For some, the New Year is all about resolutions. I've quietly set a few for myself in the past, and usually, they have just as quietly slipped away. No big fanfare to them, nothing too crazy that I was looking to do for (or to) myself. I'm sure the ones I've thought of in the past were of the typical style - lose weight, eat better, swear less. This year, I decided that instead of setting resolutions for myself (which were bound for failure anyway), I would give myself permission to do (or not do) some things. Of course, since it is now halfway through March, I am going to start off by giving myself permission to miss deadlines - whether they are arbitrarily set by me or by society. (I can't miss filing deadlines, my clients and the courts would not be happy.) But elsewhere, we'll see what happens.
In that vein, here are a few more.
In 2017, I give myself permission to...
Ignore the mess in the girls' rooms. I've tried everything. I've yelled, I've begged, I've cajoled. Nothing seems to crack the shell of their indifference to (or ignorance of) the mess that is their bedrooms. It does not matter how I ask or bribe, they cannot seem to keep their rooms clean. I have even helped clean things up once or twice (or twenty times), but inevitably, those piles creep back onto the floor and in a day or two, we are back to tripping over things. Not this year. I have decided that life is short and before I know it, they will be packing boxes and moving away to college. So the time I have with them before that is too precious to spend worrying about what is on the floor of their bedrooms. The rooms have doors, so I will shut them if it gets too bad. And I won't think about what happens when they want to have friends stay over. (But maybe, in the meantime, if you could just pick up that...)
Do less. Over the years, I have set impossible standards for myself. I am the mom that volunteered for Parent Council at the Preschool and PTA at the elementary school, I was room parent and baked cookies, I took pictures and made scrapbooks, all while working full time. This year, I'm doing less. Perhaps not less with the girls, but less. I'm slowly realizing that my expectations for myself are way more than what anyone else expects from me. And while it is nice to hear the praise and the "I don't know how you get it done" comments, it is also nice to spend an evening just sitting on the couch reading, as opposed to frosting cookies or cutting photos to fit pages. I doubt I will completely step away from volunteering (says the room parent of both girls' classes who is gearing up for Book Fair in a few months), but in the back of my head, I'm working on my ability to just say no.
To accept. Compared to the order of my world, my older daughter's space is a mess. Her back-pack full of crumpled papers makes me cringe, and when she talks about being able to find something in her desk, I want to cry. (Right after I dump it out and reorganize it, of course.) In my own world, my Type A personality is often at war with my creative side (which makes for interesting organizing), but I generally prefer organization. In her world, chaos reigns supreme and her creative and active mind is often ten or fifteen steps ahead of where her feet are taking her. When she does register the minutiae of everyday stuff around her, she often gets distracted before things get put away. So this year, I'm giving myself permission to accept her as she is and to try to accept her disorganization. I know that she is not (and never will be) exactly like me and while the need to organize may come to her later in life, she doesn't have it now. So I will wait. And gently remind her from time to time that things could be neater, and try to accept when they are not.
To fail miserably at something. I must admit, I'm intensely competitive. I don't like trying things that I know I do not do well. I tried tennis once or twice and was not very good at it. So I don't like to play it now. I have a violin sitting in a case in my guest room. It belonged to my grandfather and I had it restored a few years ago, with the idea that I would learn to play it. But I have put off taking lessons, possibly because I worry subconsciously that I will not be able to do it and do it well. So this year, I'm going to take the plunge and do something, knowing I might fail.
To succeed. Just as I don't take things on if I know I might be bad at it, I tend to also stay in the mediocre range for other things. Maybe it is because I don't know how to handle the praise and compliments, or maybe it is because I feel like I already have enough, but I sometimes catch myself pulling a Dash Paar (from the Incredibles), easing back just enough to come in 2nd and make it interesting. This year, success is mine. At what, I'm not sure yet. I'll keep you posted.
To write. I have so many plot lines jotted down in notebooks, character outlines, scene set ups, but no book. I have a series of children's books partially written, but no publishing deal. I struggle to allow myself time to sit down and write. (Seriously, it is March and I'm finally sitting down to finish this blog that is essentially about New Year's resolutions.) I'm pretty sure this one is because some twisted part of my mind is stuck on the "you chose to be an attorney, so that is what you have to be. For the rest of your life" thought and the idea that I can only have 1 career or 1 dream. I've decided that I don't like that idea and it is o.k. to have more than 1 dream. So I choose to write, as well as be an attorney. We'll see how that goes.
To let things (and people) go. This last election cycle took a lot out of me. I have struggled to reconcile the people that I thought I knew with the people I was seeing on social media. I have struggled to imagine how things will look moving forward and have decided that my sphere of influence has to be smaller. I'm letting go of the bigger things that I have no hope of changing (like people's minds) and focusing on the smaller things that I can control. I'm also letting people go. They might be classmates from grad school that I thought were friends, or even people from my hometown that were friends in high school or siblings of friends. I probably became friends with them on social media out of some sense of duty, or a belief that I "had" to be friends with them. For college and grad school classmates, we probably suffered through things that made us believe we had a closeness. Unfortunately, the current political climate has shown me that I never really knew some of these people and we have absolutely nothing in common. Even their ability to debate current issues (which I like to do) is so lacking in common courtesy and social graces that I can't handle it. Consider them, gone.
Finally, I give myself permission to be late. I started this blog in that vein, admitting to finishing this January-intended message in March. But I also tend to be early for things and plan ahead to avoid traffic and will oftentimes end up sitting in my car. Not that I mind the extra time to read, but in doing so, I sometimes push the girls out the door too fast, or miss what is going on at home. So where I can, I'm going to relax a bit and let things wait. If the girls want an extra story, or a few more hugs and kisses before I go, and it makes me 10 minutes late, so be it. If I'm a few minutes late for a party or dinner because the girls had a dance they wanted to show me, great. I'm choosing to focus more on the moments that mean more, and less on the other stuff. (With the legal disclaimer, of course, that court mandated filing and response deadlines must be met.)
Now I must go decide whether or not to read more of the book I'm engrossed in, or try my hand at writing a few chapters. Decisions, decisions.