Even after the transparent admission last week that Christmas is “my favorite time of the year,” I must also acknowledge a strong fondness for New Year’s Day. Not the festive and frolicking New Year’s “rockin’” Eve — although toasting to friends and family both near and far is certainly sweet — but the actual initial day of another year. Why? Because I love resolutions!
Yes, yes… I realize that last line prompted many a sigh or perhaps even a “so long” for this post this day. My apologies. I do not desire to evoke such a lack of energy or entertainment value. Note, however, that my relishing of resolutions evolves not from the actual, annual intentions…
… I want to be healthy… exercise consistently… pray more… love others better… be less judgmental… be respectful… eat better… figure this “God stuff” out… work harder… listen more… talk less… be more giving, selfless — less selfish… read a new book… ask for recommendations… ask for directions… read the Bible… be teachable… save more… spend less… go to the spa… hug my kids… teach my children well… get on the scale less… focus more on people instead of things… write a letter… spend less time on Facebook… take more walks… get more sleep… focus on the important things in life… get more organized… take a daily vitamin… work on my abs… quit smoking… get a better job… be nicer… take a vacation… volunteer… read a classic… fast… get out of debt… spend more time with my family… drink less… count my calories… make a new ‘to-do’ list… throw away my old ‘to-do’ list… do away with ‘to-do’ lists… seize the day… be less busy… read the Intramuralist more… stop and smell the roses… appreciate the beauty of the sky… apologize… forgive… forgive again… and again… commit to living wisely… be more humble… be healthy…
Now the reason the sighs and “so long’s” are so often prompted lies within the reality that for most of us, the above are only intentions — as opposed to permanent changes in our behavior. Our intentions are too often temporary. Hence, if they are temporary, what’s the benefit of making the resolutions to begin with?
Ah, and therein lies the fondness for the Intramuralist.
What would life be like if we encouraged the above, positive behavior change, but yet, we also allowed ourselves the freedom (for lack of better words) to “screw up”?
In other words, what if we recognized that much of the above is hard? …too hard, in fact. Much of the above — even with earnest intent and commitment — may be or appear too difficult to do. With that honest recognition, how would our resolutions be altered? Would we then simply refrain from ever making them? Would we give up on the process, noting that while the behavior would certainly be a positive change, that the degree of difficulty makes our pursuit fruitless? … that with desired consequences unlikely, resolutions are futile and therefore unnecessary?
Friends, as realistic as such sounds, my greater sense is that such logic misses the beauty forded on New Year’s Day.
It is not the actual resolution that possesses greatest value. True, eating healthy is a good idea; it has great value. So does taking a daily vitamin, being humble, and appreciating the beauty of the sky. Those are good things! But the benefit of the resolution is the growth that comes via the process. The more we focus on being humble — whether or not we actually, ever, totally and truly get there — the more we focus on being less judgmental and exercising more consistently, the wiser we will be. The healthier we will be. And while we may not actually “get there,” the pursuit moves us closer to where we want to be. The pursuit — and thus the intent — is good.
The reason the Intramuralist so appreciates New Year’s Day is because it’s a clean slate. Once again, we are given the abstract opportunity to focus on what’s most important. Yes, we need to give ourselves great grace in the process; know now that we will most likely “screw up” somewhere. But thanks to the freshness and attractiveness of a clean slate, we are more willing to make the resolutions that we know would be wise to embrace.
Happy New Year, friends! Time for this semi-humble blogger to hit the elliptical.