Happy New Year Resolutions (Guest Voice)
It’s that time of year again to take out your pen, pencil or laptop and write a bunch of New Year’s resolutions that you probably won’t keep. But in this Guest Voice post, author Martha Randolph Carr suggests some that she thinks we need to keep.
Happy New Year Resolutions
By Martha Randolph Carr
New Year’s resolutions are all about throwing ourselves into the future, which can ruin the present moment. We are encouraged to draw up a list of everything we don’t like about ourselves and resolve to fix them all, all at once.
Some of us spend the entire holiday season looking ahead imagining a better version of ourselves. We long for the moment when we will finally feel like we’re enough and can truly celebrate a new beginning. Years go by with the same recycled list of resolutions.
The first day of 2009 may cause quite a few of us to reflect on our economic past as well. Divorce lawyers report that the number of new clients peaks just before the New Year and many of us put on an extra ten pounds right around the middle. There is a great temptation to wonder what we could have done differently to insure that safe and happy future we can picture but we just don’t seem to be able to grasp. Enough of the whining already.
The truth is we only have the day we’ve been given and it’s full of every possibility. But in order to enjoy the gift of this moment we have to be willing to rejoice in who we are right now and just start.
That requires a new vision of ourselves as beautiful and capable, friendly and giving and able to forgive and show compassion. To see that shiny new self many of us will have to let go of the need to be right and a constant one-upmanship that has no end. A lot of old baggage has to be left at the curb and along with it an acknowledgment that we’re okay even if we never get that apology.
This year we can start out by giving ourselves an enormous gift of a blank slate. We can then start day one by coming up with a new kind of list of resolutions. Rather than constantly looking for reassurances from outward signs like how much we were able to buy on credit or who was thinner or had more Botox we can assume everyone is valuable because they are here. End of discussion as my mother used to love to say.
To get to that place of liberation we are going to stop behaving as if all of life is actually happening to us and understand it is just happening. When the car breaks down along the freeway it’s not personal. Accept that you may need to get it towed and it wasn’t in the budget and it will get fixed. In other words, move on already.
Next, put on the list a few reasonable risks you’d like to explore this year. A few suggestions are to get some help with the resume and send it out to the job openings you’d really like to have but were a little afraid would never get. Risk the rejection and find out. Ask a few trusted friends what you might do to improve your chances.
Or try joining a group of people who like to do the same hobby as you. Maybe it’s running or model trains or repairing the houses of those in need. There’s nothing like being of service to others as a reminder that we’re all connected and we’re all valuable. That includes the one who’s giving as much as the one who’s receiving.
And if there is a constant refrain of complaint or worry that you’ve been handing out to everyone within earshot for all of 2008 just stop right there. Accept that whatever has been bothering you is just happening, ask yourself what you can do to change it, take that action and then let it go. You’ve wasted enough days on it already.
The last suggestion is to start a gratitude list and keep it up for the entire year. Put down at least three things each day and try to include something wonderful about yourself and something about each loved one who is right around you. Over the course of 2009 don’t be surprised if your entire life starts to seem like the greatest gift of all. Happy New Year everyone. More adventures to follow.
Martha Randolph Carr’s latest book, A Place to Call Home, a memoir about the reemergence of U.S. orphanages is available wherever books are sold. Martha will be appearing at the United Way in Canton, Ohio on January 27th. Open to the public. If you’d like Martha to come and speak to your group visit: www.newvoicespeakers.com. Martha’s Big Adventure coming soon to World Talk Radio and Voice America. Email Martha at: Martha@caglecartoons.com or visit www.martharandolphcarr.com.
©2008 Martha Randolph Carr. Martha’s column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate.