New Year, Same Old Me

I love January. I love the pristine newness of a brand new year as it lays before me, even if the only evidence of it is just a new wall calendar. I love that symbolic blank slate and it’s unlimited potential for the amazing and the wonderful.

Being raised a good Catholic girl, to me the morning of January 1st feels a lot like coming out of the confessional freshly purged of my sins. I’m 3 Hail Marys and an Our Father away from heaven – hooray! That is, until I sin again. But until then, I feel…perfect.

Outside the catholic church (where I now reside) it’s not often we get the chance to start over, but on a wall calendar, you get to do it every 12 months. As we say goodbye to the previous year’s missteps and mistakes, we pledge, perhaps high on champagne and the promise of a new year, that we’re going to get it right this time. That this year, we’re going to be thinner, prettier, nicer, funnier, happier, or most simply put, better.

The only problem with this clean slate approach is that I’m the same old me – the same soft, dimpled (not in a remotely cute way), perpetually sleep deprived, grumpy that I’m a taken for granted wife/mother/friend/ sister/daughter/chauffeur/volunteer that I always was. I still waste too much time on social media and reading People.com, I still obsess about getting rid of my stretch marks, I take on too much, I fall short, I’m vain, I envy, I begrudge, I yell, and I’m slow to forgive. And I realize this is true shortly after the champagne wears off and I have another 353 days before I can wipe the slate clean again.

So this year, on January 17th, I resolve to be good enough. That’s it. To be me and (this is the tough part) to be happy with it. No 30 day challenges for me – fitness, dieting or otherwise. No more saying no to shortbread. These are things I know I can accomplish. I have, in fact said yes to shortbread 3 times today. The trick is, and will continue to be, to not beat myself up about said shortbread. And to continue to do the things I love with abandon – run, write, hang with my family and friends.

Perfection is a lonely place, frequented by skinny, hungry and therefore, grumpy people. I think I’m finally realizing I’d rather be fat and happy.

Love Lucie

Happy Birthday to me

Another winter holiday season is upon us, so light up another candle on the cake for me.

We joke that the women in our family are fertile once annually, in March, as we celebrate birthdays all December long. My sisters (twins on the 10th), my mom’s (the 19th), mine (the 19th – yes on the same day, I cannot imagine a worse birthday dinner than hospital food!), baby Jesus, my first son (the 28th) and my third son (the 29th). You think you have it rough buying Christmas gifts and whipping up turkey dinner for 20? Try hosting 5 birthday parties – the invites, the goody bags, the gifts, the thank you cards – and toss non-stop feasting and drinking into the mix. December is my Ironman, my Everest, except I get to do it every year.

My husband is still scarred from my 29th birthday, when I spent the day in inexplicable waterworks (better left for another post). Turning 40 was, a blissful non-event, as my (relieved) husband swept me away to sunny Maui. The heat (and champagne!) made me forget it was my birthday at all, which is what I wanted. As I look back on how much I stressed about turning 40, I was quite shocked at how much it felt like 35, or even what I imagine 45 to be for that matter. I counted my many blessings and thought to myself, well if I’m halfway there, I’ve still got a good chunk of living left to do! After all, my grandmother kept smiling her sweet smile till she was 95! While I may have good odds in the genetic lottery in terms of longevity, lately I’ve noticed that others are not as lucky. This August, I met a wonderful woman who had been battling colon cancer for the last 12 months. She was so quick with her dazzling smile, you hardly noticed her chemo port and we shared a few chats about our similarly aged children poolside. I recently learned that she had died a few weeks after our chat and while I didn’t know her well, I was devastated. She was my age, an Iron(wo)man, with 2 young kids and a husband who needed her. I spent an hour bawling inexplicably to a dear friend, crying about a woman I didn’t know. My wise friend hugged me close and then told me that recognizing my own vulnerability was what was making me weep. This vulnerability, the fact that I really could be here today and gone tomorrow, she said, is making me realize how very precious every waking moment is and it scares me. It really does.

So this December birthday marathon, I turned 42. I was celebrated and felt the love, but instead of brushing the attention away as I normally do, this year I savoured it, like a Lindt chocolate truffle after a 2 week cleanse. This birthday probably (hopefully!) won’t be my last, but when you live as though it might, you don’t waste your time on the cheap Cadbury stuff.

Its taken me awhile to get back here, to be able to live in the present like my 5 year old. And I don’t stay here all the time, I’m still dogged by what I should be doing rather than focusing on what’s really important, but it’s nice to be able to recognize when I’ve gone off the rails and then make my way back again.

As a fallen Catholic, the new year always gives me that fresh “I just got out of the confessional” feeling, a feeling where anything is possible. Like the blank pages of a new notebook, or putting on a crisp white shirt before heading out for dinner, new years bring new ventures, new resolutions, new goals and new dreams. But how long before the perfection, the freshness and newness, fades? How long before it becomes a tattered old notebook or a spaghetti sauce splattered shirt? How long before I fall off the resolution wagon? And even worse, how much longer till a new year presents itself?

How about now?
Love Lucie

New Year New Me

Growing up a Roman Catholic, I’ve always loved that feeling you get right after you step out of the confessional. 3 Our Fathers and 3 Hail Mary’s away from free at last, free at last, free at last! With my past transgressions absolved, I love that feeling of weightless and beginning anew.
New Years Eve has always had the same effect on me. New calendars, new resolutions, and a new leaf with limitless potential. Now at 41, I should know that there is no new me, just the old me, the same-old swearing, grumpy, disappointed in others me, who’s always trying to squeeze herself into a smaller jean size. But every December 31st, like Pavlov’s dogs, I wipe the skid-marks clean.
This annual cleansing comes with it, a self-imposed pressure to introduce the New Year with a BANG, to give the new me at TA-DA(!) debutante-style welcome. But ever since that New Year’s Eve in Grade 12 when my parents wouldn’t let me go out to unveil the new me, a decree that unravelled the new nicer, happier me in about 10 minutes, I have felt enormous pressure to have a picture perfect New Years Eve.
Totally hot outfit? Check.
Champagne? Check.
Totally hot someone to kiss at the stroke of midnight? Check.
Clear view of Dick Clark/Ryan Seacrest/that Big Apple for the countdown? Check. But even with all the boxes checked, the new me always fizzles out by Valentines Day.
To combat this, this year my lovely husband and I thought we’d try something we’ve only done 3 years in our entire adult lives (the years our children were born), and that is, stay home on New Years Eve. I actually think it was my idea, as the new “I want to be a better mommy” me was percolating in my head. But as the countdown approaches, I’m freaking out a little. All my friends are going out on the town, smelling and looking delicious, ready to ring in the new year! As such, my grumpy, disappointed self has reappeared in Lululemon sweats and has no intention of leaving before midnight. I hope my family understands. At least they’ll be able to recognize me tomorrow morning!

Happy New Year everyone!

Love Lucie