I know I’ve made my share of resolutions in the past. I usually resolve to lose weight, to get up earlier, to be nicer, to stop swearing, save more money, give more to others…
The list goes on and on. The first week of the New Year usually finds me sleep deprived and hungry, swearing like a sailor and exhausted from the effort of trying to remember everything that I promised myself I would do.
This year, however, will be different.
I am not resolving to be more or less of anything for the entire year. Instead, I am choosing in each moment to be the person that I want to be. As I walk through my day, I will examine my thoughts, words and actions and I will ask myself, “Is this who I want to be?”
If the answer is no, then I hope to stop midstream and change course. It is never too late to change, and now is the perfect moment to be exactly what you’d like to be.
This, of course, is easier said than done. This weekend, I got a trial run when I drove the kids to Park City for a movie and some shopping. First of all, there were about a million people in Park City for Olympic trials. But, I wasn’t going to let a little California traffic ruin my Zen mood. I don’t know how they learn to drive in California, but after being cut off half a dozen times, I silently blessed each driver, hoping their day was brighter after nearly killing me.
Then, at the movie theater, the guy selling tickets said, “There is no showing of “The Hobbit” at 1 p.m. The internet was wrong.”
Fortunately, I didn’t have to open up a can of crazy on him, because the people in line ahead of me did. I stood by serenely, watching the tourists go bananas. Coincidentally, they decided to show “The Hobbit” at 1 p.m.
I wasn’t fazed when I chose the slowest popcorn line, nor was I perturbed when the clerk dropped my giant cup of diet coke on the floor. When the popcorn burned, because the kid was cleaning up the diet coke, the guy behind me muttered, “I’m not eating burned popcorn.”
I peacefully replied, “I like burned popcorn.”
Surprised he said, “Really? You like that?”
“No”, I answered from my happy place, “I just tell myself I do, so I won’t hate it.”
He looked at me as though I were some crazy hippy chick. As if.
All was well until the car ride home. And then, after an hour in the car, two hours in the theater, and a ride back to Wyoming, my kids opened up a can of crazy on me. They started poking, prodding, arguing, whining, and making the trip as miserable as possible.
And the drivers tailgating the entire way did not help my irritation.
I tried talking nicely. I tried distracting them with conversation.
Me: “Wasn’t that a great movie?”
Gunnar (with his headphones turned up all the way): “WHAT?!”
Lexi (jabbing him in the ribs): “Be in the present Gunnar. Mom isn’t going to keep repeating herself.”
Gunnar (louder): “WHAT??!!”
Lexi (yelling): “I SAID, BE IN THE PRESENT. We aren’t going to keep going to the past just because you aren’t listening.”
And so it continued for an hour. By the time we reached Evanston, my Zen was gone, my irritation had peaked and my jaw was clenched tight with the effort of not screaming like an insane woman.
Life can be trying. Most days, especially during Christmas vacation, we are challenged from all sides.
We don’t have to resolve to be better parents, to stop yelling, or even to lose weight. We don’t have to commit for a whole year. It just takes a decision in the moment to have things be different. And in some moments, that might take a little longer.
The good news is we always get a chance to start again. We don’t have to wait for a new year, a new week or a new day. We can start today, being the person we want to be.
So, when the kids are yelling, the dogs are barking and the fudge is calling your name, take just a moment to breathe deeply. Pause. Wait. And then be the person you really want to be.
Happy New Year and Namaste, Friends