The seventh grade was my first introduction to grammar and the concept of infinitives. It was my Spanish teacher, Sr. Schultz, who taught me that the infinitive of any verb is "to [something]." We often conjugate the infinitive to something simple and direct: past or present, future, ongoing. We are running, I was a runner. We are working, I want to work. Simply put: what and when and who is doing something is how we conjugate the verb. Yet, in its infinitive, a word can become a concept, an idea, or a belief.
To jump, to walk, to run, to love...to appreciate. In this form, the infinitive can act as a noun, adjective, or adverb, giving us infinite possibilities in not only what we say, but how we say it. When I think of it like this, I think back on that seventh grade year, and how we began with ser, "to be." What did I want to be? What did I learn to be? As with every new year, my reflections have grown, not just in wordiness, but in depth, in appreciation and understanding, in context.
Today, on my walk with the family, Livvy-Love was full of questions, the hard kind that make you stop and think, the kind for which there are no right answers, only deep thoughts.
"What moment in your life would you live over and over again if you could?"
"If you were allowed to go back and make a change to one bad choice you made, which one would it be?"
I couldn't answer either perfectly, because to acknowledge one moment was to devalue all of the other moments, good and bad, that got me here. I believe in the power of timing, of the natural world, of payment for deeds vs. cost of deeds...how much we have to give depends on how much we are willing and able to give. Yet, even now, ten hours later, I am thinking of those two questions and realizing that it was to be aware, this is what my daughter was asking of me. And so, maybe this is what I have for you, 2022: to be aware, to be reflective, to be cognizant of all of the past moments I would relive for the joy, and those I would avoid for the heartache.
I cannot choose one moment from my past to change or relive, because I am deeply in love with my life as it stands today. While Olivia did not care for this answer, giving me what is quickly becoming her signature head-shake and smile, Old Man River gave the same answer when she turned the question to him. With a touch to my hand, he made the statement to our nine-year-old that we don't ever try to eliminate experiences; we learn to be better because of them. And while we can't relive the best moments over and over, we can continue to remember how they made us feel, and make an effort to find more special moments, even if they are simple.
And so, 2022, this is who I wish to be with you: a woman who is grateful for a new year to live, a new opportunity to experience, and old love to grow.
To you, and your 2022, whatever you decide for it to be. Happy New Year, loves.