Eli, over at Coach Daddy Blog, invited me to participate in his monthly 6-word story challenge. This time, he asked for a 6-word memoir title. Wow. Only six words to sum up the colossal mess that is my life in a way where someone would actually want to read it? It took several days to narrow it down, but this is what I finally chose:
My Life: Socks For Christmas… Again
(If you’re curious what others submitted, click here to read the post… but I hope you finish reading here before curiosity takes you away!)
I chose this title because how it’s taken is all a matter of perspective.
I think we’ve all received a gift that we’re less-than-excited about. We put on a smile and deliver our best fake grateful “thank you” in hopes of sparing the gifter’s feelings. Before he was trained to do this, my mom has told the story of how my brother threw a fit because he got clothes for Christmas. To a boy of three or four, it must have been insulting!
Sometimes I feel disappointed when I look at the lowlights of 2015… this year, after eighteen years, I finally accepted that I failed and my marriage was beyond repair; I had to say goodbye to my dog and one of my cats; I’ve chased ghosts (illness) with my younger son… soon, they will confirm if it’s what they think, but there’s no solace in the known or unknown; and the first half of the year was anchored in such darkness, waking up each day was a chore.
That’s my year in a nutshell. Seriously 2015, is that the best you could do? It’s like opening up a beautifully wrapped shirt box and finding a six-pack of crew socks.
Or is it?
I received the socks in the above photo from my younger son for Christmas last year. I had commented on how adorable they were, and he listened. Now, I do realize I’m past the age of being able to pull off the silly sock look, but thankfully, I’ve also reached the age where I really don’t care. (Yep, it’s only a matter of time before I “dress up” in my robe and slippers before heading to Walmart.)
Maybe my life is like gift socks… maybe it’s not so bad if viewed from a different perspective. I’ll look at 2015 again: after eighteen years, I realized that change won’t happen if the person doesn’t see the need… no matter how obvious it is to me; I loved my dog for seventeen years, and my cat for nearly fifteen years- I had to say goodbye to them, but they are no longer in pain; if the doctors have pinpointed my son’s illness, it can be managed with medications and he can start to find a new normal… if it’s not what they think, then they have enough to know there is something going on and they have ruled out another thing it isn’t; and during my extended time of darkness, online and offline friends lit my way with prayers and words of encouragement (thank you to everyone for your kindness!)
It’s the same life, same year, but whether I feel despair or hope hinges on how my mind focuses on the facts. For the first half of the year, I felt despair. It was scary. I want my thoughts to gravitate toward hope.
When I look back on my life, each day, week and month might appear to be the ‘same old stuff’ on the surface, but I want to see more than that. I want to look at the gift of my life and exclaim, “Yes! I got socks for Christmas – Again! Isn’t that great?!”
So, what do you think? Am I as crazy as my socks? 🙂
Yes, but I love you any way, just the way you are. Happy Thanksgiving!
Thanks, Tessa. I appreciate you stopping by 🙂
I’ve recently become a lover of the crazy socks. Parents at soccer games ask me to show them what I’ve got when I arrive. I love that it’s become my thing! Embrace the crazy socks. And thanks for the link and for playing along again.
I’m glad you’re a fan of crazy socks too, Eli. It makes the world seem a little less crazy 🙂
It truly is all about perspective. As Eli Pacheco said – embrace the crazy socks.
This is the only life we have and it’s in our best interests to make it the best we can … in spite of all the obstacles and occasional sh*t-storms that seem to have no end. A little bit of whimsy in our world is a great reminder of that 🙂
Best wishes for better days ahead!!
Great comment, Joanne – it made me laugh. Some days it’s really hard to see the whimsy through the sh*t, but it’s much more satisfying when I can 🙂
Naw, you’re not crazy! I happen to love goofy socks, too. I think your six-word summary is spot on. 2015 has been a lousy year for many folks. The good thing is, it’s almost OVER!! And a Little Debbie Sunshine like me is convinced that next year will be better — I don’t want to jinx anything, but can things really get much worse (no, let’s not even go there!!) So sorry to hear about your son, and will send up some prayers for his recovery. It sounds as if you’re on the mend, too, Janna, though I’ll keep you on my prayer list. I wonder sometimes if it’s easier to get hit with all the crap at once, or if it’s better to have it come in dribs and drabs. Hmm, no easy answer there. Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful!!
Let’s not be so quick to dismiss my crazy, Debbie 🙂 I am so relieved this year is almost over, but I dare not hope that 2016 will magically be better. The 2015 stuff will likely carry over, but maybe it will be diluted down a bit. I had to laugh at the question of things could get worse, because I’ve refused to utter the words “what else” for fear I might just find out, haha. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers. I try to not worry and leave things in God’s hands, but I’m finding this easier said than done.
Beautiful reflection and reframing of perspective, Janna. I hope that the horizon is BRIGHTER for you. Best of luck to your son.
Thanks, Nancy! Sometimes I do get caught in the negative and it’s a chore to turn things around, but I’m trying to do it more because that darkness that swallowed the first half of my year isn’t far away and I can’t let it reclaim me.
Having had more than a few “dark days” (when my sense of humor was MIA), I’ve learned that the best thing I can do is stop wrestling with the thoughts that threaten to drown me in the abyss ~> instead of playing tug-of-war with the elephant in the room, I just “let go” of the rope and trust that the universe will unfold as it should until I am ready to steer into the wind.
Best of luck.
Good advice, Nancy. It’s amazing how a sense of humor can change our mood. There are circumstances that when they change, I think will improve my outlook as well. Until then, I’ll keep reading the jokes you post on your blog 🙂
Yes, it certainly is all about perspective. You had to say goodbye to your dog and your cat but they are no longer in pain. And you had to say goodbye to your marriage so that, soon, you will no longer be in pain, too! It will happen. Just concentrate on your son now and all will be good for 2016- with the occasional bouts of angst thrown in to keep you on your toes!
I like the way you look at it, Emilio. I think I might be in a better frame of mind when things aren’t so in flux. We’ll see. I could do without so much angst, but if that’s what 2016 has for me, that’s okay too 🙂
It’s not that 2016 has bouts of angst in store for you, it’s that life will have them as part of the deal of being alive. And sentient! 🙂
And here I thought angst ended when my age no longer began with a “1” 🙂
Nope. Maybe when it starts with a 4? or 5?
Well, since my age already starts with 4, I can rule that out. I’ll pin my hopes on 5 then!
I have always been a non-lover of having to wear socks and shoes. My best friend signed me up for some sort of “sock of the month” club and I had a new pair delivered to my work every month. It became exciting to see what the next pair would look like and now I love wearing those funky things!
A sock of the month club? That’s awesome! I’m glad you’ve embraced the funky gift, Susan 🙂
The crazier the socks are, the better, I say. 😀
I think that sounds pretty good, Widdershins… I’ve got some crazy here!
Nope, I don’t think you’re crazy at all (FWIW), Janna. More like a sane person in a chaotic world! I’m so sorry to hear about your younger son’s ongoing illness; I sincerely hope some kind of answer is found so that you can move forward on treatment and/or medication. You should get into running, Janna. There’s a huge swath of the community that is obsessed with compression socks, and now an industry to cater to those wants–everything from superhero socks to holiday socks (St. Patrick’s to Christmas to everything in between) to hobby socks (Star Wars, -Trek, et al). I got a pair of compression sleeves a few years back but didn’t like them. Possibly they’re too small for my calves, but, anyway, I have cultivated an affinity for socks over the years, too. It’s the go-to gift I’m given from some of my relatives–and I’m thankful–along with blankets. One can never have too many blankets, really. Besides, when they get kind of worn out but still safe/usable, they go straight to the animal shelter for the dogs & cats (like old stuffed toys, pillows, etc.). Anyway, I’m long-winded as always. Love the snazzy new avatar picture! Best wishes, Janna, & here’s to a much improved 2016 for you and your boys (and household critters).
You’re so nice, Leigh… no one has ever called me sane 🙂 I think crazy socks are a fun gift.. blankets are an awesome gift too. I’m sure the animals appreciate your donations. Thanks for the comment on the avatar photo… I was just tired of the old one. I do hope that 2016 is better… fingers and toes crossed, haha. I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving!
Yes, we did. I didn’t have to cook a thing; yay!!! Hope the same peace & joy for you and the boys (and household critters), Janna.
Thanks, Leigh – I appreciate it. No cooking – that’s nice 🙂
Your 2015 would knock anyone down, but this was still such a motivating post. Thanks for sharing your story and unique perspective.
I appreciate you reading it, and I’m glad you found it motivating. I try not to bring people down 🙂
I too love crazy socks!! What a challenging and difficult year for you but you shone through!! and you are able to share it so eloquently. Continued blessings for you and your son. Let the new year embrace a renewed you!
Thanks for reading, TDM! I do have hopes that next year will be an improvement (my mom said it couldn’t be any worse, but I hesitate to say such a thing, haha)
Nicely done! What a wonderful reframing of a lament. Peace on your house this year.
Thanks for reading, Allen. Peace is a beautiful blessing 🙂
It takes a woman of character to rock those socks, go for it! You can’t take all the credit for the “fail.” I hope you get a good report for your son, soon.
Thanks, Patti. There’s been a bit of an unexpected twist with my son, but I’m not worried yet 🙂