Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year!

Are you all sitting down to write up your New Year’s resolutions? I will not be making any new year’s resolutions as I don’t believe in them. I believe that we should be checking and evaluating our actions all during the year and adjust them as we go along.

Any conscious adult knows when they are doing something they shouldn’t – because they feel guilt or shame; like after eating that piece of Godiva from the box sitting on the counter just after eating lunch and a bowl of popcorn with cheese sprinkled on top. You can hear that little voice in your head saying “you shouldn’t have done that”. Or pouring that extra glass of wine when you are already a little over the edge. Or telling that little white lie and convincing yourself that no one will be hurt by it.

Some people make lists at the beginning of each year – like lists of to do’s or goals and objectives. I had tried the old goal setting in the past, and I did achieve some of them; however my goals were not always written, they were mental notes or challenges to myself; like being determined to not be afraid to speak at a board meeting when surrounded by a staid group of old, successful Main Line business men. In order to get over my fear I developed a mental plan: become a lector at church - forcing myself to get up in front of a group of people and read; join professional groups and become active on their boards. Eventually I could interject during a discussion at a Board meeting without turning red and shaking.

A public broadcasting news show I heard this morning talked about the “Exhibit of Lists” at the Louvre. They noted that they have found lists in hieroglyphics on ancient pieces of Egyptian art. The speaker commented that lists appear from the very beginning of humanity, as soon as man was able to write. One visitor to the exhibit commented that “lists may help you remember things, but they stifle creativity”. I agree that lists help us remember things. Thierry is great at making lists: of to do’s, things he needs to pack when traveling, things he needs to buy. My problem with lists is that you have to refer to them periodically – which I usually forget to do.

I don’t necessarily agree with the second part of this statement – because again, lists are really to help you remember things – perhaps he is addressing those that set goals, following their “plan” faithfully to the point of obsession and never straying from the path. I have known people like that – planning when they would get married, start having children, when they would buy their first house and how much they would spend for it, and so on. And they are rather dull people.

One idea about making resolutions that resonated with me the most was stated in a column in our local paper by the writer, Lisa Scottolini. She believes in unresolutions. That is doing what makes you happy. In her case it’s washing her hair once a week instead of every day. A simple rule on how best to spend each day. Just as we know when we are doing something we shouldn’t, we know when something makes us feel good. We can have that piece of chocolate as long as we don’t eat the whole box – at least not in one sitting, and savoring the moment.

I have already decided to try and spend my days doing what makes me happy, even though I don’t always feel up to it. I don’t see this as making a resolution, but adopting a philosophy on how to live.

Thierry and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary on New Year ’s Eve by watching two sets of fireworks from our condo and having dinner at our friends’ apartment. We then welcomed the New Year with a small party at our house, with my daughter and son-in-law and some very good friends.

2009 has been a challenging year, but there have been so many wonderful moments that it has also been a very wonderful year to have been alive.

PS:  Thierry took the picture above at this year's Mummer's Parade held in Philadelphia

No comments: