by Kerry Zagarella
There are certainly many New Year’s resolutions that folks have in common. The main focus is usually physical well being. Gym memberships and attendance often increase in January, but by February your workout place returns to normal. You will be able to get back on your schedule and your favorite machines. Folks often welcome a “dry January” after all the holiday indulgences of “spirits” and pastries. In many ways the resolutions are a proclamation of self love and a love of life, yet they most often only involve the “resoluter” in their annual solo attempts of self preservation and improvement. We all know that aging increases the pitch of our daily incline. The efforts used to sustain a healthy mind and body drastically increase. The slide back is swift and the climb up, slippery as a sheet of ice. As important as our physical health is to longevity, it isn’t the only factor of living, LIVING life. We have to apply this good health to our lives. We have to use it!
Let 2023 be the year we show up for each other. Most recently our family had to say goodbye to our beloved 95 year old mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, Rita Zagarella. She had a good long life and we are blessed with that, but goodbyes are still difficult. The priest at the service made a point of calling out all the attendees in the back of the church, praising them for showing up. It mattered to us. Every card, glance, hug, phone call, text, whoopie pie top, flower petal and casserole dish, surrounded us with a caring community that recognized the power of being there, simply showing up. There are life events where we take extra time to come together, to share the hardship and the celebration, to express our love of each other and life. Can we extend this instinctive belief beyond weddings and funerals?
Let 2023 be the year we show up for ourselves and each other. Perhaps it's the year to practice an itty bitty, teeny tiny bit of vulnerability. We are blessings to each other, or can be. We can take a little time to manage our fear of vulnerability and tell each other that. Can we? Here we are in this cosmic instant, hurtling through space, without an up or down, just a round and round. It seems our bonding, our showing up, would be inevitable. It is not. It takes effort to show up. Technology allows social media to masquerade as a platform for friendship and relationships. More often it is full of arguments or staged precious moments. Don’t get me wrong, I am addicted to the reels of cooing babies and those viral talking toddler sextuplets in the kitchen get me every time. After a few clicks on those babies, I am identified and my feed is filled with baby after baby to watch. I know this is not showing up, in fact it is a hole that keeps me away from reality, an adorable hole mind you.
I am an extrovert. I show up probably a little too much, but showing up has many nuances to explore. Showing up may be achieved through quiet introspection, or a raucous rendezvous on a crowded dance floor. The range is infinite. Personal vulnerability is unique to each person. It can be a wave, a wink, a full on hug, a powerful thought, but it is always a recognition. Let us recognize each other outside of those small screens we carry. Let us build our village.
I hope 2023 affords me opportunities to show up for myself, and for others. I hope to build a few speed bumps on my well traveled road of worry, practicing a vulnerability of acceptance. It is a frightening proposal to let go of perceived control. Can I hold faith and love this year? Can I weave that soul velcro to hold the unconditional love of close friends? Frightening again. This is where I will practice vulnerability. Practice being the optimum word. I will take time to show up for practice, and for the village.
What can we do together? Certainly, we must keep climbing up the slippery incline of aging; hold on to that health and put it to good use for ourselves and others. Don’t hide your light under a bush, let your freak flag fly! Engage! Let's live this cosmic instant together as best we can. Accepting it all, practicing a little at a time.
But must I say goodbye to my virtual nursery of adorable babies? Those babies may be grumpy teenagers at this point. I think we can do that! We can be grumpy folks in a kitchen together, or happy folks or sad folks. We can do this with just an itty bitty teeny tiny bit of personal vulnerability. Let 2023 be the year we feared and loved. The year we used our earned good health as a vehicle to embrace our time together as the celestial gift it is.
Happy New Year Neighbor. See you there.