New Year’s Realizations

January 10, 2012 § 7 Comments

I hope that you had a delightful holiday season and that you and yours are settling in to 2012 with peace and happiness.

Like everyone else, my holiday was a frenzy of travel, guests, activities and gifts. My routine went completely out the window, of course, and I was only able to exercise sporadically. My vegan diet was a joke, not so much because I was tempted — I wasn’t  — but more because Christmas foods apparently consist of meat wrapped in cheese dipped in an egg-and-milk batter, fried and then dusted with sprinkles. I was a guest in people’s homes and away from my own kitchen, so whaddaryagonnado? (I didn’t eat any meat, though…)

I’m a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. I never would have started figure skating three years ago unless I had resolved to do so after several glasses of wine on New Year’s Eve. It is still one of the great joys of my life and I skate every single week. But I don’t really have one this year. What I have instead is a realization.

I’ve realized that it’s okay to be nobody.

As a classic Type-A automatron, I have spent the vast majority of my life doing things that will be seen, appreciated and applauded. I was a theater geek, a public speaker, a performer – all things that would draw attention to me, me, me. And I loved to bask in accolades. In my career, same thing. I always put myself front and center to get the praise. My ego was on fire and praise was its fuel.

But over the past few years I’ve found myself pursuing more internal pursuits. My journey has led me away from the shiny spotlights and directed my focus inward. I can’t pinpoint when the shift actually occurred. It’s been a slow evolution, a gradual sloughing off of the things that no longer seem to serve me.

The things that interest me now are learning to prepare meals that nourish my body and my family, not starting a restaurant, catering business or online food source. Just cooking for cooking’s sake. I love to skate, but only two people I know, other than my coach and the people who are already at the rink, have ever seen me do it. In fact a full 95% of my friends and relatives don’t even know that I own skates, much less that I know how to use them. I’ve recently taken up running, and far from winning any races, I’m just enjoying the time with myself to get some exercise and check in with how I’m really feeling about what’s going on with me.

I’m also much less interested in making an impact on the people around me with my wit, charm and cleverness, and more interested in making less of an impact on the earth by creatively managing the waste in my home, eliminating superfluous spending habits and re-using the things I have. I don’t care so much how my body looks, as opposed to how it feels and what I can teach it to do. I don’t want to win any more awards, but I do want to make sure my neighborhood is trash-free.

As J.D. Salinger famously noted, it takes courage to be an absolute nobody. So it is with great courage that in 2012 I am embracing my own status as a nobody. And so far, it feels like one of the most freeing things I’ve ever done.

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§ 7 Responses to New Year’s Realizations

  • EcoCatLady says:

    What an amazingly fabulous post, and I can SOOOOOO totally relate. I used to think that it was my job that “forced me” into the position of being “indispensable” but that was just total malarkey. It was me… it’s always been me. For some reason the thought of not being important was really frightening.

    When I finally reached the point financially that I was able to quit my job, I thought life would all be bliss and happiness, but it was actually one of the most difficult times I’ve ever gone through. Suddenly there were no bosses to blame things on, no crazy schedules to keep me pumped up, and very little to feed my ego. But of all the many gifts my simple life has bestowed, learning to enjoy irrelevancy has to be near the top of the list.

    Congratulations on your realization.

    And… I am so TOTALLY impressed that you actually had the guts to take up figure skating as an adult. It’s one of those things I’ve always wanted to try, but seriously, I doubt I could even stand up on skates! And for a person with a bad knee… I dunno… seems like it would probably be a pretty bad idea. I think I’ll just have to keep enjoying it from the couch.

  • Grab those knee pads and go to the rink! From reading your blog, I get the impression there’s nothing you can’t do.

    It’s so true about work. Oh my, was I ever SO important. I still work, but I really stay under the radar and keep to myself. Many of my co-workers have only ever “met” me through email. So strange to get used to. But, like you said, I’ve learned to enjoy being irrelevant.

  • What an amazing way to think about life. I still have nagging thoughts about needing to be ‘someone’, but I do know that with billions of people in the world, that’s pretty much an impossibility. I’ll take a lot of inspiration from this post.

  • calicoginger says:

    Excellent post – how much better the world would be if more people followed your lead!

  • Lydia says:

    love your thoughts…very inspiring and relateable. I’m enjoying taking my life a couple of notches down and look back at the non-stop insanity I created in my life.

  • Emily says:

    I’m nobody! Who are you?
    Are you nobody, too?
    Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell!
    They’d banish us; you know!

    How dreary to be somebody!
    How public like a frog
    To tell one’s name the livelong day
    To an admiring bog!

    Emily Dickinson

  • Sarah says:

    Since I’ve read your post, I think about this off and on through my work week…especially when I start into my A+ resolve, then I remember ‘it’s ok to be a nobody’. Life is good!

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