Umm, I started this yesterday but again, and probably mostly because Julia is home, the day ended and my eyes were too heavy to finish it after Julia was asleep.
New year. I was the lay associate for our church service yesterday. I read the announcements and welcomed the congregation to the service. It is the most public thing that I do these days since the fallow period began. It is a good thing for me to do, be public, read, announce. Julia sits with me in the front row. She has her supply of coloring books. When we arrived at church, she realized that she did not bring crayons or markers and we raided the kid bags, that are on hand for fingers that needs to be busy during services, for substitutes. Two years ago, using crayons that were not hers after she has planned to color in church would have been impossible for her. She would have begged to go home to get her crayons. She would have become unruly or had a melt down. Her ability to be flexible has increased dramatically over these years. It is not perfect -- I can hear a bit of imperfection downstairs as she works with a therapist (yes, therapy on new years day) but she does not get stuck in some transition or in some disappointment for hours at a time.
This is progress. A person does not “get over” autism, nor it is cured, but an ability to be flexible makes it possible for Julia to move more easily through a neuro-typical world.
Like church on a Sunday morning.
In his sermon, Michael talked about how he does not and never has indulged in the ritual of new years resolutions. His reasoning made me smile. It reminded me so much of David’s who also did not make resolutions. Michael said that resolutions, as someone else had written and as he understood them, were based on two ideas: regret and hope. Regret that we had failed in some way to live up to our ideal of ourselves, our best potential; and hope that we could change and do so in the future. Neither regret or hope compels us to change by themselves but together they are seen as a strong force.
Later, I read a friend’s blog who had a different take on why not to resolve at the beginning of a year: “I have been thinking about this subject quite a bit as we passed from 11 into 12. The bottom line for me seems to be that I do much better when I am quiet about what I am about to accomplish. I have reached quite a few of what seemed to be almost insurmountable goals in the past, by quietly and steadfastly moving forward until they were attained. I do have goals for myself again this year and I am going to leave it at that...they are goals and they are mine; mine to quietly and steadfastly accomplish and there will be no public proclamations about them.”
I am a person who makes resolutions each year. I also adopt a motto for the year, and I admit that possibly both resolutions and motto can be explained by regret and hope. I would not have thought of it quite that way. I do not feel that regret really comes into play for me, but the next to hone the spirit, the need for goals and reminders has always been very strong. I do usually take my time and to the extent that regret might define some of my inclination, the resolutions do repeat themselves from year to year. I must have been much more deliberate this year because although I will be repeating some of my favorite resolutions for 2012, for many of them, I have moved far beyond where I was at the beginning of 2011.
As for announcing publicly, as much as this blog is public, David would have also agreed with my friend, Lori. He was a quiet and private goal setter and he always got things done -- wrote novels, finished raw wood window frames, sent out plays and short stories, and taught. All while he was working full time. My friend, Lori, does big things as well.
I more need than they do/did to be help accountable. Maybe to my regret/hope cycle, I should add a keen sense of embarrassment if I stray too far from my stated goals. Maybe I just like making lists and checking things off. Maybe I need constant reminding.
Last year’s resolutions were ambiguous and ambitious, almost poetry for me: to squeeze the life from every minute, to leave no rock unturned, to love full out, and to invite adventure into my days. There is no need for fear. In making resolutions like those, I was resolving to go on when what I really wanted was to curl up and never leave my bed again. I wanted to turn away from everyone and everything. I was holding on to so much fear and longing and sorrow.
Twelve months later and I am not afraid that I will give up and just stop. There have been so many times in the last year that I would have been at peace to just fade away, to expect absolutely no more from myself than the necessities of a very boring life. And with only those necessities, I would have faded away. The impulse is weakened now. The resolution born out of sorrow and great fear is incorporated. Could it be that I need to post the goals just so the dreariness of my day-to-day could not be my ruse in forgetting where I wanted to be?
So, so, so, for 2012, I resolve . . . I don’t have the list yet. I wrote days ago about writing and a date. Those for sure are on my list and I am going to pretend that I am in control of both. Don’t laugh. Do old ladies with challenging children date?