The noisemakers and firecrackers are now silenced until July 4. Liquor store employees selling champagne by the case are sleeping it off while grocery-store clerks ringing up can after can of black-eyed peas are home salvaging what’s left of the holiday with their families. Times Square revelers thin out once Baby New Year arrives at the drop of the ball. But, unlike the usual helpless newborn, this little pistol has clout. Because of him or her, people start dieting and working out, smokers stop smoking and drinkers, drinking. Some begin to prioritize what’s most important in their lives. Today, the resolved become resigned. Resigned to accept that good things happen best in their own time.
I am one of the resigned. To follow are lessons I learned within the past year. Some are goals I once planned to bang out and make happen. Others, truths I have learned to embrace — even celebrate — about myself. I have ordered them from important to really, really important.
First, I have forced myself to admit that I am no longer a size two. More like a four or a six. Yeah, right. Whatever my dress size, I have learned to drape my frame with color and flair. So, the size-two clothing — teensy capris, wasp-waisted skirts, tuck-in blouses — will all go to the petite and penniless when the donation truck comes around.
Second, even in four-inch heels, I’m still short. When I was a teenager who stood a full 4’11 and 7/8, I teetered around in heels everywhere I went and wore them with everything. I was feeling so sleek and sophisticated in my heels until one day, when I was coming home on a bus and noticed, with horror, that my feet dangled two inches from the floor.
“You’re short, Kim. Deal with it,” I snapped at self in a fit of tough love, yanking off and hurling to the floor a pair of pointy-toed stilettos. The pain of wearing them cramped my toes, buckled my knees, and etched crows-feet around my eyes. Now that I’ve learned to celebrate being vertically-challenged, the only heels I wear are my sturdy but attitudinous Harley-Davidson and Western boots.
Third, the advice, “Don’t quit your day job” resonates with me louder than ever. Like a forbidden lover, I steal seconds and minutes from teaching duties to write. I would love for my book to go viral and for the royalties from the movie made from it to make me instantly filthy-rich. I dream of being famous enough to wear dark glasses and dodge paparazzi on my way to WalMart. And I would like to retire from teaching. Still, I know I’m in for at least one or two more years of duty before I can retreat to that idyllic, beachfront cottage with my laptop, trusty dog, and — oh, yeah — my honey.
That brings me to my last and most salient point. Time for a little reverse psychology, here. Remember three or four paragraphs earlier when I said I planned to bang things out, get them done? Tying the knot was one of them. So far, that hasn’t happened, but not to worry. Within the past year or two, I have realized that my fiance and I need this extra time. We’re two people with busy, productive lives. And our long-distance relationship and week-long absence from each other keep the romance alive. I love being courted. If we’re having to wait a little longer, hey, that’s okay. I’m in no hurry to rush home and set dinner on the table. To sort coloreds from whites. To wash his drawers. In short, I’ve learned to enjoy the journey of our relationship and smell the roses along the way All good things happen in due time. Marriage is a good thing. I believe that, in time, it will happen for us.
So, readers, what about you? What have you come to accept about yourselves since last year? What have you found yourselves doing more — resolving or resigning? I’d love to hear from you and to wish you all a Happy New Year.