in the floor. Oh, waxing nostalgic, when The Wizard of Oz came on, it was an event. We marked it on the calendar, we made popcorn, we may have even curled my hair; I'm not sure.
What has this to do with guilty pleasures? Just this: I'm just 30 minutes away from part 3 of Downton Abbey on Masterpiece Theater. It's a period drama, but I won't have a freak out if you call it a Soap Opera. It might be. Only the acting is better, the location is better, the story is better and ooh la la the wardrobe is better. But sure, it's a soap.
I had to wait a whole year for this. Actually, more than a year. It's the same feeling I had while waiting for the next Harry Potter book or movie. Anticipation.
This connection in and of itself is obvious. Least, I think it is. But, just to really drive it home, I recently had a little exchange on facebook regarding Downton Abbey. A friend of mine, (forgive me friend for using you as my foil), wrote: "Managed to watch seasons one and two of Downton Abbey in three nights. Now what?" After a little bit of confusion on my part, as all of season 2 has not yet aired on Masterpiece, I discovered she'd watched it all on some website. And you know what ensued? She was jealous of me that I have several episodes yet to view.
I didn't think about this exchange until I heard the interview with Maguire. And then I realized, I'd been looking forward to Downton Abbey all week. I've known no matter what happens this week, good or bad, on Sunday night there's nail polish, wine and Masterpiece Theater. (Truth be told, if handsome man asked me to dinner, I'd watch it online later this week.) But the point's gooooood to look forward to things. And, it's not often I do look forward to something. Everything is so right here, right now. Tomorrow is crashing in on us instead of being a beautiful wistful full of possibility and mystery day to anticipate. I'm going to take some time to think about some other things I can look forward to. There's a saying that goes, "Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today?" Just for this moment, I'm going to think about replacing instant gratification with, why consume today what you can eagerly anticipate tomorrow?

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Words in the New Year

I love words. I collect them like flowers. I mentioned elsewhere, I've been bereft of words today. In fact, I believe I've actually growled several times when I just couldn't find the words I wanted. Perhaps I had the words even, but I refused to string them together, refused to let my thoughts run their course.
I have been told my whole life to keep expectations low. If we keep expectations low, then we cannot be disappointed. I beg to differ.
I had no expectations of the transition from 2011 to 2012. And yet, I was a perfectly disappointed monster last night. I hadn't given much thought at all to what I'd do to ring in the new year. I could care less really. And after having been awakened at 4 am that morning, raging all night did not seem to be on the menu.
When I found myself at an event after all, having left a wonderfully warm and delicious house party, I thought the evening would be a breeze, as I had no expectations. I could just be. So I thought.
That is not entirely true. I could not just be. I had to navigate through crowds of people all doing the drunk bump up and down narrow corridors and on the dance floor. I wished I was wearing hiking shoes, as the flooring inside and out was a death trap. All evening, the heel of my boot managed to find every random hole in the floor or upturned brick. I craved a cane, or even a walker. I might have some rage issues, because I wanted to punch whoever invented the strobe light. Really only cool if you're totally hopped up on drugs. (I imagine.) I'm getting old, and though I've never been the cool kid, I'm now hovering somewhere in the negative numbers of cool. I'm going to have to start paying people to be cool for me. I look like I've been sucking on a lemon, and have to do things like go outside and pull myself together.  Drunk people are maybe fun to watch if you can remain disengaged, but as an empath....not so much.
I told my Mom today that I wished I was Amish. I'll give you a moment to let that sink in.

I learned something today, that I think I already knew. You probably already know it too. You're probably even shaking your head at me right now forming the word "duh" under your breath. I think it is possible to keep expectations too low. I think it is possible I was so blase about the New Year that I had no intention. I think low expectations and  a lack of intention, (and a lack of sleep) equals a very crabby woman wishing for a walker on a Saturday night. Sad. More importantly, if it's true that if you expect the evening to go poorly it will, then you should follow the converse; keep your expectations high.
I think it's possible to create a better outcome no matter where we start. I think always expect the best. Listen to your heart. Stay in good humor. Get enough sleep. Listen to your heart. Be honest. Be kind. Listen to your heart. Laugh. Laugh some more. And always. Listen to your heart. Did I alienate any men? Sorry. Listen to your heart anyway. Even if you claim not to have one. Because that's the other thing I learned. (again.) In my heart of hearts, I wanted to stay home. And I didn't listen to my heart. I have to laugh at how I proclaimed last week that each day is ours to do with what we will, and a week later I gave it away. Sometimes the simplest things are actually the most outrageous.
Today, the first day of 2012, the first words to pierce my heart that has felt like a bleak winter whiteout since 4 am yesterday were from Neil Gaiman. He says:
I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you'll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you'll make something that didn't exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.
Flowers are budding in my winter heart again. The thought of living outrageously unlocked my words, not just words for blogging, but words for living. It is the key that gives me something to be excited about this year. Listening to your heart will sometimes seem outrageous. Listen anyway.
May you have an outrageous year full of kindness, that which you give, and that which you receive. And may you expect the best, and receive that as well. Here's to expecting the best in 2012. (Unless the Mayans were right, and then well, shoot. Expect the best anway.)