The life and words of Ashley, Erin, and Michelle

Renaming Resolutions January 15, 2010

I hate it when some jerk is driving behind me in his big truck, towering over my shoulder and threatening to run me over by his sheer size. Clearly, he thinks he has somewhere to be or someone to meet who can’t live without him. Sure, I’m aware of some occasional emergencies, but as regularly as this happens, I doubt the driver’s urgency. Just to spite him or her, I decide to drive at exactly the speed limit, if that. I make sure to take up as much of my lane as I possibly can, especially if the lane next to mine is merging into it. And I vocally complain about the person speeding. In essence, I become the jerk.

But when I’m late, it’s a totally different story. I get antsy. I beg the driver ahead of me to hurry up, to drive at least the speed limit. I might even employ some of the cut-off-and-run tactics I learned while maneuvering Chicago’s suburb traffic last summer. I call my sense of urgency a need, sometimes driving close to the car in front of me, like a yippy little dog that bites at your ankles and gets on your nerves.

But I never call it speeding. I don’t speed, I’d never do that. No, I keep to within 5 (maybe 10) miles per hour of the speed limit. That’s keeping it, right?

I find it somewhat the same when I see people blog about how they hate people making New Year’s resolutions and then talk about how they’re going to start making a change in their life starting in January. How is that any different from my calling my speeding by another name? I’m still doing the same thing that I complain the jerk on my heels is doing, so why don’t I just admit that it’s the same thing.

So, if you’re going to talk down to people who are making a New Year’s resolution, please decide to make your life changes at a different time of year. I hear April’s nice.


The Realization of an Inexorable Choice August 4, 2009

Filed under: Life in General,Writing — michellehuegel @ 4:07 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

in⋅ex⋅o⋅ra⋅ble /ɪnˈɛksərəbəl/
1. unyielding; unalterable: inexorable truth; inexorable justice.
2. not to be persuaded, moved, or affected by prayers or entreaties: an inexorable creditor.

In my somewhat-extensive reading experience, I’ve noticed that writers like the word inexorable. It is frequently used to add dramatic flair when writing about the passage of time, which could be a boring subject to read about.

Until recently the word slipped past my eyes and didn’t really register. Now I understand. Inexorable time means that my baby is learning new skills every minute. Each hour he’s on the floor he moves faster, farther. Every day he gets less and less easily pacified with a playpen or bouncy seat, preferring – needing – face-to-face interaction and new stimuli. A couple more months and he’ll be walking. (!)

But there’s a dark edge to the word inexorable. As exciting as all these changes are, they’re still changes (a word that deserves its own blog post!). We’re balanced precariously right now – I take Cai to work with me, and he naps in the playpen, plays on the floor or in his pen or bouncy chair, and sometimes in my lap. Every day I watch this balance tip inexorably toward the impossible.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the future lately – not the distant, where-do-i-want-to-be-in-10-years future, but the immediate, what-am-i-going-to-do-in-3-months future. I feel the pressure of my English degree weighing on me, pulling me seductively to open Word or grab a smooth pen and fresh paper and just write. Every month when I pay my student loan bill I feel guilty that I’m not using my degree. But right now, paying bills and spending those rare moments of free time with my son and husband win out over writing.

Back to thinking about the future – because nothing stays the same forever. Sooner than I want to imagine, the day will come when I can’t bring Cai to the office with me anymore. Is that the time to finally take the leap of faith that being a freelance writer/editor requires, and risk my family’s financial security? What other choice do I have? Do you ever feel like life is conspiring to narrow your choices? Dare I even mention the word destiny? I refuse to put my son in daycare (not that we could afford it anyway), and that greatly limits my choices. I wanted to be an editor so I could work from home.

So why is that inexorable choice so utterly terrifying?