The Necessary Perils of Credit

Is it an accident that two of my favourite books of the past year both address the concept of receiving or claiming credit? (No.)

In If Sylvie Had Nine Lives, by Leona Theis, Sylvia wonders why there's no real way to get credit for all the things she manages to not shoplift. 

And in Marina Endicott's The Difference (AKA The Voyage of the Morning Light), Kay wishes that people could know just how many pieces of cake she has managed not to eat, how chubby she might have been.

Sorry, I don't have page references for these ideas--you'll just have to read the whole books (you'll thank me later).

My point here is this: in December of most years, I look at what I'd hoped to accomplish and see where I fell short. It's harder, in spite of all the urging from self-help self-care gurus, to think about what I did get done. I try--I even write a list every Friday of things that happened that week that I'm proud of. But it's easier to focus on the areas where I stalled out.* 

So this year I hope to give myself more credit. Not only for all the items I didn't shoplift and pieces of cake I didn't eat, but for all I finished, attempted, considered, shelved, and otherwise managed to hold together during this past year.

AND YET: I also must remember that some of us have also had a head start. My anti-racism reading this year reminds me of various forms of privilege I have. 

I need to own those, too. I want to be sure I'm not claiming credit for something I started out with, but for what I've done with it. 

Which takes me back to the beginning, because years are cycles, and I published a picture of this same recipe, on this same plate, the first time I made it, a year ago. It tasted good then, too.


* "Fell short," "stalled out," ho ho ho. How difficult it is to find appropriate euphemisms for "failed." But I listened to those self-help self-care gurus to THAT extent, anyway.