This morning the Academy Award nominations were announced. Usually I wait for this day before handing out our annual Oscar party invitations, but this year I decided right after Christmas that I wasn't feeling it this year, for the first time ever, and asked Jason if he was open to the idea of not hosting the party this February.
He was surprised, as this has always been my favourite party of the year, but being the good man that he is, he was instantly supportive. We have been married for twelve years, and hosted this party every single year except for the year Ava was born, because she arrived at 12:03 pm on Friday after a forty-four hour labour, and when we got home from the hospital Saturday afternoon, we had a lot of visitors, and by Sunday I was raring to go ahead with the party as scheduled, but cooler minds prevailed and we called it off.
Other than that year, we have always held this event. But this year, for some reason I can't even properly clarify to myself, I don't feel like doing it. I'm wanting to be more aware of my intuition and hope there is a good reason for what I feel, even if I can't explain it so that it makes sense to anyone else.
I'm trying to cut back and spend less, as we plan for a big family holiday to Disneyland for two weeks this summer. I'm also aware that this party tends to cause hurt feelings, since the guest list is limited to the numbers we can fit in our family room and kitchen in order to focus on the television. It's the same party format each year, where every guest fills out a ballot and there are prizes for the most right and the least right, plus we ask trivia questions in the commercial breaks and award guests with trips to a concession stand when they get questions right.
It's always a lot of fun, but since it follows the same format every year, we try to invite new people annually to inject some fresh enthusiasm to the proceedings. This means that the same guests can't always return, much as we would like them to, and it's hard to balance this fact with small-town life. We simply can't include everyone we would like to, and it's become a little trickier in the last few years.
None of these reasons is enough on their own not to host the party this year. I find myself thinking of what my movie-themed invitations could be, and linking menu items to the films that have been nominated, as I do every year, and I know for a fact that I will feel off-kilter and strange on Oscar night when we aren't putting up posters from the video store, shipping the kids off to be looked after for the night, and preparing to welcome friends. But one year doesn't mean forever, as I keep reminding myself.
This year I want to watch the show and absorb it fully in a way I haven't been able to since we began with our party. One of my longest held dreams has been to win an Oscar in the original screenplay category, and with my script inching closer and closer to a finished state, I can sense the heat on this particular dream starting to rise. I think I want to savour that this year, and it feels strange to admit that, even to myself, but that is where it stands.
It's okay to be flexible. I'm learning that now in a way I didn't understand at all before. Just because we've had this party every year doesn't mean we can't take a break, and see where we are at next year. I will always love the Academy Awards, and dream whether I am with my family or my friends, but for this year, I will listen to my instincts and go with what I want to do, and continue to stay open to the possibility of change in my life.