My intention is to post the first day of each month and let you know if I’m succeeding at all with my New Year’s resolutions. Most of us make and give up our New Year’s resolutions in privacy. I wanted mine to be out there, for all the world to see, in the hope that it would keep me accountable. The fear of public humiliation may not be the best motivator to keep going, but I’ll take any motivation I can get.
Here’s where things stand one month into 2011. I’m going to start with the last resolution I posted and work backwards.
1) I Will Age Gratefully – There were really two resolutions tied together in this one: the commitment to stop worrying so much about looking older, and the commitment to be a thankful person. On the whole, I’d say….not bad. I’ve been deliberately working on saying “Thank you” far more often – both to people who should hear it, and to God. I’m finding that the more I do it, the easier it is to remember to do it. This morning I checked the forecast hoping for good news and found that the predicted snowfall has actually increased during the night. Atypically, it took only a couple of seconds to remember to say, “Thank you.” As in, “Not crazy about the idea of 18″ of snow, but thank you for another day. Thank you for a warm house, plenty of food, and the fact that the ice on the trees is going to look beautiful when the sun comes up.” As for worrying about how old I look, I haven’t given it much thought lately. The occasional bad mirror moment, but far less than normal. So thank God for that, too!
2) I Will Be a Hugger – This was the easiest to implement and so far the most complete success. Not only have I been hugging everyone in the family every day, I’ve been hugging other people willy nilly. I border on being a menace, but I’m having a good time.
3) I Will Further My Education – (See, I remembered the promise I made re. grammar!) I’m a little frustrated with myself in this area. You may remember that I need to read five books to get the Theology and Doctrinal Studies certificate from our denomination. My plan was to knock out a book every two weeks and be done by early March. Unfortunately, it took me all of January to finish the first book and take the exam. It’s really not that the books are too long; I just have a very short attention span. So…on the up side, I’ve taken a step toward that one, small goal. On the down side, I’m being far too slow about it. Need to pick up the pace. Also, in the last month I’ve come to the conclusion that I have a calling that requires serious pursuit. So while I’m continuing to work on the T & D certificate I’m trying to figure out the big picture path I need to take. Do I pursue an MDiv? Do I jump on the ordination track (Yikes!)? Or do I just look for the best lay-oriented education available, given my limited resources? Let me just say that as much as I appreciate the Christian Lay Training courses offered by my denomination, this looks like the Cadillac of such programs.
4) I’m Going on a Media Diet – My slow progress on #3 may be connected to my inconsistent progress with this one. I am being more intentional about not watching junk (no, I haven’t watched the new season of “Toddlers in Tiaras”), but I’m still watching too much. And checking Facebook and my Google Reader too many times a day. This is going to be harder than I thought, but I think it’s important enough to keep trying even if I seem to be losing the battle.
5) Death to the Crabby Mom – Holy cow, January has been challenging. Life has thrown some curve balls at me that have really tested my intention to choose happiness. And yet I keep choosing, and I’m getting better. Being thankful certainly helps, but then, so does hugging. Behaving as if I’m happy – saying aloud the things that are going right, smiling, hugging, sending notes of appreciation to friends – alters my mood. It’s not hypocrisy or putting on a false front, it’s just learning from Lloyd. And it makes a difference. Having said that, the Crabby Mom isn’t dead yet. I need to quit yelling at Cheesy and Bee. They’ve learned how to tag team and drive me crazy. In February my goal is to find new ways to respond to them.
I’m adding another resolution, one that I have been carrying out but that wasn’t on my original list. I will continue to post every day through the rest of 2011. It’s actually been easier than I expected, so far. I worried initially about how it would be perceived, but I think my ridiculous self-consciousness is something that I need to be rid of by now. It’s certainly true that I don’t have something important to say every day. Some days I write about things that only matter to me, and some days it’s all I can do to post a video. But knowing that I can post – that I WILL post – every day – is actually freeing. The thought that what I post must be important or interesting to everyone is paralyzing and I think it’s part of what slowed me down when I was writing for Civil Religion. I have to get past the fear that only certain people deserve to write, and I’m not one of them. I just keep telling myself what I’ve heard over and over from people who write for a living: write every day. More writing begets better writing. Here’s a quote I found this morning (in my Google Reader, natch) that encourages me:
In my own experience, nothing is harder for the developing writer than overcoming his anxiety that he is fooling himself and cheating or embarrassing his family and friends. To most people, even those who don’t read much, there is something special and vaguely magical about writing, and it is not easy for them to believe that someone they know—someone quite ordinary in many respects—can really do it.