I like the beginning of a new year; it holds such promise and hope. To tangibly feel a sense of promise and hope is a rare and fleeting treat for a mostly glass-half-empty, worried pessimist like me. By late January my warm fuzzy feelings about the New Year fade into a bone-cold fatigue from winter and its short, gray days. I begin to yearn for more light and the return of spring; and, fear of my annual February depression sets in…But for now, optimism reigns.
One of my favorite Christmas presents each year is a new calendar. I savor unwrapping it, as if doing so unleashes all the adventures to come. I linger over transferring birthdays, anniversaries and other things I know will happen from the old year to the new, thumbing through last year’s pages, remembering the events, appointments, deadlines and occasions noted there…Even the bad memories have their place, as they make the good memories even more dear.
I enjoy wondering what the new entries will bring – best birthday or anniversary ever? Notations about a new friend? A trip to….? Perhaps, a new job, interest or hobby? I don’t think about the bad things that could also occur - as I said, I save that for the rest of the year… As I file the old calendar away, I take time to realize, one more time, how many bad things didn’t happen last year and say a prayer of thanks for all the good things that did.
Once the calendar ritual is completed, I move on to New Year’s resolutions - not as much fun as imagining what 2010 may bring, but, just as necessary because making resolutions is a way of noting where I am and deciding where I’d like to be.
Some resolutions are always on the list because they never get accomplished and are such no brainers. Things like “lose weight,” “exercise more,” “eat less,” “drink more water” and “get organized” are amongst the perpetual entries…Maybe someday they’ll get done…
Then there’s the self-help resolutions: “take a yoga class,” “do more sit-ups,” “read more,” “watch TV less,” “become a better conversationalist,” “get a bike, ride it,” “find a productive hobby,” “join a study group,” etc, etc…Somehow, way too many of these end up reappearing year after year, as well…
The home improvement resolutions also have a way of never quite getting done: “sort closets, throw things away,” “give each room a thorough cleaning,” “repaint fading woodwork,” “tidy up yards – front and back,” “pressure wash house, clean windows,” Yep, they could go on the perennial list, too.
The self reproach resolutions are never much fun: “be less judgmental,” “eat less meat,” “be more positive,” “gossip less,” “stop eating fast food,” “do volunteer work,” “live greener,” “make new friends,” “get out more.” Sometimes it’s just so hard to motivate…
Last, and by no means least are the less tangible resolutions like “find more joy,” “have more fun,” “give more of myself to others,” “worry less,” “laugh more,” “be more generous and kind.” These are my favorites because they sound so lovely but are so obscure that the chances of achieving them are quite slim, so there pressure’s gone.
This year I have a new strategy for working my resolutions list. I’m going to get a Nintendo Wii complete with fitness games and dance pad. It will help me lose weight and exercise more, and all that exercise will make me drink more water. It includes yoga and doing more sit ups. Playing with my Wii will mean there’s less time for TV and talking about it will make me a better conversationalist. I suppose Wii could be considered a productive hobby – at least the exercise games. In order to make room for my Wii and the pads and boards and things that come with it, I’ll have to sort and throw away some things, and give at least the TV room a thorough cleaning.
I’m pretty sure my new Wii will make me less judgmental – I used to make fun of grownups who play games. And, my renewed sense of fitness will help me be more positive and eat less fast food, plus I’ll be so busy with my games I won’t have time to gossip.
The real bonuses from my Wii are in the “less tangible resolutions” area. There’s no doubt I will be having more fun, worrying less and laughing more – one look at me rocking to the hits while thumping around on that dance pad guarantees that. So, there it is – check “find more joy” off the list, too. We’re not even a week into 2010 and, thanks to my new Wii, it’s already shaping up to be a pretty good year.
Lorin Sinn-Clark is a columnist for the Barrow Journal. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.