Saturday, January 4, 2014

New Year's Musings

I've always loved the new year. Fresh starts. New beginnings. All that jazz. If you were to read my New Year's blogs or journals for the last decade (or more), you'd probably find similar thoughts. I always have had so many things I wanted to change. I'd start with this big list of things I was going to do differently. I had good intentions.  I'd plan for days leading up to January 1. I'd always get so excited. But I view the new year a bit differently now.

Sure, wanting to better ourselves is a good thing. It means we realize we're not perfect and that we have room for improvement. And I am certainly not denying the importance of making changes where needed. Not at all. But when our desire to change ourselves stops us from enjoying what's in front of us, we need to find some balance. Moving toward change while enjoying where I am and even the journey and the process is a lesson I've been learning. I don't spend enough time "delighting in the life I've been given", as I recently read somewhere.

I guess the reason I've always loved planning my New Year's resolutions is because I want guaranteed outcomes. I want control. We want to know that if we do XY and Z, that our kids will be respectful, responsible and contributing adults. We want to know that if we choose just the right career, we will be guaranteed a job or a certain income. We want to know that if we choose the right spouse, we'll live happily ever after in wedded bliss and never feel lonely again.

 I want to know how things will turn out. I don't "do" trust very well. I never have. I need to see proof. I need constant reassurances. But life doesn't work that way. There are no guarantees. Kids can't be reduced to formulas. Marriages sometimes end. The economy tanks. Companies downsize. And I'm learning to be okay with that. It's not easy. But it is freeing.

So what about my New Year's resolutions for 2014? I don't know. They're not so set in stone anymore. I am doing a yell-free challenge. I suppose that's one. And I want to do more things I enjoy. Just for me.  But really, I'm leaving things much more open-ended anymore. Finding joy right where I am, to paraphrase something I heard in a sermon recently. Instead of relying on doing this long list of things and working until I can finally feel good about myself and my life. To just be still. Just be. And enjoy my life. And yes, make needed changes. But from a place of strength instead of desperation. And to trust. Oh, how I need to learn to trust......Ok, there I go, I'm making a list again. So old habits die hard. What can I say?