I had the whole week off of work last week. The. Whole. Entire. Week. I would love to say that in this time I managed to finally clean my car, mop the floors, organize the closets, create and execute a business plan to make the land profitable, and halter break all of the donkeys. Really, I would love to be able to say this was done. Of course, the truth is always less heroic and less ambitious. Mostly I just window shopped my way around Austin, sometimes (Jer, cover your eyes) actually shopping, and watched every last episode of HGTV's Property Virgins that I could find. All in all, a completely unproductive use of this precious free time. The total lack of ambition was due in large part to how much time was spent wallowing in self-pity over the whole house debacle. Wallowing is time-consuming, have you noticed? And wallowing for reasons like mine is particularly, shamefully, stupid. See, usually when situations become out of control, people just concede and try to manage those things that can be controlled. For the whole of my life I've admired this trait in others; the shoulder shrug or a "well that's that" attitude when stuff turns sour. People who can wipe their hands clean and turn a page when disappointment strikes are basically my personal heroes - real "boot straps" type of folk.
Unfortunately for me (and all of those near and dear to moi) I'm not that type of folk. Rather, I'd prefer to nest deeply in a well of doubt and self pity. I like to let all of the "what could have been done differently" questions wash over me until I start to moulder. And stink. Once a good long period of wallowing has passed, I generally emerge fresh and ready to chuck the old plan and start anew which often leads to quickly made, poor decisions. It's a stunning display; the despair-ridden-to-problem-solver maneuvers that I usually manage in a five day period.
Anyway. The point is that the majority of a perfectly lovely week was almost wasted. I say almost because it certainly had its shiny moments, including one drizzly afternoon drive out to my favorite salvage shop in Gonzales. The store opened a new room upstairs; a starkly beautiful space that offers a panoramic view of the tiny town square and tree tops. It's old and airy and bright and drafty in all the best ways.
To enter the new room, you have to go through an incredibly long hallway and up an intimidating flight of stairs. Because I believe that all old spaces are haunted, I had to pause at the bottom of the flight of stairs for some courage to walk up to the empty (haunted) second floor. I paused long enough for a picture.
At the beginning of this particular new year, I can think of no better photo to summarize how I plan to head into 2011. The hallway here is clearly narrow, tall - almost restrictive - but at its end stands a grand yet simple path up to the light. At the bottom of the stairs sits a bag of trash. I'll use the bag as a metaphor for 2010, and with my favorite fortune cookie quote in mind ("Despair is criminal"), I'll mount the damn stairs, setting the bag aside. Nowhere else to go in this scenario, in this picture - but up.
Very sincerely, wishing you a wonderful New Year!