Is January 19 too late for a new year’s post? Perhaps, but I am going to write one anyway. We wouldn’t want all the weeks of planning and contemplating life in 2012 so I could write this post to go to waste now, would we?
This post is a long time coming. Nineteen days worth (probably more) of prep and middle of the night awakenings thinking about what I would say in my first post of the new year. I hate to become another new year’s cliche by spouting off a number of miscellaneous resolutions that I hope to keep this year (but probably will forget half of them by the end of this post), especially when I am the type of person who makes those kind of silent promises to myself all year long (and then seal them with an imaginary high-five and a pat on the back for myself). But here it is “20-12” (the year the world is supposed to end, if you believe any of that mumbo jumbo) and I can’t help but reflect on where I’ve been, where I am and where I hope to go in the future. Maybe it’s because I’m turning the big 1-0 this year (that’s 40 in leap years). Maybe it’s because a number of people close to me have died recently or been diagnosed with some terminal diseases or devastating illnesses. Whatever the case, I have this urge to live as Tim McGraw wishes we all would: “Some day, I hope you get the chance, to live like you were dyin’.”
Yup, I have the urge to go sky diving (that came after my inaugural parasailing adventure last spring, and I realized how peaceful it was up there in the clouds). Rocky Mountain climbing? Well, I want to go see the United States with my husband and children. Hike trails. Take a horseback ride through the Grand Tetons. Visit a few national parks and finally visit those relatives in Alaska. Ireland sounds like a trip worth taking. My daughter is “jonesing” to go to Australia and New Zealand, and my friend has mentioned me tagging along on her return trip to Italy someday. Tim McGraw may go “two-point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu,” but I’d rather take up an old hobby, scuba diving, and swim in the ocean with a couple of fish named Nemo and Dory until my oxygen runs low (or my husbands runs out and he starts puffing on mine).
I’m having a harder time envisioning how the next part of McGraw’s advice will translate in my life. Defining what “loving deeper” will look like is different for everyone, and depending on who you are loving changes the looks of things, too. Loving my children deeper might mean continuing the “I’m grateful” letters I started for them a couple weeks ago. On a whim I sat down one day and wrote all three of them a letter explaining that more often than not, sadly, parents often tell their kids what they are doing wrong more often than what they are doing right. So I made a promise to them that at random times throughout the year I was going to surprise them with a letter that celebrated all of the things about them that I am grateful for. The first letters included things like “I’m grateful for … your love and knowledge of all things sports-related; your love of games — video, board, and card; your kindness towards people and animals; your sense of humor (you are one of them funniest people I know); your great big heart; and your courage to try new things all the time). More hugs and “I love yous” also can help in this area of loving deeper, too, as well as providing some of the kids favorite foods for mealtimes and snacks during the week. That’s an easy win-win.
As for my husband the food tactic will most definitely work, and probably some of those “I’m gratefuls …,” too. And while I’m at it maybe I’ll throw in a few less headaches and few more date nights for good measure.
Speaking sweeter to everyone friends, family members, husbands, kids, dogs, cats etc. is something that comes highly recommended by McGraw as well, and as we’ve all found out in this household “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” In other words, if I bite, most likely the rest of the family bites back. Not always an easy task to keep your cool and speak kinder when all you want to do is lay down a few F-bombs and spew about the ungratefulness of those living in your home, but I think I’ll try. It can’t hurt.
The last piece of advice McGraw croons in his serenade to the world is to give “forgiveness I’d been denying.” A very difficult thing to ask of me. I am of the belief that certain things are unforgivable, and in some cases if people don’t demonstrate that they are worth forgiving through their actions or words then to hell with them. But I have learned through the years, that although their may not be internal forgiveness for someone, I can let them go, and let go of my anger, and frustration surrounding the things they did or didn’t do. It’s also not a bad idea to try forgiving yourself in these incidences for not being perfect. You are going to screw up, and you most definitely may find your self with your foot in your mouth more times than you would like to admit. One may try with all their might to live by Don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements — 1. Be Impeccable with your Word; 2. Don’t Take Anything Personally; 3. Don’t Make Assumptions; and 4. Always Do Your Best — but there are going to days when you can barely drag yourself out of bed, let alone use the power of your words to speak “in the direction of truth and love.” But if your best for that is only being bitchy to your spouse and not your kids, or to the grocery clerk and not your family, then forgive yourself for that, apologize the next time you head to the store because you’re out of milk and eggs, and move on.
I think that’s one of the biggest changes I have been working to make in my life. I’ve always been an all or nothing type of person. Either I’m all in on a project or I don’t help with it at all. Either my house is immaculate (and I’m going totally insane trying to keep it that way) or it looks as if Hurricane Irene has just torn through the middle of it. Either your my friend or your not. I’m happy or sad. I’m in shape or a total couch potato. Either I forgive you or I don’t.
So for 2012 the one promise/resolution I am making to myself is … TO BE HAPPY BEING MEDIOCRE, MIDDLE OF THE ROAD, HALF-ASSED, ADEQUATE, OK, NOT THE BEST OR THE WORST, AND/OR JUST PLAIN “ALRIGHT.”
Where I’ve been? Massachusetts, Georgia, D.C., Bahamas, Mexico a time or two, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Barbados, Wisconsin, Texas, Minnesota (to the airport to take a shuttle to Wisconsin), New York, Michigan, Canada (just over the border to see the Canadian side of Niagara Falls), Las Vegas, New Jersey, Connecticut … and probably some other venues. In 2012: Our family hopes to tackle a national park.
Where I am? Currently I am sitting at my kitchen island surrounded by unfinished tasks — a present to wrap, a bill to be paid, some gloves to be sewn, etc. etc., — and I am content to be doing none of it so I can focus on my writing.
Where I’m going? In an hour, I’ll be off to Weight Watchers, where hopefully I will be down another pound or two (2.8 down in the first week), but if I’m not, I’ll , forgive myself for indulging on good southern barbecue food while in Alabama and move on.
Until the next post I hope someday that if you get the chance, “you’ll live like you were dying!”