Always believe something wonderful is about to happen -COCO CHANEL
New Year’s resolutions make me crazy. Even when I try to keep it simple, like vowing to get up earlier, read more books, or spend more time with friends, it becomes a battle with myself, and I end up frustrated and disappointed in my lack of follow through. But this January I didn’t choose a resolution, but rather it chose me.
Falling Off a Cliff In January
From August right up until my birthday on January ninth, I feel like I am in a constant state of preparation and expectation that something good is ahead. It begins with fall football, the start of school, and looking forward to Labor Day weekend. Then it’s Thanksgiving, and the delegations of the meal – who cooks or brings this or that. Even though it’s exciting, it’s a nervous system overload for this introvert. Then it’s the month of December, filled with school plays, recitals, decorating, gatherings with friends, and my emotions are a crescendo of franticness getting ready for the “something big” to happen.
After the last pine needles are swept away and the sinking feeling tries to creep in, I remember that New Year’s Eve is next up on the wave of celebrations. After that, I look forward to my birthday. This time of year, no one really wants to celebrate, but I have my loyal sister and mom who always come through and make the day special nonetheless.
Then, BAM!! All of the anticipation and preparation are over, and I feel like I am falling off a cliff into a future headed to nowhere. Tack on some unrealistic resolutions that I may or may not achieve, and I am stuck with some serious self-induced misery. For me, January can be a dark and scary month. While everyone is blasting on social media how many awesome resolutions they have made, I always feel somewhat discouraged.
Dealing with Holiday Hangover
So this January I decided to be resolute in not having resolutions. I’m just going to try to stay emotionally steady and not let the hangover from months of preparation and activity bring me down to slug-like living. So in not making a New Year’s resolution, I ended up with a mantra. I don’t believe in coincidences, so I really saw this as a sign when my sister gave me a small bag engraved with the quote, “Always Believe Something Wonderful is about to Happen,” by Coco Chanel. I don’t know much about CoCo, but I think she is spot on with this idea. It encompasses the feeling I have from fall until my birthday. So this quote got my wheels turning. Why shouldn’t I believe this all year long? How much better would my life be if I woke up with this feeling?
Lessons From Nature
With this mantra stuck in my head, I began to pay attention and realized that January can also be a month of anticipation and excitement. Like most life lessons, I learn by watching nature.
We have a bluebird box outside of our bedroom window. Last winter, we watched a couple of bluebirds scout the box for about a month before I noticed them beginning to take pine straw inside in order to build a nest. They built and chirped and flew around that box for a couple of months, excited to have a nesting spot. We all waited and finally in March we saw the little blue eggs. Unfortunately we, along with mom and pop bluebirds, did not anticipate a snake being able to slither up the pole and eat the eggs, but that’s what happened. So no baby bluebirds last year, and the mom and dad left our yard with as much disappointment as a bird’s heart can feel.
However, as I lay in bed last Sunday with a cup of coffee and a million books I am supposed to be reading, I noticed a bluebird on the branch next to the box. She then perched her cute little puffed out body on top of the wooden house. Could it be the same mama bluebird that had carefully chosen this as her nesting place last year only to lose her eggs to a predator? I don’t know much, but my gut is telling me it just might be.
I did a little research and discovered that bluebirds will in fact often return to a former nesting spot, EVEN if their eggs were eaten. WOW! Talk about an innate belief that something good is about to happen. This bird is back to say, I am going to build another nest, straw by stick by feather. I am going to believe that even in the dead of winter, with seemingly nothing new on the horizon, I should still build, prepare, and anticipate something great is about to happen.
Preparing for Something Wonderful
This lesson is also true for humans. When we feel depleted of joy and hope for the future, we can breathe deeply and rest and have faith that there are better days ahead. Build your nest bit by bit, from your heart outward until you believe something good will come your way. If bluebirds can be so resolute as to return and prepare a place for new life where they once had failed, shouldn’t we be so optimistic for the future?
My non-resolution mantra, and I hope yours too, is to keep believing that something good is about to happen. It doesn’t have to be as exciting and grand as the holidays or birthdays, instead just as simple as the sun shining or a bluebird preparing her nest for new life.
P.S. I am going to make sure the bluebirds get their babies this year by adding a snake guard to the box
Elizabeth McKissick is the Director of Communications at Youturn Health. Elizabeth has been in recovery for substance use disorder for 16 years and is a strong advocate for sharing her story in the hopes of helping others struggling with dependency and misuse.