During my adolescence I thought it quite profound to discuss the question, "If you found out that you were going to die, who would you call? What would you say? And why are you waiting?" At the time, my answers (not surprisingly) always involved confronting the object of my latest heartbreak and/or secret crush. He would, of course, be moved to tears by my eminent demise and tragic love scenes would ensue.
Then I moved out on my own, and I was a bit too busy paying for electricity to worry myself with such matters. But now I have a husband, a house, and (gasp) steady access to health care. This is all wonderful. But I've discovered that with great security comes great complacency.
Don't get me wrong. I love my life. I love my husband. And I'm no longer gaining perverse satisfaction from imagining dire deathbed scenes. But it recently occurred to me that we've put off having kids specifically so that we can experience certain things and accomplish certain goals before we put our energy into parenthood. Sounds smart, right? And maybe it would be, if we didn't spend so much of our time (a) engrossed in the banality of everyday tasks or (b) whining about our lack of energy and lazing about the house.
So this year, I'm not making a virtuous new year's resolution. I'm not going to try to exercise more, or lose weight, or (heaven forfend) quit whining about things that annoy me. Instead, my resolution is to quit waiting. Quit waiting for the perfect circumstances. Quit plodding away at the daily to-do list and instead pay attention to a list I actually care about. Here are the top five things I'll quit waiting to do:
(1) Travel more. The Husband and I want to take interesting vacations, but he keeps saying that we don't have the time or the money. To break us out of that mindset, I'm determined to orchestrate four mini-breaks to local destinations (one mini-break per season). In winter 2009, we will take the train to Portland, OR for two nights at the Benson Hotel. I've already made reservations!
(2) Spend more time with family. My grandmothers are getting older and my nephews and nieces are growing fast! Why guilt-trip over our lack of contact when I could reinvest that time in actual visits?
(3) Take classes. As a Christmas gift, The Husband signed me up for an online writing class with Patricia Kay. I'm so excited! I'd also love to learn some non-writing things. I'm hoping to convince some of my friends to join me in something aerobic and naughty (like pole-dancing lessons). And at some point (I don't know if it will be 2009), I would like to start studying Latin again.
(4) Finish Revising Mr. Right and submit it to at least four agents. This one's self-explanatory!
(5) Read five non-romance novels. (Aside from Water for Elephants, which many people have recommended to me, these are all books that I've started before and long to finish.)
- Dracula (Bram Stoker)
- Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
- Water for Elephants (Sara Gruen)
- Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 (David Kennedy)
- King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa (Adam Hochschild)