As we slither into the Year of the Snake, I have been dragged against my will into its call for reflection. The most enigmatic creature of the Chinese zodiac is all about carefully contemplating solutions — and I have found one. For me, the challenge ahead is simple: I can NOT give in to inertia.
I really didn’t want to go there. But Lunar New Year’s Eve found me ailing in bed as the mighty blizzard Nemo blasted through the Northeast region. Maybe I had some sort of bug, or it could’ve simply been my body incubating a spontaneous detox. Whatever! The point is I spent 72 groggy hours sleeping and staring at my red bedroom walls, feeling like I was hiding inside of my own heart as the world around me froze into a silent, white scream.
Quite frankly, that’s a degree of intimacy with myself that I usually avoid this time of year because it gets too emotional. Jan. 8 would’ve brought a 28th wedding anniversary (if I hadn’t left my 18-year marriage). Jan. 10 marked my dad’s fatal heart attack 37 years ago. Feb. 9 rounds out this potentially tragic trifecta with the third anniversary of my mom’s death.
In winters past, I’ve managed to keep myself busy enough to “forget” these events or skim the surface of memory. But being in my sick had me wallowing in the vacuum left by the absence of them all. Yes, it’s true. Sometimes, I miss the security that comes from a life anchored by mother, father and marriage.
Whoa, wait….what am I saying?! This must be the low-grade fever talking. Reality check: My strict immigrant parents made me c-r-a-z-y. In the end, they were each in terrible physical shape, requiring tons of care. With their passing, we are all at peace, finally free. And while there were good things about the marriage, the baby daddy and I are much better off divorced as I explore new passions, romantic and otherwise (mostly otherwise, haha).
So the Year of the Snake gives me an opportunity to move ahead, supple with grace, shedding old skin. Travelling low to the ground will mean intimate encounters with others as well as myself. But the power is mine, if I choose to take it.
Make like a snake: 5 ways to beat inertia
Be real with myself. I am incredibly sentimental and I love the security of having a daily routine. But flexibility is important like never before. One change is that I’ve realized swimming a few times a week at the health club isn’t working anymore — the chlorine was turning my hair to straw and my skin to parchment. So hello, treadmill and personal trainer! Also, my only child will be going away to college this fall. I’m starting to imagine ways to re-invent a daily household consisting of just me, the bossy little dog and three purring cats. Which leads to my next point….
Find people with shared interests. Pets are great but human company is nice too. Since many of my good friends either don’t live nearby or have schedules that rarely match up with mine, I’ve recently gone online to Meetup.com. This website lists thousands of activity groups that are searchable by topic, location and/or demographic. I’ve just joined two local groups (kayaking and hiking). And last night, I went to a house concert down the block where there were friendly folk, a pot luck dinner and of course, great music.
Take a fun class. I’ve been Googling around for dance schools in my area (take that you legless Snake, haha). It’s on my calendar to check out some local ballroom classes that offer socials, especially the ones with dance hosts — in other words, dudes that that are paid by the event organizer to hit the floor with the lovely single ladies.
Nurture myself. Getting sick reminded me to slow down; it has been good to rest. I also feel that there might be a spiritual journey ahead; in a universe filled with genuine evil, I am craving prayer. In recent weeks, I have also made time to read books just for the sheer pleasure of it.
Lighten up! As a single, working, divorced mom, I work extremely hard to hold things together. Lately, every day has been a mission. But the constant organizing had become too much. What happened to waking up and simply reveling in the happiness of a new day? Gotta get that back.
So here I am, ready at last to throw off the covers and get out of bed. The last few days of hibernating were very good for me. Right now, winter is feeling brutally cold but nature is doing its thing and so am I.
Hope you all have a wonderful opening week of our snake-y year. May we internalize its mystic power, undulating energy and unblinking confidence. I’m feeling stronger already. xo
P.S. — Here’s what 12 inches of snow looks like on my deck.