Sunday, December 5, 2010

Catching Up on #Reverb10: December 1-5

Have you heard about #reverb10?  Reverb 10 is "an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what's next. Use the end of your year as an opportunity to reflect on what's happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead."

As usual, I'm a bit late to this 2,393 person party (I'm always the last to know about the good stuff) but I love this kind of thing, so I'm in.

Truth be told, when I started reading others' posts about this, I thought this was the absolute last thing I needed in this already-bursting month of to-do's. But then you know what?  I found myself thinking a lot about these prompts this weekend ... which I'm taking as a sign that this might be something I need to do.  I tend to reflect on the year when New Year's Eve rolls around or when compiling my book lists, and perhaps this is a way of telling me that I need to slow down and reflect more in depth. 

My understanding is that while the intention is to post each day, it is all right to post several #reverb10 entries at a time.  I'm using this post to catch up on the last five days of #reverb10 prompts.  (For more information about the project, go here.)  So here goes:

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)

This is the one I'm finding myself thinking about a lot, tossing words like uncertainty and anxiety and change around in the air like a fumbling juggler.  And then the word possibility came to mind.  I think it fits for this year. The Husband's job is causing a bit of the uncertainty and anxiety at the moment, yet all is not futile; there are possibilities on the horizon, ones that might become a reality (albeit a different kind of reality) in 2011.  There is the possibility of significant change. Earlier this year, there was a new job possibility for me - one that I was initially uncertain about.  By embracing the possibility that this job offered, I discovered the best work arrangement I've ever had. 

As for a word for 2011? I'm thinking it might be change.  (Or maybe "peradventure," since I'm listening to Paul McCartney's "English Tea" as I write this. Oh, right, they're kind of the same meaning.)

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

This has actually been a pretty good year for my writing, I think.  I've managed to post something almost every day on the blog, which I'm pleased about.  I've read a record number (for me) of books.  However, I do tend to spend too much time on Facebook, and that could probably be cut down a bit in 2011.

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)

We have this summer vacation tradition, the kids and I.  For the past several years, we've been vacationing in the same New Jersey shore town where my aunt and uncle have had a home for 25 years. As part of the vacation, we go to the Ocean City, NJ boardwalk at least one night and immediately head for Wonderland Pier. Our first ride is always the Tilt-a-Whirl.  It started when the kids were slightly too small to ride it alone, so I became the designated Tilt-a-Whirl rider, thanks to The Husband's three herniated discs in his neck.

For three minutes, we laugh and we scream our heads off.  For three minutes a year, I'm the cool mom. I snap pictures of the kids' expressions as we zoom around and around, the world blending into a kaleidoscope of dizzying colors, and I tell myself never again, this is the last year, that I am too old for this nonsense. I tell myself that I don't ever want to be too old for this nonsense. They will remember this.  They will talk about this as their favorite vacation memory - for they always do. We hold each other tight as the world whirls by and I know too much to know that this is a fleeting moment in time.

I know the ride is always over much sooner than we think.

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

When you parent a child with special needs, there are always those certain moments.  They usually sneak up on you, when you realize that your son is doing something that you never imagined he would, or a milestone that took longer than other 9 year old kids to reach. 

I will never be able to watch Boo playing happily in the ocean without seeing flashbacks of 2003. We were pre-autism diagnosis in those days, and while most toddlers were content building sand castles or splashing in the waves, our Boo would have none of that.  He walked the beach, pacing like an expectant father, one of us wearily trailing with him.  Up and down, and then back again and again. Repeat. All. Day. Long.  If we had strapped a pedometer to him, it wouldn't have surprised us if he covered 10 miles.  He wanted nothing to do with toys, with the ocean.  He just walked and walked.

And then one day, a year or so later, he walked right into the ocean.  And stayed there.  And laughed when the waves came and when they crashed.  He has never paced the beach again.

We had several of these moments this year. Watching him play in the ocean, shooting baskets in our driveway by himself while I checked on him occasionally from inside the house, inviting a friend over to our home to play - and that friend accepting! - and watching the two of them play the Wii like any other two regular 9 year old boys.  We have to catch ourselves, we have to remember to catch ourselves, to stop and wonder how we got this far, for once upon a time, these simple moments were the stuff that dreams were once made of.

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

I feel like I should have some profound answer for this one, but instead all I have to offer is:  the magazines.  For years, I have been subscribing to quite a few magazines (or getting them as gifts) and rarely have I thrown them away.  I might need something in one of them someday.  I haven't had a chance to read it yet (and either I or someone else paid good money for said magazine, so it certainly can't get thrown out - or recycled - without reading it first!). 

I'm not a candidate for "Hoarders" or anything, but I definitely have more magazines around the house than the average person.  And I've never needed any pertinent piece of information in any of them.  So, out they are going, as part of an ongoing decluttering project I'm undertaking and one that will definitely continue into 2011. This fall, I've gotten rid of piles of magazines, as well as books, papers, and cute but outgrown kids' clothes.  It's a work in progress, but the first step in decluttering is giving yourself permission to let go.

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Barbe Saint John/ Saints and Sinners® said...

I totally understand giving up magazines. A few years ago, I made the same decision to stop getting magazine subscriptions as well. I had so many that I barely read any of them and usually just ended up leaving them in our laundry room for someone else to enjoy.

Now I'll look thru them at the bookstore and IF there is things I really really want to read I'll buy it then pass it on to someone else. Its saved me a ton of money and I don't feel guilty about spending money on soemthing I never looked at.

Elizabeth said...

I loved reading each of these and found particularly resonant the one about "letting go" -- of magazines in particular. I have SO MANY of them -- have always been attracted to their slickness -- but am now filled with dread when I see them piling up. I hate throwing them away and I hate having them around. You've inspired me, though, to take the first step...

KAL said...

Thanks for inspiring me to Reverb out :) I needed this and I loved reading yours...

Trish @ Another Piece of the Puzzle said...

What a neat project, and I truly enjoyed reading your responses thus far. I am tempted to do it myself but know that I just can't at this moment. I look forward to seeing more of yours, however!