Rethinking New Year's

Right about the middle of December, as I am dashing around town, finishing up all the Christmas lists, to-dos, wishes, and wants and going to the grocery store, yet again, I begin thinking about the New Year that is zooming up to our front door. Of course my first response is, “I can’t believe the year has gone by so quickly”, which is also the observation of most of my friends. Then I start thinking of everything that has happened during this year that is quickly coming to a close. Cataloging events in my head, looking at where I am in my life and contemplating where I hope I will be. There are a lot of “need to’s” and “should’s” prefacing my thoughts though, thinking about the future. Generally pointing to what I imagined I would have done in the past year had I gotten around to it.

So I began pondering my resolutions for the upcoming New Year and what I realized was my inner voice sounded more like my third grade teacher than me. Mrs. Bradford was a bit of a gentle tyrant, it was the sixties after all, and she was good at making us do things that we didn’t want to do and that we didn’t know were good for us, like practicing cursive and learning to spell long words.

I looked at the resolutions I had begun writing down on my legal note pad, using a pencil so I could erase them in case they were just too hard to do, and found they fell into to three categories. The first were subtractions I was going to attempt to make in my life. The taking away of guilty pleasures which aren’t really good for me. As in, don’t eat bread of any sort (I’m gluten sensitive) and don’t even think of eating pizza. Then I kept on reading down the list and ran across my dutiful resolutions, I’m the oldest child of five, they come naturally. One was making sure I reminded myself to be a better truck owner. “Keep up with regular oil changes!” And then there were my resolute “do good, do better” additions which always trip me up.

The thread was, my plans for the New Me in the New Year really weren’t much fun when you got down to it.

So, I put on my mental brakes and screeched to a halt. I asked myself a very fundamental question … how many N.Y.R. had I really kept-attained-completed over the past, say, five years. The answer was, quite frankly, very few. That was hard to admit, achieving and striving are part of my DNA, and yet the truth was sadly staring back at me. I really hadn’t done all I set out to do at the turn of each year. I might have finished one or two things, but not everything I had optimistically written down. The over-ambitiousness of a long list of good for me changes just couldn’t measure up to my real life. Which is full and messy and imperfect. On a good day.

This year I am going to take a different approach. I am going to make a list using the Law of Four Year Olds. It’s the belief that every day is new and fresh and filled with learning and limitless possibilities. It’s a law saying you can do anything, and do it well. And that simple excitement is always around the corner. I have decided to enhance the me that already exists, the real me. “Warts and all!” as my grandmother used to say. Finding an addition that is playful and new in my life. Or continuing to grow and nurture what I am already doing that makes me happy and fills me up. Making sure I prioritize and give time to whatever that may be. And I might, just might, go out on a limb and include doing something that takes me away from my comfort zone.

The main thing is this. My N.Y.R. list is going to be short and wildly attainable. And fun. It will also take into account who I really am and the cadence and rhythm of my life as it is now. If one of my to dos is out there, I’ll make sure it isn’t too far out so I can get to it with confidence and a sense of accomplishment. And I will remind myself that each day, each moment, is a treasure, to be lived in wholly and wisely and with a sense of wonder. Just like a four year old.

Happy New Year from Hoffman Haus!