It is almost 2016. Each year almost comes as a surprise to us, doesn’t it? Especially as we get older. My reaction is the same every December 31: “I can’t believe it is <insert year> already!” I don’t remember saying that as a kid, and honestly, I miss not noticing the passing of time.
Time just went, and I lived.
I know many of you do New Year’s resolutions. I don’t do them. I never really stuck to them when I was younger.
One reason I stopped doing New Year’s resolutions is because now I reflect about my life and make some sort of resolution almost every day. There are always important decisions to be made.
Another reason is because of my need to let go of ‘control’. In my life, I’ve valued having control over some things — it gives me a sense of security — but I also want to teach myself that it is OK not to have control and to allow things to just be. If my goals get done, great. If they don’t, I am fine with that too.
When I think of resolutions, I think of ‘bucket lists,’ and I don’t do those either. There is something about them that remind me of having an expiration date and that I’d better hurry. I also don’t want to create a situation where I have regrets if some things don’t get done.
I went to Catholic school in the Dominican Republic as a child, and one thing that always bothered me was the way we were taught about discipline. Those nuns were mean. I really didn’t have a choice but to listen and do. Or else. There was always a timeframe.
In first grade each one of us created a paper butterfly made out of posterboard, which was used as a symbol of our accomplishments. The butterflies represented us. These butterflies were taped on the wall of our classroom. Depending on how well we did, our butterflies would be flying high — at the top of the wall — or flying low, down by the floor. This was supposed to ‘encourage’ us to learn quickly, to compete, to set goals and get them done — except not everyone had the same capacity to do that. And no, my butterfly was not one of those that flew low, but I wasn’t at the top either. This created a lot of pressure for all of us kids. And I was only 4 years old (I skipped pre-school).
Creating resolutions makes me feel like I am still in Catholic school. I don’t want to create a situation where I disappoint myself for not accomplishing something. Doesn’t mean I am a person with no goals and wishes. I have them like anyone else. I want to trust that my goals will be accomplished, in time, when my desire is there. I also find myself getting more things done when there’s spontaneity.
Everyone has a way to accomplish things in life. I understand that sometimes people need special motivation. I can see how starting a New Year can be a good reason to reflect and want to start over. I want to take each day as an opportunity to grow. I don’t want to feel pressured though.
I am OK with those things I didn’t accomplish this past year. I am also very proud of those things I was able to accomplish, like my blog, for example. There were other things I wanted to do, but circumstances didn’t allow me to and that’s OK, too. I have no regrets. Self forgiveness has been another big accomplishment of mine — to be kind to myself.
Wishing everyone a healthy and joyful 2016. And while I don’t do resolutions, I have a goal: to allow myself to appreciate and accept all the complexities of being a human being. And most importantly, to let go of ‘control.’ After all, I never really had it to begin with.
And by the way…if I had a classroom with all of you in it, all of your butterflies will always fly up high on my wall. Because we all do our best. Every day.