It’s too late to make New Year’s resolutions, but why not January 7 intentions?
What if I begin with the way I wake up and start the day? Now that I am a widow I don’t have to take any one else into consideration. All the children are grown and the one thing that can affect when I get up is what time my son has class. It doesn’t need to impact my time to arise, but since I prefer to take my shower before he leaves the house, when he has an early class, I like to get up by 5:30 or maybe 6. On Sundays I get up at 5 so I have time to warm up on the French horn before I play at the 9:00 Mass, and on Tuesdays I get up at 5 so I can have breakfast before I walk with a neighbor at 7. I like to go to daily Mass, so I usually get up at 5:30 or sometimes 6, but if that weren’t a factor my perfect sleep schedule would be 11-7, with nothing scheduled that would make me feel rushed. I suppose my ideal day would be a day on vacation, when I wouldn’t have to set an alarm and could move into the day slowly and at ease.
Of course, I could do that almost any day now—most of the time I can schedule things later but I can feel pressured if anything is on my calendar, and since I like going to Mass, especially since our three new priests came to our parish, I find myself setting alarms so I can follow my morning schedule, shower, get dressed, have breakfast, write in my prayer journal, and practice my French horn before I leave for Mass. Then I might run a few errands, like mailing a card order at the Post Office, and head back to the house where I can settle myself at my desk and contemplate the day.
For the last four days, I have been working at setting my goals for this year, and this has given me a boost of excitement as I have really thought about what I want to accomplish and why and tomorrow I begin the process of implementing them. I’ve already started on some of them and even this post is a way of beginning to brainstorm a project I want to work on when I go to a writer’s workshop in May. I’d like to write a novel that was more like a collage—a thread running through it about the life of a widow, but with poetry, perhaps photographs, some sort of greeting cards/post cards, and maybe even random thoughts collected at intervals. It’s only beginning to whirl around in my mind but breaking into creative fragments is an engine boost for moving ahead.
My dear husband frequently tried to point out to me that much of what I did was my choice; there was no "they" out there forcing me to do many of the things I thought I had to do. I lived a life of shoulds and oughts which meant I usually had a battle mentality with which I faced each day. Now when I have a great deal more freedom than I did when I was in school or raising our children, I am trying to think intentionally about what I do and what I say yes to and learn to say no to things that aren't right for me, or right for now. When I do this, I find much more joy in life and in what I choose to do--especially when I remember that I did choose it!