I am not a resolutions kind of girl.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the promise of a fresh start with the turn of a page on the calendar. In fact, every December, without fail, I imagine some magical chasm will appear in the days between Christmas and New Year’s that will literally slow down time so that we can truly stop to appreciate the end of one year and adjust ourselves appropriately for the next.
Even though that leisurely gap never happens, it is not the cause of my avoidance of resolutions. I guess it seems that most resolutions seem a kind of punishment. First acknowledge where you really screwed up — your rampant snacking, your couch surfing, your inability to read anything more intellectual than People magazine. Then vow to change your dreadful ways…in a very public proclamation. Finally, manage to retain your sense of pride when you inevitably bore of this resolution sometime before Ground Hog’s Day … And duly recognize you need to sign up to atone for this failing again in 11 months.
But, this year is different. This year I am interested in a little personal challenge, not a resolution. As we embark on 2014, I am challenging myself to loosen up, to take more chances, to peek around the corners of my well established comfort zone parameters. This year, I want to remove the middle ground– or the gray area– from my options in life. I am going to try to live without evoking the option of “maybe.” Further, if I need to make a decision and it’s not a clear, unequivocal “no”, then I am challenging my self to err on the side of “yes.”
I took this concept for a test drive on Christmas Eve. My very social, very generous neighbors who have as hard a time saying no as I have in saying yes, invited a large contingent of people over for dinner. Theres’ is the type of company everyone loves…and therefore people linger on for hours after dinner is over. But this year, they had a brilliant crowd-clearing idea: after dinner, everyone was encouraged to join in for a “polar plunge”– a jump into the unheated pool in their backyard. This would normally be a no-brainier for me: thank them for the novel idea, say my goodbyes and scram before the first bare feet made for the backyard. Instead I gamely arrived with suit and towel to dinner…and a bemused husband and kids who never imagined even a pinky toe of mine would connect with the 48 degree water that night. If the unseasonably cold California weather wasn’t enough, surely the idea of baring my winter white, dry-skinned middle aged limbs in public should have done the trick. But I was resolved to stick to my ill-conceived “no maybe” plan. I did it! And even though I needed to be fished out of the pool in my pink Spanx suit when the shocking cold slowed my reflexes, I was thrilled to have done it!
A week later, I’ve been mountain biking twice, rode a 26 mile loop on an unknown trail and even managed not to jump out of a stalled car in the city today when my husband felt that gunning the gas pedal into oncoming traffic would be the best way to unclog the engine…
And I am okay. Maybe even better.