Thursday, January 1, 2009
Half Full, Silver-Lined, Rose Colored Glasses
January first is one of my favorite days of the year. A universal tabula rasa, it gives every person on the planet a fresh start, an opportunity to begin anew. Being an overly optimistic person, to the point that some of my more reality-based friends and family find utterly annoying, this day brings an ultimate high: it's like a holiday designed for me.
I don't really do resolutions, because I'm terrible at following through on personal goals. Rather than focus on specifics--get fit, sell 10 essays, organize my house--I prefer to go for the amorphous goal of being a better person. Don't gossip. Be kind. Help without being asked. Return shopping carts to the store. Talk less. Listen more. These are like mini-projects, opportunities that will present themselves to me on any given day that can be tackled easily and quickly, without a nagging conscience or monthly dues. The way I see it, if it makes a positive difference in the lives of others, it's not a resolution cop-out.
The perk of it is that when my children see me doing these things, they learn that treating others well and doing good deeds is the way to live your life. Let's face it: when the novelty of new parenthood wears off and the role takes on the drudgery of cubicle-job routine, it's hard to remember to do it with passion. I've uttered the words "because I said so" more than I care to admit this past year, and while it may get the task done, it's not really a valid reason all the time. I'd much prefer to get my kids to do as I do, not just as I say.
So here we are in 2009. The economy is in the toilet. My friends are divorcing, unemployed and depressed. Our country has more problems than it has had in decades. There is bitterness, skepticism, resentment and despair everywhere. I lost four beautiful people from my life in 2008. From where I sit, there's no room for anything but optimism at this point: the world needs it in spades.
The best part about today is that anything is possible. We have a new administration coming into office. We have more global awareness than ever before. And I have children. The future is in my hands, and I have the power to make it better than the past. We all do.
Maybe I'll organize my closets, and maybe I'll start exercising this year. If I do, those will be personal perks. But my hope is that my real efforts will help improve the lives of others, making them want to do the same. Just imagine the difference we could make if such an idea caught on.
Happy New Year all.
Posted by Christine Adler