I have never been the type to make resolutions. Frankly (and sadly) I lack the self discipline to follow through. For that reason, I am a chubby woman with a disorganized house. I am a barely passable cook, and a terrible baker. I have spurts of domestic efficiency, followed by ambivalent indolence. The bar is low. I know, because I set it there. For example: I promise myself over and over I will Facebook/Twitter less and Chicago Now blog more, and yet I recently took time to set up a Twitter account for Rosie, our new Australian Labradoodle. (@rosiedoodledog if you are inclined to commune with a beast) I’m lost.
One minor goal I set for myself is to keep a daily journal for the last year. Very little action worth noting takes place in my personal space, so I followed Steve’s example and adopted a little book that keeps 5 years’ worth of short observations stacked on a page. I can at least scribble a sentence as I hit the bed.
I can proudly claim that on Sunday, I will be starting Year 2. My Jan 1 2016 entry notes that I babysat for Matthew. Sure, it wasn’t a groundbreaking event. But recalling it DID remind me that had rehabbed from 2 herniated discs that caused him great pain and immobility. I’ll take the excuse for a mini-celebration.
Generally I just summarize the benign nature of my day. I look for the bright spots. Mark the moment. Every so often there is a bona fide “TA DA” or a “BOO”. I only complain about the spouse if his behavior is egregious, because no one wants bad behavior immortalized. And what if he peeked, and a wound that had cauterized was reopened? Once is enough for most animus. (to be clear, he does not inspect my book, or so he brags. I, on the other hand have sometimes glanced to see if his take on a day was the same as mine.By and large he knows A} not to trust me to NEVER look at his entries, and B} Not to say heinous things about me. )
Steve’s book traveled with him as he negotiated a return to radio, cared for his dying father in California, cleared out his childhood home for repurposing, and stepped into the airwaves at WLS. His summaries of the day are twitteresque in their economy. He snaps a shot of the day: no complaints, no regrets. In the subsequent year, he re-reads the past entries, and often celebrates growth or progress. Once in awhile he has to acknowledge that the same things keep happening. Or he gets to cheer when they improve. He often shares his journey with me as we call it a day, and this communal marking of time can trigger gratitude, resolve or meditation.
Steve is in Year 3. Scribbling the recap is as much a part of his bedtime ritual as white boxer briefs and a white t shirt. Yeah, a habitual guy. (TMI?) His adherence to this process has tipped my chaotic persona so that I can brag here about 365 snippets. It is a start- the damn book is for 5 years. God willing, I’ll be around and with enough brain activity to continue. Last year, I planned to write each year in a different color of ink. I picked purple, the royal color to kick off Janet’s opus. Damned if that pen didn’t fall under the nightstand. I shifted to blue, then black, and now I have a lovely red rollerball in service. The book looks like hell. Some nights I use handwriting, sometimes all caps, sometimes printing. It is a true window into my freeform brain: ethos, logos and pathos are all fighting to dominate. Most days, it’s a draw. I guess that should scare me, but I’ve been jumbled for so long that reform seems a foolhardy goal.
All of this is a serpentine way of saying that I am resolving to be here more often. I cannot promise anything profound, but hope to (on occasion) be pithy or entertaining. I’ll do my best to use good grammar. I’ll aspire to action verbs. My kids are gone, and I must respect their privacy, so get ready for tales of the new dog…(did I mention she has a twitter account? You will notice that I often get my Janet account (@jntplnt) mixed up with my puppy account, and post some searing social commentary as a DOG. That is my chaotic norm;I cannot delete these mistakes fast enough. Of course, Rosie is a smart little beast, and occasionally I let her thoughts about current affairs stand.) See what is ahead for you? A true split personality. Resolve/ennui, joy/grumpiness, person/dog.
Come back. And Happy New Year. Year 2 in the Book of Janet. With so many sentences ahead.