photo from rome, taken with an holga lens kit on my canon.
It seems that every year, many bloggers choose a word to reflect their hopes in the coming year. And while I haven't previously participated, this year I joined in.
My word this year is control. I realize that word is loaded. So stick with me.
On January 3rd, I found myself moping on my couch in a pair of sweatpants I wore when I was heavier. Sweatpants I'd saved as a "we're never going back here" reminder.
Turns out, I'd gone halfway back there.
I had been forced into my fat pants due to lost luggage on our return flight from Rome. The flight carrying our suitcases wouldn't arrive for 36 hours and unluckily for me, I'd packed every single thing I own...leaving me with no choice but to don the dusty fat pants and their emotional baggage....for 36 hours straight.
While sitting in my fat-pantsed misery, one foot up on the coffee table due to a stress fracture obtained in Rome, my husband emerged from our study, sarcastically proclaiming, "Well! It looks like the house sale might fall through. AGAIN."
He rather quickly unraveled the details involving a suspiciously low bank appraisal, contrary to the two prior on-track appraisals, which would result in a sale of our house for $35,000 lower than what we'd planned. Thirty five thousand dollars.
So, there I sat on January 3rd. No clothes. Half-broken foot. Getting screwed out of money could get us out of Kuwait as fast as possible. The day before I was a girl in Italy on her second honeymoon, and now I was just a girl in fat pants...being miserably out of control of her life in the desert.
Then in that moment, the word "control" hit me like a ton of bricks and knocked me down the rabbit's hole of exactly WHY the past 225 days...this crazy move to the Middle East...has been so difficult.
Back in my sweet old life, I had total control of what my life looked like and how I filled my days. I could work, go to school, go on little trips, wear what I wanted to, walk around in parks and museums for hours, go on long bike rides, buy flowers at the farmer's market and have parties with friends. You get the picture. But when I left all that behind and boarded a plane bound for Kuwait...almost every piece of what "control" looks like to me felt stripped away. No car of my own. No job. No school. No outdoor places to exercise. None of my favorite clothing stores. Not my style of house. Not my style of furnishings. No family. No friends.
In hindsight, I now realize I felt completely out of control. I spent months wishing I'd wake up in my old life, and discover that this time in a strange country was just one of those weird dreams you have after eating too much fancy cheese. And even now, I realize that in so many ways I've been trying to rebuild a life I loved back in the US, but I can never, ever replicate here.
It's just out of my control.
So, I found myself at the bottom of the rabbit's hole, wondering, "Okay. What CAN I control here?" And then slowly, slowly, slowly I built a rickety control ladder out of that hole.
I can control what I make for dinner.
Or how much money we spend on groceries.
I can control what color I paint my nails or dye my hair.
And whether I worked out today.
I can control who I spend time with.
And what comes out of my mouth.
I can control how clean my house is.
And what I fill my head with.
I can control how I view myself.
And I can choose how to view the world.
And yes. These are all very pathetic, house-wifey things to say...things I'd likely have laughed at four years ago. But it is honestly what I've got here. I can no longer just sit around and wish myself into my cute, cushy life from one year ago....or feel like I'm a victim of the life I'm currently in. I've spent months doing exactly that, and I have nothing to show for it but a larger pants size thanks to emotional eating. My old apartment is gone. My old job is gone. My car is gone. My cute things are gone.
That life is gone. (Not gonna lie, I teared up while typing that.)
But there are perfectly great days to be lived right here, right now with a guy who loves me...in a place that is definitely an adventure. And maybe it involves less thrift sales, craft stores, peonies, parks and museums than it once did...but those things will come again someday. I know they will.
And so, I choose to stop comparing my old life and my new life.
Instead I've given myself this mantra for 2013:
What can you control in this moment?
If the answer is "nothing", change how you think about it.
If you can't change how you think, stop thinking so much and go do something selfless.
So, that's that.
Do you have a word for this year?