Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year

I'm not much of a maker of resolutions: too much pressure.  Too random, pinning it all to a day on the calendar, counting down to failure.

But this year, right now, seems like a good time to start changing some things around here.

For a long time, I thought "I'll be happy when [fill in the blank]."  It actually became a joke around here.  So often did the words "it will be better when..." pass my lips, that my husband would jump in for me: "next week?  Next year?  When this project is done?  When that event is past? When?"

When, indeed.

Here's the thing.  These last six years, we have been on one whackadoodle roller coaster ride.  In six years, I (we!) got engaged, got married, had two kids, got promoted, quit a good job in the depths of a recession, sold a house (without a realtor) at the bottom of the real estate market, moved cross country twice, applied to eight schools in three cities for my two children (plus one each for my husband and I), developed and taught new classes at two universities in two different subjects and two different formats, edited two books, saw three close family members and one dear friend through seven cancer battles, started two small businesses, looked at 50 houses before buying this one and beginning on an odyssey that ultimately ended with this blog and Heather Peterson design.  And that's just the big stuff.

But now, hopefully, the roller coaster is over.  We are settling in, and in truth I have everything I said I wanted.  It is the ultimate "when."  And yet I'm still waiting for that elusive invitation to happiness.

I've been thinking about all of this these past few weeks, in the rush and swell of the holidays, in the quiet of a blog break, and then I saw this.

This is What Happens When You Give Thousands of Stickers to Thousands of Kids stickers kids installation art

This is What Happens When You Give Thousands of Stickers to Thousands of Kids stickers kids installation art

This is What Happens When You Give Thousands of Stickers to Thousands of Kids stickers kids installation art

Images from an installation where the artist Yayoi Kusama created an all-white interior environment and handed a bunch of kids thousands of stickers and let them go crazy. (here.)

And then I read an interview with the writer Diablo Cody (she of Juno fame) in which she shares a life-changing encounter she had in her twenties when she was in a deep dark, "Why me" phase.  She met someone in bad-luck circumstances--the details are irrelevant here--who simply asked "why NOT me?"  The point being, of course, that it's all about attitude.  That our responses to all the things in our life--good or bad--are a choice.

And then I remembered my wonderful friend and former boss, an indomitable woman who starts the year off with not a resolution, but a mantra.  I remember my favorite one (so good, in fact, I think she kept it for two years):

Choose joy.

Simple, no?

And then I was reading the most recent Elle decor, and feeling sort of disappointed by the whole thing, until I saw this.


I wonder if anyone is seeing what I see.

Well, here it is: the curtains are much too short.  And uneven.  They are all wrong, really.  And yet this interior--fabulous in plenty of other ways--is in Elle Decor.

So perhaps my intention for this year has to do with taking things less seriously.  Being less hard on myself.  Allowing the time and space needed to build a life.  Saying what I really think instead of what people might want to hear.  Remembering that fun is a choice, too.  Enjoying what I DO have (so many blessings), and enjoying it now.  Right now.  Not looking to some mythical future moment when.....

I have yet to find just the right words for my 2012 motto, but you know what?

I'm not going to sweat it.

Or--lest I set myself up for failure--I'm going to try.  To not sweat it.

It may sound half-assed, but man, is it huge.


  1. I love this post, Heather. My mom always said, "Fake it til you make it" and I live by that. If I am not feeling right or good or whatever, I just pretend I do and keep pressing forward and I end up where I wanted! Have an amazing year!
    -e (modern24seven)

  2. Heather, I read this post several times before commenting, and just have to say thanks for writing it. After all you have accomplished in the last 6 years, you clearly are a motivated, driven person. Don't let your self-doubt get in the way!

    I'm really looking forward to seeing what you have up your sleeve in 2012!

  3. I just wrote, Choose Joy to another blogger in their comments. I have been saying this all through the Holidays, "I choose JOY!!" It just might be my phrase for 2012. I did a couple of post for the New Year that I think you might relate too, Kathysue


Let me know what you think. I love hearing from you!


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