A new year is a time for endings and new beginnings.
It’s a perfect setting for a person like me. It’s like putting on a clean and new outfit in the morning when what I wore yesterday was filthy, out of style, out date, out of the right color buttons. The new year is like the new, cool outfit that still has the tags on it, the creases from being folded on the shelf, and the fresh smell of New. When I put it on, I will become a new person. My hair will be easier to manage. My boobs will look sexier. I will be accepted when I enter a party with people I don’t know so well. I will look skinnier. I will speak with confidence. The old me will cease to exist and I will be refreshingly different.
OK, so this is all ramble and I don’t know why anybody is still reading this. My point is obvious. Just like getting a new outfit, no matter how trendy and expensive, will not make us better persons (we are still rotten and stinky on the inside), so starting a new year with all kinds of good intentions and resolutions will not make us better people either. We need to go to the core, baby. We need to scrub off the old doo-doo. And that can happen any time during the year.
I had one resolution this year. It was to become kinder. I thought that that was a pretty good resolution to have. Nothing as vague as getting in better shape, losing weight or learning another language. Just: Become a kinder person.
But, sadly, already I can see that it is not going to work. I am on day two of the new year, and my resolution has been stained with selfish actions, thoughts and dreams. I would have been better off committing to running a 10K faster than I did in 2010. I know I could have accomplished that since 2010 was the slowest year—ever. But now I am stuck trying to be kind. And with the prospect of failing. Imagine looking at myself in the mirror in June and realizing that that I am as mean as ever.
So I am wondering if I should just give up all together. If I am not a kind person yet, then what are the chances of me ever turning into one? Slim.
I could give up. Nobody knows about my resolution (except, now you do). Most people are used to me and probably don’t think of me as incredibly unkind. So, if I pretended like I never had a new-year resolution it would not be so bad.
Another option is to admit to myself, and to God, that I have issues, and that it is hard for me to get over them. Would He please help me. After that, I can do the thing I do whenever I have to clean up big messes or pack up a whole house (which I have had to do a few times). I call it the Bird-by-bird-method. This method I learned by Anne Lamott who wrote a book about novel-writing called Bird by Bird. I love that book. And, while it gave lots of advice on writing, the thing I remember the most was her advice on how not to get overwhelmed by a humongous task: Take a small chunk at the time. Finish that chunk, and then move on to another. Finish one bird (or drawer, closet or mountain top) at the time. Don’t think about all the other birds (or drawers, closets or mountain tops) that you have to finish, focus on the one that is in front of you only.
So, instead of trying to be kinder everywhere, all the time, to all people, all over the world by tomorrow morning, I will try to do one kind thing to one person now and then. Perhaps I can try to be kind where I in 2010 cussed, and to smile where I in 2010 frowned. I can give a little more and hoard a little less. Bird by bird. Bird by bird. I have no ambitions of becoming Mother Teresa or Strawberry Shortcake. My only ambition is to do a few more kind things to others than I did in 2010. Shouldn’t be too hard, should it?