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The Resolution Ritual

I cleaned out the pantry today. Okay, before you stop reading, let me explain that I am going somewhere with this. It was a monumental mindless task, one that I have put off for months. And as I examined can after can of expired beans and rock-hard spices, I had time to think about the New Year.

We all begin with a blank slate handed to us wihen the ball drops at midnight. We are filled with hopes to be a better version of ourselves in the twelve months to follow. It is interesting how that annual dose of optimism gives us the ambition to tackle our dreams and goals with gusto, and the faith to believe that we will succeed. There are platitudes, cutesy sayings from the internet admonishing us to reach for the stars, love with pure passion, be kind to ourselves and each other. And somehow, at the bewitching hour when the clock strikes twelve, ushering in a new year, we are confident that we can. That is, until it gets difficult.

The gyms are filled to capacity in January with people committed to getting fit; grocery stores run out of kale instead of eggnog; the shelves in the liquor stores remain stocked. Everyone seems to try a little harder to achieve something significant. But by March, much of that resolve fades as the reality sets in. Change is never easy, and old habits are tough to break. Trust me, I know. And when family and coworkers test our patience, we forget our vow to smile and let it go. Projects don’t go as planned; vacations are spoiled; tragedy knocks on our doors. So, we reach for the bag of chips and open a bottle of wine and whisper “maybe next year.” Because life can’t be wrapped up in a neat little package, because it is messy and sometimes, difficult, our best intentions fall by the wayside.

So as I wiped down dusty shelves, I thought of my own resolutions and my ability to persevere long enough to accomplish them, for them to become as much a part of my daily existence as brushing my teeth and feeding the dogs. Life is measured in the time we have on this earth until one day we take that big step which leads us from this mortal plane. In those final moments, we will look back on our existence and wonder if we could have been better, done more, made sensible choices and used our time wisely. Maybe resolutions help guide us so that we live without regret. It’s a nice thought, isn’t it?

So this year, I will

  • Be more grateful because goodness knows, I am blessed far beyond that which I deserve. Let me be ever-mindful of the abundance that comes my way, the good things, both big and small, the kind word and thoughtful deed. And when life throws me a curve ball, may I be thankful for the lesson the universe has chosen to teach me.

  • Declutter my life, which means tackling the hoard I keep hidden in the attic and basement. This year, I hope to finally admit that my kids are not so keen on owning Grandma’s teapot collection, but somebody else might be. As I give away the things which weigh down my life, I hope I will feel lighter, which will free me in other ways as well.

  • Go somewhere I have never been because I’ll never be too old for adventure. The trip is booked and in March, I will see the Eiffel Tower, gaze upon the Mediterranean Sea, eat croissants and drink fine wine, all with my best friend, who has firmly supported (and tolerated) me for three decades.

  • Be a little easier on myself, especially when life doesn’t go as planned, to forgive myself when I stumble and especially when I fall. To remember that it’s perfectly fine to have a pajama day, to embrace a new wrinkle or an extra pound or two. My house doesn’t have to be perfect, nor am I expected to be.

  • Dance and sing more, not just because it is darned good for the heart and soul, but because there is something healing and beautiful in the music, lifting the spirit into another world, a place with no fear or anger or stress. For me, it is the simplest and most rewarding way to escape from reality.

  • Honor that which is sacred both within me and exists in the spiritual plane of what I believe to be true. May I be ever mindful that my existence is not accidental and that all that I do and say should be for the glory and honor of He who made me.

  • Laugh always and often because there isn’t anything better than sharing a giggle (or two). It makes even the simplest moment memorable and entertaining. Fun is such a tiny word, but it packs a powerful punch. Gee, I love to be foolish.

  • Do something for others, even if it isn't on a grand scale. May I be consciously aware that sometimes, the simplest acts of compassion and caring for a fellow human can make a big difference, not only in their lives, but mine as well.

  • Spend time with those I love, the special people who understand and accept me for who I am, even when I’m not at my very best.

  • Floss daily because if you aren’t true to your teeth, they will be false to you. (sorry) Besides, my dentist recommends it.

  • And finally, I have a book to finish, one I hope will delight the generous readers who have kindly supported me in 2016. I am indebted to each and every one of you.

Happy New Year to you all! May you find happiness, fulfillment, and peace in the months ahead. And I would love it if you’d share your resolutions, too!

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