Every year around this time I sit down and make a list of all the awesome things I want to accomplish in the New Year, because that’s what we do, right? I refer to my “to do” list as “inspirations” rather than “resolutions”, because it sounds more spiritual or doable or something. In the past my lists included: losing weight, eating healthy, being positive, finding the good, getting more sleep, spending less, praying more, reading more, relaxing more…and all those things are good. But the fact is, I weigh more than I ever have, I don’t eat healthy, I’m cynical (even negative), I stay up crazy late, buy what I want, pray marginally, read occasionally, and relax almost never. I guess I’m one of those optimists who plan big and fizzle out. But the important part of that is the “plan big” part.
I can think of a hundred things I’ve started in my lifetime that I didn’t finish – the snow fort when I was 10, the yard I thought would be fun to rake, the Thank You cards for my 8th grade graduation… more recently, my 2015 Christmas Cards (they’re coming, I promise). Months and months ago I asked two old friends to help me brainstorm some ideas for a speaking gig about that book I wrote 10 years ago, and then I never sent them copies of the book…why did I do that? Why do I start big things and then not follow through? I want to change and learn and grow; I want to push my limitations, step into a new setting, challenge my being…but I often stop before I really start.
I did that with piano lessons too, and traveling and cooking and organizing and budgeting and writing and exercising and a lot of other things. I was super excited to get one of those Mandela coloring books for my birthday last year and was finished with it before the first picture was complete; it stressed me out with all the tiny spaces, different colors, time…I learned that tedious, slow-paced activities are not my thing. I learn something from all my unfinished starts – something about myself, about what I like and don’t like and want and don’t want; something about timing or relationships or desire or talent. I learn to adapt, to plan, to do it differently or not do it at all.
At 48 I’m finally accepting and honest about who I am, what I like and don’t like, what I’m good at and not-so-good at, and most of that information came from all those endless beginnings. I didn’t make a list of inspirations/resolutions/to-do’s this year, I just made a decision – to begin again.
This New Year I wish you the opportunity to begin again too, to begin something, anything.