This ran yesterday in The Cary News. I’ve had a lot of comments on it so I thought I’d display it here too! Thanks for reading:)
Thoughts for the New Year
I turned forty at the end of October, and that milestone combined with the New Year has made me engage in a bit of reflective thinking. Of course, sometimes my reflective thinking results in something profound, but more often than not it simply reveals a truism that folks have been telling me for years but that I, too, finally accept.
Below, a few truisms, at least from my perspective, for 2012:
- Sometimes good enough is good enough. This applies to dinner, getting the spots out of carpeting, helping with homework, cleaning the shower, getting dressed and any other activity that leaves you feeling you’ll never get it quite right. You won’t, so move on.
- You are sometimes going to lie to your children. Duh, right? You’d be surprised at how many people are on the bandwagon of not lying to children. Without lying, there’d be no Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy or Easter Bunny, and your kids would know what you really did as a teenager.
- If you need caulk and are out of caulk: Use Gingerbread House frosting. This, after spending the morning with a putty knife trying to break free long streaks of frosting from the kitchen floor.
- Things that are highly overrated: Gingerbread houses, the SAT, corn mazes, ironing, Black Friday and trying to lose that last ten pounds. Regarding the latter, I want to be healthy, but I want to enjoy life too. So if we go out for pizza, I’m not eating a salad.
- Two things I’m finally smart enough not to do again: Golf and fishing. I’m sorry; this hurts some people, I know. But in the past 20 years those two activities have made me cry, and I wish to high heaven someone had given me fair warning. If you find you must participate in one or both of these activities, just know it’s a whole-day affair and, oh yeah, bring sunscreen and a cooler stuffed with adult beverages. If you only have time to grab one thing, make it the cooler.
- Parenting well is hard. But not parenting well is even harder in the long run.
- Learn to say “So what?” To all those “theys” you think are judging you. We think about what people think about us a lot more than they actually do, if that makes sense. Just tell your neurotic self, “So what?” and keep on trucking. Most of us do the best we can.
- When you get stuff, you just want more stuff. And then your stuff suffocates you. We don’t need more stuff. Go for experiences.
Finally, I just want to enjoy 2012 as much as I can. It’s not a lofty resolution, but it’s a pretty tall order for a worrywart like me. I’m starting to learn I have a lot less control over most events than I initially thought. It’s a paradox that surrendering worry and control is the easiest thing in one way because you don’t have to do anything, but the hardest because you have to give something up—the illusion of being in control. I’m not there yet, but I’m working on it.
For now, I just want to enjoy the ride.