Every time a new year rolls around, I sit down and write down all these resolutions. And for the most part, they are similar each year: eat healthier, become more fit, work on being more organized and travel somewhere. I mean, there’s a reason why every store/company markets these same things in January. But this year, I thought, “Why am I constantly making the same resolutions?” Why am I not healthier, fit, organized and diverse in my travels? And it occurred to me that each year, I stretch myself too thin. I try to tackle too much. I want to excel at everything I try–and everything that I shouldn’t be trying because it’s not something I love or have the strengths to do. I have this inability to say, “No!” to people when they ask for help. And at the end of the day after I’ve taken on too much and helped so many people…well…guess who doesn’t have time for anything else? Yup. Me.
And tackling so many things and jumping from helpful task to another helpful task is exhausting. Mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting. So why do I (and probably so many of you!) continue this path annually? Because I think somehow, someway, I feel the need to be superwoman. To strive to be that all-encompassing mother, wife, daughter, school room-helper, friend, blogger, etc. And yet by trying to do and be so much, I fail. Of course I fail. Because in the end, one cannot truly be happy if we don’t allow time for ourselves. To have time to mentally unwind at the end of a long day. To have time for those things that we love that’s just ours.
We live in a society that breeds fierce competitiveness. “No one remembers the second place winners.” No, we may not always. But I tell you what, I do remember the people that gave all their heart at something. Those emotional stories you read about people not giving up. And I think the reason they excelled is because they followed the love of their hearts. It wasn’t about awards or medals or the glory of first place. It was about finishing and doing. I didn’t even come close to getting a medal during my first 5K but I bet I felt just as much satisfaction as the first place winner because I finished something I wanted to do for myself.
I wish that instead of focusing on being as good as everyone else or doing as much as they do that we just focused on using our strengths we are given to make us the best people possible. And instead of competing, we help others make the most of who they can be. I’ve always loved a quote by Jon Acuff of, “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” I can still remember when we bought our first house and I wanted it to be decorated just like the house of one of my much older friends. And she said to me, “It’s taken me time to make it like this. Take it slow. Buy only things that mean something to you–that will bring you happiness.” Yes, indeed. Take life a little slower. Enjoy the things that you love. And don’t let everything else bog you down.
And I think by focusing on happiness, on things that we love and have meaning, all those other things come into place. We love ourselves more and want to be healthy and make time for fitness. And we become more organized because we only have things in our homes that have meaning. And we find that the need to travel may dissipate because we realize that our best adventures can be found here at home with our families. (Though a rare trip to Italy would not be out of question!) Instead of focusing on how far behind I may feel compared to others, I’ll be happy to be blessed with how far I’ve already come. And instead of doing far too much, spreading myself thin among many, I’ll find the strength to say, “No” and give more of myself to those that need it the most, which includes myself!
So this year, I have no resolutions. I have a motto. “Be Serene in 2013.” For serene means calm, peaceful, untroubled and tranquil. And with that, it’s all about being happy. About helping others but still helping ourselves. About quality not quantity. And about accepting imperfections as blessings for they make us who we are. And I look forward to saying farewell to “super-woman complex” and saying Hello to super-happy self!
Here’s hoping this year that you are serene as well. May you truly focus on those things that make you happy.
Happy New Year to you all and may you “Be Serene in 2013!”