“The Greatest New Year’s Resolution of All: When I Grow Up, I Want to Be A Chocolate Chip Cookie”
I never wanted to be a fat psychiatrist when I was little. I wanted to be a chocolate chip cookie. It never occurred to my 3 year-old brain that some starving teenager might polish me off in one big bite. I didn’t care that it was a physical and spiritual impossibility for a human being to transmutate into baked goods. (Although some people do figure out how to become root vegetables, but they’re not in this blog).
I cared that I became what I loved.
That got me thinking about New Year’s Resolutions. New Years Resolutions are these active, goal-setting, forward-motion plans. Kind of like football games. I’m going to move down the field and beat the enemy. Pumped up and rearing to go! Starting tomorrow, I’m going to lose 50 pounds, work out every day, read 10 books a week, go to bed early, donate all my extra time and money (even if there isn’t any). Starting tomorrow, I’m going to be a better person. Like maybe Mother Theresa.
Aside from the obvious “it’s been done”, if I became a Saint, would my friends and family and coworkers even recognize me? I think they’d all be standing around watching my stomach and taking bets on when the alien pops out.
I know from the last few decades that New Year’s Resolutions never quite stick with me. The other team always wins in the end. There has to be a way to improve the odds on these resolution outcomes.
Maybe we could make resolutions for each other instead. They would probably be a lot less stringent (unless you have very rude friends). I can’t imagine my husband saying “You have to lose 50 pounds next year”. Aside from being a nice guy who would never say such a thing, he knows he would be risking his life with a bonehead observation like that. Instead, he would give me a resolution that somehow made us both happier. Like more nookie. Or sleeping in. Or cooking together.
What about my coworkers? Maybe they would nail me. “You should see 30 more patients a week and work until 11 pm every night.” Nah. They would say, you should make sure you take lunch everyday, you need the break.
Ok then, my sisters. Certainly years of sibling rivalry will takes it toll. “You should cook and clean and no glass slippers for you!” Nope, not that either. They don’t care who cooks and cleans in my house or what high-style pumps I wear. They might say “we should go for lunch” or something like that.
And forget my friends… they are totally there for me. That’s why they are my friends.
So basically, nobody out there is looking at my past 12 months of life and sneering. Nobody is saying I have failed. Nobody is telling me I am a bad person. Nobody is setting crazy perfectionist goals. Except me. I am the critic and the criticized. I am the abuser and the abused. I am my own Cinderella and my own wicked stepmother. (By the way, I am a stepmother and I don’t consider myself the least bit wicked. Ok maybe a little strict, but hey, I like things orderly). And certainly, no one else is saying that the road to self-improvement should be paved with suffering.
Quite the opposite. My family and friends would design New Year’s Resolutions for me that increase their ability to nurture and love and laugh with me. That improve the quality and the heart-centeredness of my days. They would make sure I celebrate my life and time, and I would do the same for them. Their mandate would be for me to sit back and enjoy the ride.
They would want me to return to the simple joy of being instead of the rigor of becoming. Which is a guarantee that I will move myself closer to my life’s purpose.
I think I might be able to stick to those.
So here are my New Year’s Resolutions… In 2010, I vow:
To follow my heart and do what I love
To do what honors me and brings out the best in me
To do what helps me and nurtures me
To do what makes me laugh
And by so doing, I will love and cherish and honor and help all of us together.
Happy Healthy Prosperous New Year to all of you!