I really do want to start the new year off right, however I think it would be silly to create a list of resolutions when I really haven’t scratched everything off last year’s. Actually, I’m not even sure I made a list last year. The beginning of 2012 was quite busy as I was starting my second to last semester at UCF, which was my resolution after finishing high school - get a bachelor’s degree. But, I stopped working on that one twenty years ago. Clearly I like the no pressure approach to my resolutions.
Having three kids, a husband in law school and going to school full time myself last year left no room for any other tasks to check off on a list anyway. I have, however, received my degree now, so a new resolution may be in order. I’ve been reading other people’s lists to see if I might want to adopt a few, but they’re really everyday things I strive to do anyway. Be a better person. Try to lose a few pounds. Be more organized. Be more patient with things I cannot control. Shower daily - okay, I added this one, but amazingly enough this is a challenge sometimes with three kids, therefore list worthy.
Perhaps the only thing I should really be resolved to do this year is continue to not plan anything and just go with the flow. My life not going according to my mapped-out design is the one thing that has led to resentment, which is just bad - for anyone. Naturally, a more relaxed approach to life seems like a good resolution for 2013. I found this quote a while back by writer Joseph Campbell where he sums it up rather nicely:
We must be willing to get rid of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
It's a work in progress applying that little nugget of advice whether its for my kids, my marriage or just little ol’ me. I’m not referring to little things like planning a kid’s birthday party, but I guess even then it still may apply. For example, let's say you bought a piñata and painstakingly filled with sugary treats, but it won’t break despite the repeated beatings from impatient children. What's a mom to do? Well, she resorts to using her son’s baseball bat, cursing under her breath and finally ripping it apart with her bare hands. Purely hypothetical of course, and probably not what Campbell meant, but you get my drift.
So, maybe it is the little things we plan as it’s all about adaptability, right? According to Merriam-Webster, adaptation is a modification that makes one more fit for existence under the conditions of their environment. If there’s anything I have become, it’s adaptable. I adapted to marriage. I adapted to each of my three children. I adapted to five different cities. I even adapted to a family franchise business with my in-laws (don’t try to wrap your head around that one). I think my biggest personal adaptation is generating enough courage to go back to college and sit amongst students who I could have easily given birth to. In-laws don’t sound so bad compared to that, I assure you.
And, to finish Campbell’s thought, there is one other thing I can do this year, follow my bliss. A bit odd
sounding, I know, but since I fancy quotes, here’s another fabulous thing he wrote:
If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are—if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.
I haven’t quite picked it apart to make it apply to my life, but I’m prepared to call it a resolution. It’s not always easy to smile when things don’t go my way and I very much despise that old adage that everything happens for a reason. Ugh, it’s the absolute worst thing to say to someone who is disappointed in love, life or simply when their ice cream falls off the cone onto their lap. Oh, then there’s the other one people use when they don’t know what to say, “It wasn’t meant to be.” Really? My ice cream wasn’t meant to be eaten? Did you apply your study of Socrates’ method to figure that one out? I must know.
But, I digress. I just really want to be one of those people with a stupid grin on my face when a plan goes awry. Not because I don’t care, but because I have found a way to be content with my life no matter what's thrown at me. I want laugh when I accidently add a cup of salt instead of sugar to the cookies I'm making for my daughter's class party. Actually, I want to cry, but then I want to laugh because it's no big deal...even though it is a big deal because I used the last of the chocolate chips...but I can just go buy more, right?
Oh, I almost forgot - Ha...ha...ha.
See, I'm making progress already. How are you doing with your resolutions?
As a follow up to my previous post, it seems defriending both family and friends continues well after the election. We have the spiteful gloating on one side and the sore-losers on the other, neither seemingly equipped with the compassion that should be instilled after a hard fought race. The immaturity usually reserved for the young with an under-developed vocabulary has spread to those who have been around long enough to know better. With most of these cases, I do understand how our passions for what we feel is right get the better of us. However, this clouds your judgment when dealing with the choices of friends and family.
This isn’t everyone, of course. We do have those who have graciously conceded defeat. And, we have those who are quietly filled with satisfaction for the outcome they had hoped would come to pass. There’s no name calling on either side within this group. No disparaging remarks for the victor or for the one defeated.
I must say, I’ve had to walk away from my computer several times to avoid commenting on illogical statements about the presidential candidates. Sometimes is just isn’t worth it. Too bad there are so many who don’t feel that way.
These days it’s almost compulsory to keep your political views on the down-low at work in order to maintain harmony with co-workers. We stick to weather and requisite questions like “how’s the family?” to avoid revealing just how misinformed our co-workers may be about politics. Of course that’s thrown out the window when it comes to sharing our inner-most thoughts safely behind a social media keyboard.
I’m curious the number of Facebook friends that have become “unfriends” this political season. According to CNN’s Howard Kurtz, also a writer for The Daily Beast, a high percentage of unfriending is because of those “surprised to learn that the political leanings of others were different than they imagined.” That's putting it mildly. Personally, I only hide posts from certain individuals who take advantage of my social media page, using it as a platform for repetitive whining and outbursts, and it's not usually political.
When it comes to both my Facebook and Twitter feeds, I prefer Miriam-Webster’s definition of social - a pleasant companionship with friends or associates. I know my friends come from both sides of the political aisle and I respect their opinions without prejudice, mostly. It’s when they don’t respect other’s that bothers me, especially if children are repeating the same hostilities.
My son came home last week saying, “Obama is an idiot,” which shocked me because we’ve never referred to the President that way, at home or otherwise. In our house, we have respect for the office that the President holds and try to teach our children to do the same. A few days later, my son’s friend asked me who I was voting for - right before saying “I hope it’s not Romney, he’s an idiot.”
Hmmmm....really? Do explain your position, strictly as a Jr. High student, of course.
When it comes to government, we want to ensure our kids understand what’s at stake with each candidate. I think it’s essential to keep an even keel when discussing politics with kids overall, mostly because an opinion about how asinine the concept may be doesn’t help with a child’s clarity. And let’s face it, sometimes you need to be a political scientist to understand the intricacies of politics anyway. I chose an English major…
This past weekend saw our first presidential rally and it was for Mitt Romney, who was accompanied by Florida Senator Marco Rubio. My kids were fascinated with the bombardment of vendors offering Romney/Ryan buttons, t-shirts, and posters, not to mention hearing the shouts by his supporters. Their excitement immediately died when they realized they had to stand because the seats were all taken. Oh well, we tried.
And to be fair, I got tickets for today's rally at UCF for President Obama, who was accompanied by Former President Bill Clinton. The only drawback was the rally website only allowed me to obtain one ticket, but the kids had school anyway. As it turns out his visit was rumored to be cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. I ended up not going thinking it was a wash, not realizing Clinton still planned on speaking. Again, I tried.
All this to say, for a child to make such claims that either candidate is an idiot probably isn’t because they truly believe it. It’s most likely that they are repeating what they’ve heard an adult say. Which I have to say, is a shame. How does this help future generations of voters make a rational decision on their country’s leaders? Well, it doesn’t really.
All great change begins at the dinner table. - Ronald Reagan
My photo adventures in Florida