Just like my recent blogging spurt, December ended with a “fizzle” and a “whimper” – which in addition to pointing my thoughts directly towards a Depends® commercial are the same words which constantly meddle with my exercise streak. (The definition of “exercise streak” here being, “Putting gym shoes on in an energetic fashion two days in a row.”) This fizzling and whimpering also coincided directly with the beginning of winter break in all its crazily-hectic-but-let’s-pretend-we’re-just-chillin’-and-appreciatin’ glory.
Aside from movement-avoidance and slipper-attachment issues, my winter holiday included a visit back to the Midwest — the land of superior pizza* and overtly-aggressive politeness. And for the first time since our move five years ago, it was apparent that the east coast style of civility has slowly been seeping into my pores. Stopping by a Culver’s for lunch (a chain made famous for their Butter Burgers, fried cheese curds and frozen custard, and yes you just gained 5 pounds reading this aside), I found the multiple enthusiastic exclamations — “Hello! Thank you so much! Enjoy! My pleasure! Have a wonderful day! Do you need my kidney?” — immediately elicited thoughts of: Too. Much. Friendliness! But I’ll take the kidney.
However, I quickly regained my deep-rooted love of niceties as we spent the week visiting with both sides of our family, which was lovely and fun and very un-fizzly.
Except for when it wasn’t.
That’s because life is never just one way or the other when you’re a human. While we were overjoyed to see and spend time with our large, happy, healthy and vibrant extended family, we were also spending time with one not-so-healthy, happy or vibrant loved one. Getting older has meant anticipating and experiencing more obstacles and loss along the way. Grandparents. Parents. Friends. When the week was up, we said our goodbyes – both small and large.
Our mostly wonderful, but also sombering trip ended with a whimper as we made the long drive back to “normal life.” Not that life is ever normal. Moment to moment. Month to month. Every year you pull the lever on the slot machine and see if the lemons will match up. Or not. There’s usually an eclectic citrusy mix.
In my teaching life, January was filled with administering mid-year assessments, and analyzing data, and attending marathon meetings, which basically crushed my soul to the consistency of Oreo cookie filling. While, on the one hand could mean; Yes, delicious! But mostly; Yuck, lard!
But the lardy stuff (at least at school) is now done, and the deliciousness has begun again. The fizzling and whimpering always turns around. Sometimes even on the same day.
There is still sadness and fear and anxiety that silently hovers as we wait for “the phone call” from home. Love, in all of its beauty, has that disadvantage. Like the Tin Man said, “Now I know I’ve got a heart, ‘cuz it’s breaking.” But thankfully life often gives up the goods, too. And of course, we all have a say in what we let steer our moods, our outlooks and our days.
Fizzle and whimper or flourish and roar? Much of it Depends® on you.
Your turn: Which words currently describe your state of mind/being? Did your January also last 472 days? Please let me know what’s been up in the comments.
Also…I’ve been trying to laugh despite the winter blues, so maybe you’d like to check out my recent humor piece up at Little Old Lady Comedy: A Farewell Letter To My Grey Essential Everyday All-Purpose Level III-Trauma-Certified Perfect Fit Turtleneck Because we all have that one item of clothing we love that has repeatedly saved us from imminent death. I think. Thank you for reading!
Find me on Twitter @amandahoving
*Beware – I will fight you on this issue. And win. Maybe. (Actually, I don’t like confrontation — please don’t hurt me.)