Over the next several days I’m going to be writing about the changes I’d like to make in 2011. I have very few friends who make New Year’s resolutions these days, and I understand their reasons. But I love the excuse that New Year’s Day gives me to examine my life, to feel that I can make a fresh start. Birthdays work the same way for me, as does the beginning of the school year. Whatever it takes to get some forward motion, right?
“Get in a good mood. How hard is it to decide to be in a good mood and be in a good mood once in a while?” – Lloyd Dobler, Say Anything
Ah, that Lloyd. He was wise beyond his years. I’ve always loved that line, and actually think it’s sound advice. No, we can’t be happy all of the time. We can’t avoid painful circumstances, disappointments, losses, and tragedies. But most of the bad moods that come into my life are not attributable to major causes. They are the results of my petty grievances with the world, my thin skin, my unfair expectations of other people, my sense of entitlement to having every little thing go my way. And when I let such smallness of character take over, not only do I wind up in a bad mood, I give it as a gift to everyone who comes near me. And yet I know, from experience, that I can choose to react differently. I can decide to give thanks, give the benefit of the doubt, and give up a little control. I can choose to be a more positive person. Do I want my children to grow up and remember me as a cranky old bat? Let me go ahead and answer that: No, I do not.
And so I’ll begin the year with the most trite of all resolutions. I want to be happier in 2011. By choice. By perspective. I believe it can be done.