Thanks to the Amy Reinvention and Reconstruction Project of 2012, I have accomplished quite a few of the objectives most people typically include on a New Year’s resolution list. I didn’t make a list at the beginning of the year, however.
I decided to adopt these sweeping life changes in July, the month I turned 40. Call it a mid-life crisis, an attack of vanity, whatever. All I know for certain is I set some goals, and I have actively followed through on accomplishing them. (And in typical Amy list-making fashion, I only wrote them down so I could check them off.)
I started with a biggie -- I quit smoking (going on six months now). I also got off my keister and started exercising on the regular. I’ve managed to consistently maintain a healthy weight since the summer. Yep, I am eating well and generally taking care of this ol’ aging body better than ever.
On the spiritual and emotional side, I am surrounding myself only with friends and family who are good for me (and good to me), while avoiding or removing toxic people from my life. I’m also working toward my bliss in terms of my freelance writing and media consulting career. My goal is to be my own boss (and financially solvent) long before next Jan. 1. So far, so good. And most importantly, I am actively working to deepen my connection to the God of my understanding. If you had told me just a few years ago that faith would become such a fundamental part of my being, I would have snort-laughed in your general direction.
Anyhoo, I am pretty damn proud of myself for the progress I’ve made in the past six months. I truly want to be a better person and pay forward a little bit of the grace that has come into my life in recent years. I’ve got some positive momentum on my side, and it feels incredible.
Since it’s the time of year when most people make their “I wanna be better” lists, I thought I would revisit my own inventory and see what I can add to it. As I sat down to compile my list of resolutions for 2013, I realized I’ve already got a check mark next to all my superficial goals. I decided I gotta go deep this time around.
I’m big on quotes, so I started to reflect on some of the inspirational words that others shared with me during some of my darkest hours. It’s ultra cheesy, I know, but a lot of those words came in the form of Facebook e-cards and photo posts. I guess you could call that brand of motivation “Philosophy Lite,” but whatever form it came in, it gave me what I needed at the time. I think, to some extent, I still need it. So, a reminder under the guise of a New Year’s resolution list seemed apropos.
Forgive me if this comes off as a little bit Stuart Smalley-esque, but my 2013 list has turned into a compilation of (mostly) unattributed quotes I’ve collected over the past year, with a bit of my own commentary thrown in for good measure. (This is what came to me, so I went with it.)
• “If you don’t like the road you’re walking on, start paving another one.” I resolve to take the steps to build the life I want, rather than longing for someone or something to do it for me.
• “Don’t be too hard on yourself. There are plenty of people willing to do that for you. Love yourself and be proud of everything that you do. Even mistakes mean you’re trying.” I resolve to give myself permission to screw up (and not beat myself up for it).
• “If you allow people to make more withdrawals than deposits in your life, you will be out of balance and in the negative. Know when to close the account.” I resolve to close all the accounts in my life that have put me in the red.
• “You either like me or you don’t. It took me 20-something years to learn to love myself. I don’t have that kind of time to convince somebody else.” I resolve to not take rejection personally. It’s your problem if you don’t like me, want to do business with me, etc. I will respect your choice without judging you, or myself.
• Attributed to Will Smith: “Don’t chase people. Be yourself, do your own thing and work hard. The right people – the ones who really belong in your life – will come to you. And stay.” I resolve to do my best, keep my side of the street clean and wait for the right people to come into my life. I also resolve to stop running after the wrong ones.
• “Learn a lesson from your dog. Take whatever life brings you, kick some grass over that shit and move on.” I resolve to let go of the hurts of the past without forgetting that they shaped who I am today.
• From ”Auntie Mame,” one of my favorite classic movies, and one I always revisit at this time of year: “Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!” I resolve to get out into the world this year, stop isolating, be more social and enjoy the gift of life.
• “Sometimes you have to stop worrying, wondering and doubting. Have faith that things will work out, maybe not as you planned, but just as they are meant to be.” I resolve to have faith in God’s plan for me. I already know from experience that my Higher Power’s design for my life is better than anything I can imagine.
• My final resolution comes from a Native American fable I've seen in various iterations:
An old Cherokee told his grandson, “There is a battle between two wolves inside us all.
One is evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies and anger.
The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy and truth.”
The boy thought about that and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”
His grandfather replied quietly, “The one you feed.”
I resolve, for 2013 and beyond, to actively feed only the good wolf that lives inside me.
Come to think of it, maybe that’s really the only resolution I need to make. Happy New Year!
About Amy Higgs
A former newspaper columnist, Amy takes her random, slice-of-life stories to the web. After 10 years, she's still just saying.