I have mixed feelings about the decline of the New. Half of me is thankful. It's kind of like Christmas music- at first, you love it. It's motivating and inspiring. It puts you in a good mood. It makes you feel warm and fuzzy, like a great pair of slippers for your ears. Wait, they have those already, don't they? They're called earmuffs. SoCal girl here, what can I say? So ignore the fuzzy slippers for your ears/ear muffs reference. You get what I mean. Christmas music = good.
Until suddenly, it isn't. Suddenly it gets kind of annoying. There are only so many Christmas songs out there and the loop tends to be a lot shorter than you think. This causes some people to feel as though there should be more songs out there and they write things like the "Christmas Shoes"and "Where's The Line For Jesus." And then pop stars like Justin Bieber hop on board and record Christmas albums. Suddenly, the once-ear-muffy-goodness is now a bit like having a fork stuffed in your ear. So too the New of January quickly becomes ear piercing and I'm happy to see it dying down.
The other half of me is kind of saddened by the New's demise. I'm necessarily sad to see it go, but I'm saddened by the shortness of our attention spans and inability to actually stick to anything New. It's kind of embarrassing. I'd love to do an informal poll and see how many people are really and truly still sticking to their New Year's Resolutions or Wishes or Plans or whatever title they gave it 14 days ago. Yes, it was only 14 days ago.
I only had 1 Resolution as most of you know. I wrote about it so if you don't know it's because you didn't read it and you are a terrible and unsupportive friend. But because I am gracious I will give you an opportunity to redeem yourself here. Just kidding. I guess age and experience has taught me to be smart about my Resolutions. Or maybe it has just taught me to set the bar really low so I can easily achieve success... whatever. One single resolution for me. Apparently age and experience has also made me wise enough to hinge my Resolution and its success on the behaviors of others so that if I fail I have somewhere else to place the responsibility. I am ridiculously smart like that.
So my Resolution was this:
I will work hard to contain my anger, keep a calm voice, have reasonable expectations
and relax more if YOU (my children) stop doing stupid shit.
I am pleased to report that 15 days into the year I am a complete rock star when it comes to staying the course and making my Resolution a Reality. My children, however, are gigantic failures. They continue to do stupid shit. So while I try to work hard to do all the listed things (which you will notice was my exact wording: "work hard". Never said I will contain my anger, etc. I only had to work hard at it. Yeah, I'm married to a lawyer) my efforts have been thwarted by my children. Therefore I feel it is fair to conclude that HAD my kids stopped doing stupid shit I WOULD HAVE totally done all those things and the first half of the New month of the New year would have been considered a success. You follow my logic here?
OK, OK, OK. So it's not all my kids' fault. I may have gotten angry even though they didn't do anything stupid, just mildly irritating. And it is quite possible I did not have a calm voice when I should have. And reasonable expectations? Well, let's just say I'm a work in progress regardless of what my children do or don't do.
So if two weeks into the New year my children and I are Resolution failures of epic proportions, what does that say about us? Are we failures as people? Can you just not teach an old dog new tricks? Some would say yes, we are failing old dogs with old tricks. But wait, if that's true, what about the other cliche? The one that says, "You can never go back" ? If I can't go back but I can't move forward to something new, where does that leave me?
I know, deep philosophical thoughts for a Tuesday afternoon, right?
This morning I started back in Bible study at church. I used to go religiously- oh, now I see where that phrase comes from. Kidding, I was just being punny. When I first joined Bible studies I was a new wife looking to connect with other new wives as well as seasoned wives to get a little perspective about this crazy-train I had hooked myself to. Later in life, I was in Bible study as a new mom. My faith was a good portion of why I joined. During those early years of babies and play dates and staying home I needed the encouragement of my faith to get me through the days that were filled with nothing but tears and poop. But that wasn't the only reason I joined. Like many young moms, I just needed a place to go once a week where I could actually wear real clothes, hand my little cherubs off to someone else, have a cup of coffee and talk to grown up. Real life grown ups. Without interruption!
And so I went consistently for years. But as time went on and my kids started school and I started working, Bible study kind of fell by the wayside. In many ways it's the natural progression of life and schedules, but in other ways I needed a change. But today I went back- 3 years older and kidless. I'm no longer that frazzled new mom who drags herself in the door and sits praying they don't call her number because her kid is have a nuclear meltdown in childcare. I'm one of those other moms who casually strolls in, early of course, makes a plate of breakfasty goodness, grabs a cup of coffee and plants herself in a chair.
I guess you can say I've gone back. But I'm an old dog. And this is kind of a new trick because my experience looks quite different. So have I defied the odds? Have I disproved the cliches of old? Clearly not. A Wise Woman once told me that life isn't a journey down a path, it's an ascension up a mountain. When roads are built into mountains, rarely is the path straight up the face. Typically, roads tend to wind around the mountain like a spiral. You begin at the bottom and work your way up and around. What that translates to is a trip that often includes a whole heck of a lot of the same scenery... but from a new vantage point.
As you travel upward you can't help but circle back to the same side of the mountain you've already visited, but a little higher up. The higher you go, the broader your view. The broader your view, the more things seems to change- for better or for worse. The more they change, the more you see. You are suddenly able to see the things that lie just ahead or behind, how something enhances something else and most importantly, you see that what you originally noticed the first or even second time around, goes far beyond you ever imagined it could. It does not begin or end where you thought- it stretches on and on in many directions. And now that you've seen it grow and morph a few times, you're prepared to see even more changes the next time you come around the bend.
Sometimes the beauty is in the intricate details you can only see at the beginning, when you're close to the starting point and your view is narrow. But other times the beauty lies in your new ability to see it as part of something larger, the bigger picture.
So 2 weeks into the New of 2013, in many ways, I'm still the same. I have not even begun to enter the realm of "successful"in regard to my tiny singular Resolution. I've failed again, I guess you could say. But I don't think I'd say that. I'd say I may be right where I started, I may have "gone back" to my old or bad habit of yelling or getting mad or having unreasonable expectations, but I'm going to always go back to those things to a certain extent because that's my path. Maybe this time around the mountain, however, I will do it differently. Maybe I will have a broader perspective that allows me to see what sets me off or what I do to exacerbate situations. Maybe I will have gained a little more wisdom that allows me to see that the stupid shit my kids do is the same stupid shit every kid does and I shouldn't expect anything different or get so upset when it happens. Or, who knows, maybe this wider lens will simply allow me to see even more stupid shit they do.
I guess we are old dogs with old tricks who keep going back because that's just the path of life- a spiraled ascension up.
That's just my normal.