Thursday, January 1, 2009

"The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul."

-- G.K. Chesterton

There's something so satisfying and hopeful about a New Year. We get this swell of emotions in our chests right before midnight, consumed with dreams of what the incoming year will be like - how it will be different - better - than the year just finished.

Its completely ridiculous, of course. There's nothing stopping us from, on a Tuesday in April, deciding right then and there to make a change, or to resolve to doing (or not doing) any number of particular things. But there's also nothing stopping us from breaking those new promises to ourselves five minutes later, then telling ourselves, "Oh, wait, I mean, starting NOW." Then, "No, wait -- NOW."

OK, granted, this same mentality is exactly why so many people join gyms in January, only to never enter them again once March comes a-callin'.

Last year, I started this blog with a list of resolutions. I had ten or so very particular things I was going to do during 2008 (and I won't be linking to that post now - if you really want to you can go and dig for it, but trust me, it isn't that interesting). The truth is, they weren't all that challenging, though I did complete most of them.

In the end they didn't really matter. It was more like crossing items off a "to do" list. They didn't make me any better of a person, feel more fulfilled, or have much of an effect on my life.

This year, I really have just one, and I don't want to even call it a resolution. More like a mantra.

In 2009 I will feel more at peace with myself and where I am.

At first glance, that may sound like a "gimme", but the reality of it is that no matter how together or polished I may look to my friends and co-workers, I often doubt just about every decision I make. (I get compliments to the effect of, "Oh, but you make it look easy." Pshaw.) I lay awake at night, anxious about the things I didn't get around to doing, or the corners I cut in completing the things I did get to.

I know its self-inflicted anguish. I put upon myself the expectation to not so much do everything perfectly, but to do more than I usually do. I feel like I do everything half-assed. I never quite do anything to 100% of my ability, or do 100% of the things I'd like to do. Instead, I seem to operate at about 80%.

Considering that 80% is a passing grade doesn't soothe my soul one bit, though.

I'm a working Momma. I tell myself that once the Hubby makes a bit more money I'll stay home and maybe do some sort of freelance work. But the truth is I like working. I like getting dressed in heels and jewelry and heading off into the world of adults, where I accomplish things on a daily basis that show immediate results.

You know, versus kids, where you won't see for another 15 years or so how much you've screwed up their heads by telling them that gypsies will come take them away if they keep acting rotten.

So in 2009, I'll strive to feel a little less like a loser when all I do after coming home from work in the afternoons is make dinner and play with my kids. Cuz doing that well is more important than trying to do those things AND getting all the laundry caught up but falling short on each and every thing.

In 2009, I'll try and stop telling myself that we'll go on a trip once the boys are a little older, or we'll buy this or that once we've moved to a bigger house. OK, so a king-sized bedroom set will hardly fit in our current tiny bedroom, but maybe we'll buy it anyway. Cuz being able to cuddle or wrestle with my boys while they're still small and want to do those things with me in the mornings is more important than the practicality of waiting until we have a bigger house in which to do them.

In 2009, I'll attempt to be more graceful at accepting compliments. I am a good mother, I know that. But when I get compliments, I'm going to try and stop myself from thinking that although they may be true, there are better mothers than I. I'll teach myself to just say "Thank you!" and mean it.

In 2009, I want to become a more beautiful person. I want to see a situation where I can make a difference - no matter how small - and act accordingly, instead of second guessing myself or worrying about what others will think of my decisions. Next time I see an elderly person straining to reach something in the grocery store, I'll get it for them - to hell with thinking I might offend them.

In 2009 I'm going to be more honest with myself, and about myself. When people ask me if I want more kids I often shrug my shoulders and quietly say, "It might be nice." Instead I'll try not to let my voice crack when I say, "Definitely."

And maybe in 2009 I will work less. And play more. And make time for the small things. And maybe not run myself so ragged.

I'll just have to see how my soul feels about it.

What are YOUR resolutions for this year?


Melisa said...

I like this post alot, Colleen!

I don't really make resolutions. Jim and I talked about it this morning and I decided that in lieu of resolutions, we're just gonna try to "keep goin' the way we're goin'."

Peace and happiness to you in 2009!


Rebecca said...

I think your resolution is a good one. I would benefit -- enormously -- from resolving to do the same thing. I could write BOOKS on the subject. But this is the Internet, so I'll just leave it at that. :)

Anglophile Football Fanatic said...

I think if you manage to both play with the kids and cook, you are doing FAR more than I do! (the cooking, of course) Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I really like your resolve - or lack of know what I mean. I think your focus for 2009 is brilliant.

I decided that my only resolution for now will be to quit smoking. That in itself will affect so many other areas that many people make resolutions about - health and finances, just to name a few.

I think that once I tackle that and feel good and strong about it then I will start setting a few more goals. Really, it doesn't matter to me that they're not all documented on January 1. Baby steps :)

Kim said...

Beautifully stated Colleen.. I need to pull a list together.I need something to document it .. this is the year..yep. Let's kick 2009 together.. :)

Miss said...

I dont make resolutions either. Because I always fail at them. Then I feel like shit. So if I dont set myself up, I cant fail as badly. Right?

Here's to 09!

Momo Fali said...

I think all of this has slowly been happening with me. As I've gotten older, I've learned to accept things the way they are and stop waiting or wondering so much.

Tom said...

You're doing a great job Colleen. Just keep doing what you do best. This will be the year when Jason lands that new job. You'll also get that new house along with the room to expand your family. 2009 should be a good year. Good seeing everyone at the Xmas party. See you again soon.

Haasiegirl said...

Its great to have a plan, to have a goal and it allows us to really change and be a better person!

Great job and good luck moving forward with your own personal goals.


SuZ said...

Plans are always a good thing. Helps you remember things when times get really crazy. :)

P.S. Found you through

petit said...

No new year resolutions, they never work out for me, this year I just want to be positive ALL THE WAY! Coming from MomDot.