New Year's Eve, 2013. L and I have already been out and had a little dinner at our favorite pizza place. If you couldn't guess, we're not much for parties and revelry. I didn't put a stitch of makeup on all day, and I went to dinner barefaced. And of course I ran into an old friend... Oh well - I think I'm progressing, as I wasn't even properly mortified. Only just a little. We had antipasto salads and a medium pizza with "the works." Exactly what I wanted tonight after all of the rich and fancy foods over the holidays. I guess it still wasn't exactly lo-cal, but it was true comfort food as one year makes it's exit, making way for the new.
I'm not one to make resolutions. I have an idea of what I'd like to accomplish, or at least work on, in 2014. It's a list that wouldn't be an interesting read for most anyone else. It's a list that will, hopefully, strengthen shortcomings I see in myself, or help me resolve confidence issues. Help me become more well rounded. More thoughtful. More intuitive. Help me anticipate what steps to take next.
1. Patience. Need more of it. Patience with myself. Patience with family. There are those family members who are, shall we say, prickly at times to deal with. I've been known to get extremely frustrated to the point of anger. I need to stop that, and accept what is. I need to stop treating the issue like a battle of wills, and just love them. No matter what. Because what they don't need is a lecture from me. A lecture will not stop the behavior, and (although I may be disappointed because something isn't going according to plan) I need to learn how to roll with it and not sweat the little stuff.
2. Spirituality. Need more of it. I need to stop putting unrealistic expectations on myself, and realize I just may need a little help here. Or a lot of it. Do everything within my power, and then, when there is no more to do (or I'm at the end of my rope), learn to rely on my faith to help me through. It's never failed me yet, but I am so reluctant to give up my control - the control I never had in the first place. You see the problem here. More prayer, more time on my knees, more careful listening for answers. Not less stress - just the ability to handle it better, accept what is, and try to see the lesson or the plan. Something.
3. Go the extra mile with confidence. No thinking that a phone call might not be welcome, or that I might be intruding. Write more notes, give more compliments, because really - who doesn't like them? Smile at people I don't know. Be the first to extend a hand, instead of waiting for an invitation. And for heaven's sake, don't hide behind a snarky mask when I'm feeling vulnerable. That's been my favorite go-to when I'm feeling insecure, and it doesn't really show me in my most attractive light. Not at all. And call those little ones I love so much, send them cards, and be a happy face in their little lives as much as possible. Keep up with their fund raisers, their activities, their books read. That will make us all happy.
So that's it. The Big Three. Of course there are other goals - get back on the diet train and lose that last 15 pounds. Get back in touch with my talents and activities I love. I used to play piano until (with the last move about 20 years ago) about 14 strings broke. Make this the year we finally get that baby grand repaired and back in working order. Get back to playing music and filling our home with it. I used to paint. I'm not sure if I love it like I used to, but I'd like to explore it a bit, maybe find a project that interests me. I've become far too one-sided with work, work, and more work. Time to clear the table and get out the paints and brushes. Teach myself some new tricks with my camera. It takes practice (and patience: see #1 above) Be better about writing and blogging. I love to write.
Sometimes it's hard to sit down and begin, but once I do, the words seem to pour out. My life is far from extraordinary, but I notice that my favorite writers do tend to write about the ordinary things surrounding them. It's comforting to realize we all have similar trials, triumphs, and take joy in the same simple things.
We're all just humans trying to get along in this world as best we can. Some of us pull ahead at times, seeming to have an edge, and sometimes we get knocked flat. What matters is that we get up and try again. We take inspiration from each other, we learn to be courageous from watching others struggle valiantly. We learn compassion from having a hand extended to us when we're in need, so we can, in turn, extend ours to the next one in need. We behave badly, and we learn better ways to cope with problems. Always the upward climb in learning and personal growth. I find that having spiritual beliefs helps. Makes me feel less alone. Less helpless. There is always Someone I can pour my heart out to, who loves me unconditionally, and who knows the real me with all of my complicated issues. It's comforting and empowering all at the same time.
So Happy New Year - 2014. It's always interesting to ponder what the year will bring. 2013 brought our family two sweet baby boys. It brought me reunions with the best sort of friends. It brought it's share of trials, too. There are always those, but I choose not to dwell on them too much. There is only so much I can do about most of them, and so that is where the prayer and faith come in. Prayer for the wisdom to know when/where/how I CAN make a difference, and faith that we are loved and watched over, and that I can let go of that control I don't have in the first place. And so as we stand on the edge dividing old and new, I have that excitement that comes with anticipating the unknown. Knowing there will be hard times and disappointments, and hoping I will handle them with grace. But also knowing there will be many good times and hidden joys that will be completely unexpected. Hopefully more of those, as they're much more fun, don't you think? But having said that, I wish you all the very best for 2014. Joy, love, happiness, good health - all of it. The whole banana. And when the bad days come - as they surely will - I wish you grace under pressure, many helping hands, and the knowledge that you are loved. Armed with that knowledge, you are ready for anything. Anything.
Happy New Year.