I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions, but I have made and kept life resolutions at random points in time unrelated to the calendar.
In these final hours of 2015, as part of a promise I made to myself last spring to focus on the positive and to celebrate the small wins, I take a moment to glimpse back into my life’s ledger and share some old resolutions achieved and maintained.
2001: Watch less TV, read more, and enroll in graduate school. Result: Master’s degree awarded in Dec. 2005.
2005: Exercise your body the way you’ve been working out your brain. Result: became enamored with Zumba (except we called it dance aerobics back then), got addicted to endorphins, and gained 5 pounds in one month.
Later in 2005: And, by the way, eat better too. Result: Gained an appreciation of salad, spaghetti squash, and food journaling, and lost 35 pounds in nine months.
2007: Take care of the house the way you’ve been taking care of your brain and body. Result: I’m still by no means a neat freak, but at least now, at any given moment, my home is probably only an hour or two’s work away from being company-ready.
2010: Take up a creative practice again. Result: Began making collages like a fiend.
2013: Be more accepting of yourself. Result: Work in progress. A for effort, C- for execution.
2014: Fight cancer. Fight sadness and despair and doom. My top secret coded mantra for this resolution was: surf the tsunami, don’t let it drown you. Result: So far, so good. Still here and still breathing air, not salt water.
2015: Focus on the positive. Be confident. Honor life’s small wins. Result: You’re reading it. (Plot twist: all this infernal bragging is my therapy.)
Keeping these promises to myself isn’t easy, especially considering they’re sometimes in direct opposition to each other. For example, collaging, at least the way I like to do it, encourages hoarding stacks of magazines and other supplies and creates a blast zone of glue and cut-up bits of paper that threatens to undo that whole clean-house resolution.
But I can usually manage to keep these opposing forces in balance like a Jedi boss. Double pat on the back for that.
So cheers, 2015! Here’s to a 2016 where we, all of us, choose not to dwell on our losses but to let them recede in the background until they’re mere specks disappearing in the rearview, where we make the time to see and to celebrate the wonderful and varied wins that surround us all.