Aspen Princess: 2018 will be a mother of a year
The Aspen Princess
The new year is a few days away, and even in my haggard, mother-of-a-toddlemonster state, I still can’t resist the whole idea of a fresh start.
Even though the number on the calendar is somewhat arbitrary, it still holds a lot of power. At the very least, the first day of the first month of the new year is a great time to decide you’re going to give up drinking before noon. (I’m kidding, but there have been days when I have actually thought about it.)
Even if life experience has shown me that new year’s resolutions are more fantasy than reality, let’s just dare to dream with what I have in mind for 2018.
1. Give up social media for a year.
Ryan and I were lying in bed the other night and we were both staring at the glow of our smartphones, scrolling through our Facebook feeds. (Like most men, Ryan keeps up appearances by never posting or commenting on anything, but he’s still looking) I thought, this is either the modern-day version of the married couple sitting in bed reading their books or this is just straight-up pathetic. Regardless of how inane, random or disinterested I become in social media, I find myself checking my phone several times a day and scrolling through feeds I’ve already read, clicking through time-suck crap and innuendo, whether it’s a link to some random article about why Brussels sprouts are the new kale, an advertisement for the Kate Spade coat I can’t afford but will eventually buy, or clicking through a series of random photos because I really wish I was spending Christmas in Hawaii too, goddammit.
My brother just got a flip phone because he’s always back and forth between living in Costa Rica and Colorado, so he needs a cellphone plan that’s cheap. “Just don’t send me any long texts,” he warned. For 30 bucks a month, he has this simple, nonintrusive communication device. And what, we pay $200 for the privilege of a smart-phone that robs us of living in the moment, just because we want to take photos of our kid and show him off to people who pretend to care but that I haven’t seen or heard a peep out of in 20 years? It’s just weird.
What if? What if I got a flip phone and just used my iPhone as a camera and emailed photos to people who actually make the effort to be a part of my life? What if I got that fancy stationery I’ve always dreamed about and sent handwritten letters to people I think and truly care about? Something tells me that this, more than anything, might empower me to live my life in an authentic way in the new year. But will I go through with it?
2. Work on a new book.
A couple months ago, I was in the bathroom at a bookstore in Steamboat and I saw a flier on the wall for National Novel Writing Month, a nationwide initiative to encourage aspiring novelists to take the plunge and write 50,000 words in one month. It even has a cute little nickname (“NaNoWriMo”) and offers all kinds of online tools and community to help you meet your goal. It’s also free, so what did I have to lose? I donated my $30 and started writing.
Naturally, I did not write an entire novel in one month, nor did I come close to the 50,000-word goal. But I did finally start a new project. I gave it a working title and started writing again. It’s been 12 years since I started my first novel and three since I finished it and two since I gave up on it, so I figure it’s a step in the right direction. Everyone says that first-time writers usually have one “throw-away” novel, so maybe that’s what it takes. I don’t know. I do know that a friend of mine once told me that success is determined by how well you deal with failure, and that’s not something I’ve ever been good at. Another friend asked me to consider what would happen if I didn’t accomplish my goals. While I am happier now in my life than I have ever been, there is always that part of me that feels like there is an itch I can’t scratch somewhere deep inside my soul that compels me to write. I know in my bones that’s what I’m meant to do, so what the heck is stopping me? I hope to find out the answer to that one in 2018.
3. Get myself back.
There’s no doubt that despite the utter bliss of creating a new life and experiencing love like you have never known it before, having a baby kicks your mother trucking ass. I mean, I’m not joking when I say I need some seriously good cream for those two black holes where my eyes used to be and don’t think I haven’t already injected my face with god-knows-what to try to undo the 10 years I’ve aged since I brought that little monster into this world. But now that he can walk, and kind of talk (even if starts almost every sentence with “No!”), and enjoys his friends and teachers at Growing Years School (thank you, Karen and Betty, for teaching him to say “thank you” because his politeness sure as hell didn’t come from us), it’s time for me to get my ass back into the G-Zones, and I mean that in more ways than one. While I am certainly not the selfless type who forgoes my own needs for others, I could still use a little more time to take better care of myself. Goodbye, gluten; sayonara, red meat; adios, carbs; hello, yoga; hello, snowboard; hello, me.
The Princess has not been to yoga in over a week and is kind of losing her mind. Email your love to email@example.com.
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“How Green Was My Valley” is a beautiful and tragic novel that stands as a poignant metaphor for the way fossil fuels have defined the human relationship with energy.