I’m not very good at following through with New Year’s resolutions. Heck – I’m not very good at following through with my grocery list. I used to sit down every year and write a list of my goals. And then one year I realized that I was writing the same list year after year. I had all these big plans for what I was going to do…plans that were pretty much forgotten by January 2nd.
See, I was approaching it all wrong – focusing on the shape of my thighs and the contents of my pantry. I was writing about what I wanted to DO, and not who I wanted to BE. If I wanted to change my life, I had to start by changing myself.
So instead of making resolutions, I’ve decided to keep it simple and pick one thing that I’d like to work on in 2014. And that thing is patience.
Patience With My Kids…
So here’s the thing. People who’ve spent a significant amount of time with me & my kids would probably describe me as a relatively patient mother. Frankly, I don’t have much of a choice. My girls are smart, beautiful, vivacious, and very, very strong-willed. I don’t think any child would be described as “easy,” but I do believe that some are more “easygoing” than others. And…well…let’s just say that neither of my daughters has ever been called easygoing. It’s okay though – neither have I.
So when I talk about being more patient with my kids, I’m not necessarily referring to stuff like not losing my temper or staying calm in frustrating situations. What I really mean is that I want to be more patient with them as people. To be present and give them my undivided attention, even when there are a million other things to do…even when cooking dinner will take twice as long with their “help”…even when it’s not easy. Especially when it’s not easy.
Patience With People…
If I learned one thing in 2013, it’s that I can’t make people change. (My magical powers are limited. Shocking, I know.) What I can change is how I respond and react to other people. Anything else is just a waste of energy. So in 2014, I’m going to work on responding to people with more kindness & forgiveness, and with less judgement & criticism. You may want to sit down for this…but the universe doesn’t revolve around me. (I can’t say for sure, but it probably doesn’t revolve around you either.) The person who cuts me off in traffic isn’t trying to insult me. The person who won’t scoot their yoga mat over to make room for me isn’t trying to hurt my feelings. Or maybe they are. I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter, does it? My point is that I can choose how I respond to this kind of thing. I can let it ruin my day. Or I can be patient…take a deep breath or two…and just let it go.
Patience With My Body…
I’m not saying I’m old or anything. But I am inching closer to 40 (there, I said it). I have asthma. I have two kids in elementary school who bring home germs every day. And I have finicky IT Bands. Plus I started running at 38, not 18. I can’t reasonably expect my body to do what a teenage runner’s body can do, nor can I expect to perform at the same level as my running friends who’ve been at it for 5 or 10 years. Yeah, I ran a marathon, but in the running world I’m still a newbie.
Poo happens. I might get sick or injured or need more rest time than what’s on my training plan. My body will tell me what it needs. My job is to listen.
If I keep at it, I’ll get stronger. I’ll get faster. And in the meantime, I need to be patient with my body. Patient and proud. There’s no reason to be embarrassed by my marathon finish time, because I FINISHED A FREAKING MARATHON. (Did you hear that, judgy people? Finished. A. Marathon.) If you want to judge my 5:34:44, then go ahead. But I’ll stick to being amazed by what my body has accomplished so far.
Patience With Myself…
I don’t try to hide the fact that I’m flawed. I mean, for starters, I’m posting my New Year’s Eve post on January 2nd.
I do my best to accept who I am, flaws and all. But when I’ve misplaced my inhaler 3 days in a row, when I’ve forgotten to start making dinner until my husband is 10 minutes from home, when I show up late for a run and my whole group has to wait for me…well, I get furious with myself for those things. I joke about being absentminded, but I really drive myself (not to mention the people around me) crazy sometimes.
But the thing is, I’m doing the best I can. So, yeah, there are things I don’t like about myself, but there are things I do like too. It’s all part of who I am, and (as one of my dearest & wisest friends always tells me) it all belongs. It doesn’t do me any good to beat up on myself – hello, anxiety & depression. I think that if I try every day to be the best Sharon that I can be…and if I’m gentle & patient with myself when I don’t quite live up to my (or others’) expectations, I will continue moving ahead on my path to being a better, happier, more fulfilled me.
2013 had some good moments, but overall it will go down in the books as a pretty crappy year. But guess what – it’s over, and today (well, technically yesterday) I get to try again. So Happy New Year to you, and Happy New Year to me. Here we go.
Did you make any New Years Resolutions? What one thing would you like to work on?