Resolved. 13 to 3.

Goodbye, 2009. You were Awesome.  Let’s look at the list of things I promised you:

Wear less sweatpants. This is the beauty of a tropical climate. You own a thousand cute outfits that are perfectly wearable year round. Hello? After writing this last year, I immediately went to the outlets and bought 2 pears of comfy warm sweatpants from J. Crew- including the infamous “yellow sweatpants” from Vegas. However, after Mardi Gras, I did go organic and accidentally lose a bunch of weight which allowed me to wear pants without elastic waistbands more often. I even got new jeans. Resolved.

Do not wait until the last minute to read an entire semester’s worth of articles. You are paying a trillion dollars for this education, so you might as well learn actual theories and not just Marva Lewis’s notes on attachment via overhead (read: iChat). I never took Marva Lewis again. Resolved.

Get more than 6 hours of sleep per night. This will likely mean limiting midnight back-to-back episodes of Chelsea Lately and Sex and the City. You will manage. Ummm. Mostly resolved. It resolved itself when I went to Belize.

Remember the athletic center you are forced to pay $900 a semester to use? Go to it. Your friends used to have to come pick you up because you rode your bike too long and too far. Figure out where that bike riding joy went and reinstate it. Except, don’t ride yourself silly in New Orleans. You will get kidnapped. I never bought a bike. Unresolved. But I joined the ABT class at the Athletic center and started swimming when the weather got warm. I also took up running again for about 2 weeks. Resolved.

Do not drink Diet Coke for breakfast. Start each morning with a giant glass of water. End each day with a giant glass of water. If you must have the Diet Coke, at least buy it from the machine where Molly won $1.25 and haunted house tickets. Unresolved. End of Story.

Stop writing emails on Ambien. If you send an email after 10 pm, there’s a good chance it was written under the influence (cough, Judy Lewis). You are not more hilarious on Ambien. You simply have no filter. Find the tool on gmail that screens for irresponsible emailing and enable it.  I’m 5 months off the Ambien! Resolved!

Stop being so afraid of new things the first time around. They always turn out just fine. Unresolved. I’m always afraid of new things. I just don’t like change.

Be patient. Timing is everything. Patience is not really my thing, but in this particular circumstance (and I remember what it was when I wrote this) I was. And it paid off. Resolved!

Clean your apartment so you can begin hosting the over-promised, under-delivered hot tub reading parties and Sex and the City Sundays. Your home should be your place. That means you should be able to walk through it without having to scale piles of clothes. Cleaning- Unresolved. Hot tub parties- Resolved!

Purchase cleaning supplies and hangers. Resolved.

Be intentional with keep-in-touch-Sunday even when other things try to crowd it out. Relationships are most important. Don’t forget.  You tell me?

Ski. You know you want to. Un. Re. Solved.

You are about to become an intern again. Be yourself and trust that who you are is good enough, cool enough, nice enough, honest enough, funny enough, pretty enough, smart enough and competent enough.  Resolved. Right, Mia? Riiiight?

Embrace the next eight months and try everything. You’ll never get this season back. Resolved. Mostly- with a few grass is greener… moments.

Graduate! It’s sort of the point. Re-to-the-solved!

Allow God to lead your heart. He did a fantastic job in 2008, and if you pay attention, your whole life could be as amazing. Resolved :)

Swift and beautiful

First off and totally unrelated, I went to the store tonight for milk and eggs and came home with New! Chocolate Chex Cereal (it has all the whole-grain goodness with a touch of cocoa) and a warm delights peanut butter fudge brownie—you know, those ones you heat up in the microwave. I forgot the eggs. Someday I will follow my genealogy all over the world and end up in England on Count Chocula’s doorstep. That would really explain a lot.

Anyway, tomorrow is the last day of July. It might not seem that important, but my lease ends tomorrow, and Sprinky takes over on Wednesday. I will become a couch dweller in her apartment for three weeks, a construction worker in Belize for 2 weeks, a backpacker in Europe (or maybe just a luggage-rolling tourist) for six weeks, a teacher in Belize for 4 months, and after that, who knows.

For me, tomorrow starts the end of Here, and the beginning of There.

I’ve been in a panic trying to pack things up and ship them off to different parents’ basements and garages and closets. My essential items have been condensed to a trunk, a bookcase, and one shelf above the washer and dryer. Not bad, for a girl once accused of running a black market mall from her bedroom. I’ll admit, however painful it was to pick out my most favorite coat, my top 10 pairs of shoes, my 3 best hoodies, my 5 favorite books, my 2 best pairs of jeans, my cutest dress, my favorite purse and my least expensive prescription, it feels fantastic to shed the excess in my life and to carry with me only the essentials.

It’s good practice, anyway.

But it’s the strangest thing: when you become aware of how different life is going to look in the next few months, every little ordinary thing becomes extraordinary. For example, I was at Henry’s on Saturday with my friends, and we ate chips and salsa like we always eat, and Laura counted her coins like she always does, and Sprinky and Ty got beer like they always get, and I ordered dessert like I always do, and we told the same old stories and laughed about the same old things, and it was so comfortable, I could feel myself grasping for the table and never letting go—not for Belize, not for Europe, not for anything. Just me and my friends and Henry’s forever.

I asked if anyone ever wished they could freeze frame a moment.
They all kind of looked at each other like, Oh great, here she goes again.
And I said, “I feel really…I’m just…I feel…”
And Sprinky said, “Drunk?”
And Laura said, “Full?”
And Erin and Ty looked at each other and laughed because they thought I was just totally lost in my 3 layer chocolate cake.
And I said, “Nope. I feel happy. Everything is just perfect.”
And they all laughed at me.

But I’ve had one of those experiences almost every day. With kids from the Boys & Girls Club, who I’ve seen daily and weekly for almost 8 years, since first and third and fourth grade when they were all wearing Ninja Turtle outfits and candy-cane turtlenecks. Now they look like Pussycat Dolls. With every double cheeseburger at Rally’s or McDonalds or at the Pizza Hut buffet, in the movies, at the library, with every forced recital of the definition of a drug and the 5 steps in the decision-making process, I want to hug them and tattoo my name and phone number in their arms in case they ever need anything.

It’s happened with clients and supervisors and even in cleaning out my car. I pulled out pacifiers, preemie diapers, blocks, rings, clothes, cards, butt paste, legos, wipes, vouchers, applications—anything and everything that made me good at what I do. You need a teething ring? Hang on, I’ve got one in my car. The number to Community Harvest? Right here. Child care referrals? No problem, I’ve got ECA on speed dial. The food bank for your zip code? Sure. I’ve got the 211 list in my glove compartment. Your baby has a rash? Well here, have some butt-paste.

Those provisions—the security in helping and in being good at helping, in knowing what kind of help and how to provide—those things are the measure of what makes me “good” here, useful and competent. Stepping outside that world is like a terrifying dream where you realize you are standing in the school cafeteria, naked.

Lucky for us (though most days I think Jesus sits across from me at McDonalds like I do Rita or Adrian and shakes his head like, you think you’re so cool? I remember when you wore Velcro LA Gear high-tops, spiritually) we’re whatever He sees us as. Whatever gifts we have, however we know to use them in whatever capacity and environment we’re granted, we’ll be used and He loves us regardless.

Plus, I know God is creative, and I’ve decided it’s my favorite thing about Him. I like to think of my life is a giant canvas, and that everything I try to do—every interest explored, every gift or lack thereof exhausted—is a splash of color. Whether I am silly or serious or successful or a total failure, or even if I change my mind halfway through and pick up an entirely different can of paint, I hope what I end up with is a beautiful and colorful and unique expression of praise and thanks: for arms and legs that work, a brain, a voice, fingers to type, health and ideas and passions and the freedom to check everything out in this giant, beautiful place he created. He’s got to love that, right? Being the ultimate artist, and all.

At church on Sunday—which, by the way, is a church I went to years ago and every time I walk in the door I see my entire old life standing there, like they’d all been hanging out for 7 years waiting and I kept wondering where everyone was in this city (old professors, old basketball coaches, old boyfriends, old friends, old friends’ boyfriends—in a good, warm and cozy way with lots of hugs…)

ANYWAY, at church on Sunday we sang this old song, which I hadn’t heard in ages, and I had to stop right there and write it down with my new journal and 24 pack Sharpie colors, which I think God likes because of the creativity and all:

Take my life and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days
let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands and let them move
at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice and let me sing
always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold
not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
every power as You choose.

Here am I, all of me.
Take my life, it’s all for Thee.

Take my will and make it Thine
it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart it is Thine own
it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord I pour
at Your feet its treasure store
Take myself and I will be
ever, only, all for Thee.
Take myself and I will be
ever, only, all for Thee.