About a month ago, as my husband was finishing up all he needed to complete for his two Fall classes, he pulled out an assignment sheet for a 12-15 page paper. This particular class was very paper-heavy. Whenever he has to write a paper, I help by talking it through with him before he starts writing. Usually the directions are very concise and clear, not much room for error. This paper, however, had very vague instructions.
I don’t do well with vague.
“For the love of Mike,” I complained, “doesn’t he understand that you are all working adults? Many with families? Does he really think you have time to come up with ideas for a 12-15 page paper with hardly any instructions? Why can’t he just tell you want he wants???” So, like any self-respecting adult student, he ignored the impending paper assignment until the Thursday before the Saturday it was due. Uh-huh…because that’s how we roll.
The idea was to choose several current day issues or debates and to analyze them using the tools and information he’d gathered throughout the class. Ugh. Gag me with a spoon. Seriously. I was so irritated with the entire thing I could hardly bear the thought of helping him with this one. But alas…that Thursday night we hunkered down and started to brainstorm. As we talked and he went through his class materials we realized that any number of topics would work and, oddly enough, he’d learned quite a bit that would make a compelling paper. Who’d a thunk?
By Friday night he had a comprehensive analysis of many hot button issues and the paper was good. I mean really good. Last week when we received a fat envelope from his college, it was his paper graded with notes. He got an A.
In years past, I’ve come up with proclamations of things I plan to do differently, or more seriously, or better than I had the previous year. In this past year I’ve realized that while I’m eager to make a proclamation anytime I have the inspiration…they don’t necessarily do me much good. I have a tendency to come up with fabulous ideas and jumping on them immediately, proclaiming that I’d made a big decision to move in a new direction. The problem with that is, if and when the idea fizzles, I’m left feeling like a failure and I’m embarrassed because I’ve made this grand proclamation to anyone who will listen. It’s like the boy who cried wolf…only it’s the girl who cried law school or “I will write every single day” or “yoga three times per week.” Fail. Fail. And fail.
This past year I’ve learned so much about myself, my marriage, being a mom, and more. One of the most powerful things I’ve learned is how important it is to not make myself crazy. I’m laid back in many aspects of my life but not when it comes to me. When it comes to myself I am the worst version of the women in my family…I’m uptight, judgmental, cruel, unforgiving, frosty, and incredibly snooty. I took a break from a lot of things in 2013. In doing so, I’ve learned how incredibly valuable it is to feel calm.
Calm does not necessarily come naturally to me. I’m much more inclined to be excited or uptight or ready for anything or in control or in charge. Sitting back, taking it all in, and calmly determining how to react? Not really my style. But oh my gosh it feels so lovely to be calm and even…dare I say it…relaxed.
In the past couple of months, I’ve really started to make mental notes about things I’ve learned over the past year and in years prior. It’s so strange when you find yourself in a situation in which you are able to use the things you’ve learned in school or in training. Finally all of that time, energy, and effort pays off. I feel like I’m finally in a position to use all I’ve learned over the past 37 (nearly 38…gasp) years and really put it to good use. Things I’ve learned about myself, my relationships, the people I love, and the world in general. Now…to be clear…I’m not at all saying that I know everything or that the rest of my life will be a cake walk. But why keep blindly scrambling to succeed when I have a wealth of experiences and knowledge from which to pull?
2014, for me, is going to be a year of doing things wisely. With my past, my mistakes, my successes, and my 37+ years to guide me. And I’m looking forward to attacking it all with a calm and steady outlook. If any proclamation were to be made in this brand new year…I can’t help myself…it would be to move forward slowly but surely.
TODAY: What if instead of popping out a list of resolutions that would likely last a mere week or so, I instead resolve to use the knowledge and experiences I’ve garnered to live a calm, and peaceful, and ridiculously blissful life. Happy New Year!!!