Tuesday, December 7, 2010

#reverb10: Catching Up! A Week's Writing in One Post

Reverb10, here I go!

December 1 - One Word.Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?(Author: Gwen Bell)

If I were to encapsulate 2010 in one word, that word would be "Us." 2010 was the year when I had to start making decisions that involved someone else, whether I wanted to include him or not. I'm an only child. I've made my own decisions... pretty much my whole life. I depend on me. But, in 2010, suddenly I'm a wife. I was never one of those girls who spoke entirely in "we" while in a relationship -- you know what I mean -- but that pronoun honestly does come up in marriage. I had to take into account my husband's opinions on wedding planning, dog raising, house keeping, car purchasing -- you name it, it's now a joint decision, or at least a joint conversation. I had to learn how to let go of certain things in the interest of compromise, and, probably more important for me, how and when I needed to speak up and put my foot down on the things that really mattered to me. I'm still learning, and I know I have a long way to go. The hardest one right now is how to incorporate another person's schedule into my life -- from the timing of the morning alarm and when to start dinner, all the way through daydreaming about when we might get a house or have kids. I'm not just me anymore. I'm part of Us.

I hope that 2011's word is "Authentic." Real food. Real friends. Really in touch with what I want to do, not just what I feel like I'm supposed to do. Real love. Real, honest, self-reflection and joy. I'm scared (already) of losing myself to the life I've created and am creating. Before I start embarking on the rest-of-my-life project that is having children, I need to find the Authentic Me. And really get to know and love her. And find room for her in my real life -- not the one I hope, someday off in the future to create, but this one happening now. I hope that's my 2011.

December 2 – Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta)

The #1 thing I do each day that does not contribute to my writing is to NOT write. Putting it last on my list of things to do that, in reality, if not even by design (since I work best when I'm busy) does not get finished. Guaranteeing that I won't get there.
Clearly, I need to eliminate that, if I'm going to make this commitment to myself to try to be creative and find a creative outlet. I could say that I'm going to write first thing every morning -- and that does sound like a wonderfully attractive idea -- but at the very least, I'm going to work on it. Move it higher up the list. Right after exercise. No -- really. I'm going to do that in 2011, too.

December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

I remember walking to the bus stop after my second pilates class and seventh straight day of working out. I thought the feeling of pure joy emanating from my muscles and cells that had occurred after the first class might have been a fluke. It wasn't. It was a crisp, late fall night in Back Bay. As I left the studio and pulled on a fleece hat over my sweaty hair, I overheard a crowd of teenagers outside a church across the street start singing "Mr. Cellophane" from the musical Chicago. And they could really sing. I couldn't stop smiling. Beaming. The parade rest of my face was calm and relaxed, with upturned lips. I felt so alive and whole. I couldn't wait to get back to another class. Couldn't wait to feel so good again. I still can't.

December 4 – Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? (Author: Jeffrey Davis)

I think I was born with a sense of wonder, and, luckily, have managed to maintain it even amid adulthood. I love reading. I especially love reading about things I did not know. So, this year, I made it a point to always have a book going on my bedside table. I also gave myself permission to pick up a new book, even if I was still in the middle of another, or three or four. I mean, what's the fun in reading if it's an assignment? I love watching the world around me. Watching people go about their everyday lives. Doing everyday things like playing with their kids at the park, walking their dogs, stealing a kiss, eating an ice cream cone. So, this year, I tried to always take my dog to the park in our neighborhood on Saturdays and take time to people watch and even strike up a conversation. I love science museums. I love watching children learning about the world around them. I love remembering how I felt the first time I learned how seasons work, or where waves come from. I love getting to learn new things myself. I love the idea that museums can share knowledge with a whole community. So, this year, I got married in a science museum.

December 5 – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Author: Alice Bradley)

I think, in parallel with my word of 2010 being "Us," one of the things I have let go of this year is the idea that I get to make all the decisions. I would like to say that I have let go of my control freak tendencies, but that's a bit too rose-colored. It's more that I have let go of the illusion that it's possible to control everything. I may still want to, but sometimes (most of the time?) I can now see that I don't get to.

December 6 – Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? (Author: Gretchen Rubin)

The last things I made -- with "make" being a verb that requires completion of a task -- were the programs for my wedding. (7 months ago!) I designed them, cribbed the text from a million different places, printed them at work on specially ordered paper, and assembled them, with help from a village of friends and future-in-laws. I think what I liked best about them was that they were not only exactly what I wanted as an obsessive bride, but also turned paper and ribbon into a way to express what I found so meaningful about our deeply personal and very personalized wedding ceremony.

The last thing I started to make, but, alas have not finished, is a wedding album for our parents. It was going to be their holiday gift. But, seeing as it's already mid-December and I still haven't made it past the ceremony in chronologically organized photos, my new goal is to finish them before our first anniversary. Mother's Day, maybe. It's a pity, too, because I truly enjoy the process of making the album. I just need to find the time.

December 7 – Community Prompt: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011? (Author: Cali Harris)

I only really started reading blogs in 2010. In 2009, I got engaged and discovered Weddingbee. I was hooked, to the point of reading it on my blackberry every morning on the bus into work. I picked out my favorites, read all of their posts, regaled my husband and best friend with stories. Once I got sufficiently far into planning that I did not need tips, I stopped reading. And realized I missed it. In 2010, I followed a number of my favorite bees into their "real life" blogs. These blogs, not surprisingly, link to other blogs with other amazing people who I love reading about. So I bookmarked their blogs, too. And explored their links. Recently, I found a few amazing places where my little community circles back -- where all these people that I feel like I know also know each other.

In 2011, I would like to actively and actually join that community. Instead of lurking in the shadows and reading about people's lives from afar, I would like to speak up. Leave comments. Get to know some of the people who have inspired me for the last two years. Treat them as people, rather than just the celebrities of my computer. I would also like to put my own voice out there, to add to the conversation. And know that I have something worthwhile to add, too.

Why Not Today?

As you can tell, my great dramatic announcement that I wanted to write didn't go far. July! I haven't posted since July! Growl.

So, today, when I stumbled upon a project called Reverb 10, giving bloggers the opportunity to reflect on this year and manifest what is next, it spoke to me. In, let's be honest, really personal places. I may be 7 days late, but I still feel like I can be part of the party. So, here I go again. Only this time, I'm actually going to do it!