And So It Begins

There’s something compelling about a door.

Anything can be behind a door. Open the door and a story begins. Or maybe it ends. But for sure, the doorway stands between what was and what will be. Which explains why Janus, the Roman god for whence the month January comes, is perfectly suited for this first month of the year. Janus represents the transition, the both-sides-of-the-story; he’s depicted with two faces, and often found adorning doors, or gates, or archways. That’s Janus–and January–for you. You never know what you’re going to get until you open the door.

I was sorely tempted to just stand on the other side of the door for this January and wait until I felt a little stronger, a bit more hopeful. But eventually, I stepped through.

Do you remember that game, “Mother May I?” I played it when I was just a wee girl and I taught my kids how to play it. One of my favorite ploys in the game was to allow a child to get almost to the finish line and then on the next turn, when the smug kiddo had just inches to go, I’d say, “Joey (because he was the oldest and best able to handle the vagaries of life), you may take THREE GIANT STEPS! (Pause for a beat or two) BACKWARDS!” (Oh, don’t get worked up, Joey would almost always win. And he learned important lessons about the Game of Life along the way. But now that I think about it, he will not so much as play a game of cards with his dear, sainted mother today. I believe I’ve suddenly had an insight as to why.)

Anyway, I really, truly wanted to take three giant steps backwards this January. Or maybe just call out, “Do Over!” the way my kids would when they didn’t like the way things were going. But those aren’t exactly very effective strategies in the grown-up world. So I just pulled myself up by my faith and carried on.

And then I remembered that Thomas A Kempis, who was a veritable font of quotes that one could copy on notecards and keep handy for inspiration, had one particular quote that should perhaps be above January’s door:

THEY TRAVEL LIGHTLY WHOM GOD’S GRACE CARRIES.

(And for those of you who’d like a little writing inspiration, The Muffin is also a veritable font this month, with my two posts, The Secret to Success, and Just for Today, For Writers (Part Deux) in the offerings. I wish for you a year full of writing happiness, and I hope you’ll let me know all about your beginnings or endings in 2021!)

Thanks, January

So at long last, we say goodbye to January. It really is like the longest month ever, with its 31 days and its bitter cold and the starkness that follows the festive color and coziness of the holidays. I mean, that right there is January in a nutshell: January is the serious month of the year,right?

Or maybe that’s what it was for me and other folks were out there swinging from the New Year rafters and jumping feet first into their veggies and tofu diets–for the first couple of weeks at least. Then, I’m pretty sure they were right there with me in the January trenches, thinking ah, well. Here we go again.

clouds-hd-wallpaper-landscape-67832Except by the end of the month, I quit. And I’m not gonna lie, just typing “I quit” right now still makes my palms sweat a little and I get a sick clunk in the pit of my stomach. But I’m also–and you can imagine me singing along with Michael Buble here because that’s exactly what I’m doing–feeling good. 

 

There’s lots more to the story so you’ll want to read Just Quit over at The Muffin.

BUT. I’d just like to add that timing is everything when it comes to quitting, just in case there’s anyone thinking of making changes right now. The timing for me came when I’d had years of preparation and the means available, yes, but it was more–and mostly– about the changes in me and in my life now. 2019 Cathy has something to say that’s different from 2017 or 2015 and especially 2010 Cathy when the writing world was new.

So I guess I should thank that interminably long month of January for the time to process all that. And I hope that you have a January–whenever it may come–when you’re ready to do some thinking about your new dawn, your new day, your new life. (Yeah, you knew I’d work in a way to sing again, right?)