Sometimes unexpected events occur that shake one’s life foundations and it becomes very clear that what one believed to be important actually holds very little meaning. Just such an event impacted my life over Christmas.
It was the day before Christmas and all was not well. My grandmother—who is the rock of our family—moved about like sand snaking on a windy road in the desert. Down the hall she would weave, clutching at the half-inch chair rail for balance. At times she would be mentally present and at others, in a world I could not see or access. She was drifting. There were more signs that I see now, looking back, but was blind to their significance at the time.
And then she fell.
Hospital rooms. Doctors. Long nights. Tests. Scans. Questions. Nurses. Cardiologists. Neurologists.
My grandmother had been the victim of a stroke.
In the days that followed Nathan had to return to work, as did my father. That left my mother and I to handle things in this small Southern town far away from our current native habitat. There we would know the best doctors to take her to. There we would know people to call for support. There we would have our men to wrap us in warm embraces when we felt ourselves falling apart. But we were not there.
We were here.
But in spite of the sleepless nights and the worry and the planning, some of my ghosts of Christmas’ past came creeping in. Mr. Past will make an appearance in an upcoming post. As will Cameron. I’m not sure why I allowed myself to be surrounded by temptation among all the stress. It was almost like a test. A science experiment if you will.
If you mix a highly stressed, emotional and horny Marian with her high school love while she is in a committed relationship with Nathan (but Nathan is several hundred miles away), what will she do?
If you put Marian alone in a house with a man she had a severe crush on in high school who claims to have been looking for her for 16 years (which of course stirred up all sorts of emotions), what will she do?
So after leaving you with those two questions to ponder I will tell you this. My grandmother is stable and recovering. And I am so very thankful.
I will not say Happy New Year to you all because for many of us happiness is a moving target. Instead I leave you with a quote from Neil Gaiman. Because he has said what I feel already. And right now I’m all about efficiency rather than pride in being original.
And for this year, my wish for each of us is small
and very simple.
And it’s this.
I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.