I'm not about to make any silly resolutions. Weight loss. Eating habits. Exercise commitments. Why set myself up for failure? Seriously. New Year's Resolutions remind me of political promises. We make them because they sound so good to us. And in some cases we genuinely intend to keep them. However, as mama use to say, "circumstances alters cases". Often we encounter situations that dramatically change the course of our best intentions.
For instance, in November I promised one of my granddaughters I would take her to see the movie adaptation of a book she had read in school. It wasn't playing in Lawton when she visited so I couldn't take her. Then it came here, and I'd planned to take her last week. But she didn't get to come for our usual Christmas celebration, so now it isn't playing in Lawton for me to take her this week. If I want to follow through on my promise, I have to drive to Oklahoma City. Therefore, I've decided I'm not going to carelessly make promises like that anymore. I hate to disappoint folks, (especially my grandchildren). In a sense, that is a resolution, isn't it? Resolving to be more careful when making promises? My daughter has the five-minute rule: "Don't tell the kids we're going to do anything until five minutes before it happens". That's not a bad idea, is it? The only thing wrong with that rule is, it leaves out the joy of expectation. The fun of hoping, getting excited about the future. Hope can be a risk. Risk breeds success as well as disappointment. I've had successes, but I understand that disappointment. I've had several in my lifetime. I'm sure you have, too.
Life is like that. It tends to discourage us at times. Just when you think everything is going along in a positive direction, "wham, bam", circumstances alters cases. We get blindsided by rejection, financial crisis, illnesses, deaths, or broken relationships. Somehow all the resolutions and "rules", five-minute or otherwise, must be revamped, reworked, and negotiated. Compromises must be made. Often when our commitments are not met, we feel like the failure. No matter what the world does to destroy our dreams, hopes and goals, we take it personally. We view the "pink slip" as our inadequacy. We see the illness as deserved, or the broken relationship as our fault. To be honest, sometimes it is our own fault. But not always.
I'm stepping back and looking at last year and thinking through some of the things that didn't turn out quite the way I had planned. I'm not going to beat myself up over mistakes or poor choices. Instead, I am going to use them to make plans and goals for today. And possibly tomorrow. The past is the past after all; carrying it forward robs me of today. What I can do to correct some mistakes, I must do. What I can reconcile, I must reconcile. Situational paralysis will destroy me if I let it. I tend to agree with something I read this week: I'd rather live life with more "oh, wells" than "what ifs".
Yes, life has a way of changing plans and intentions. But isn't it better to live with hope than to live without it? Don't you think it's better to strive for that which is best, and settle for that which is better than to live with regrets of accepting the status quo. I think so. I can think of several things that need changing in our country, our community, and my life as the new year approaches. But that's a column for another day. HAPPY NEW YEAR! Celebrate safely!