Possibilites for Happiness

a17539a1dac9929cd5eb15ec3a44d17fI am one of the few people I know who honestly does not spend one minute considering what my new year’s resolutions are going to be. As I have previously shared, I am not a fan of them. Resolving on the last day of the year to do this or not do that just seems like a buzzkill. I think we all have enough to work to contend with any given day and inventing more work is just not something most of us are down with. This year we celebrated by not celebrating. We had plans to venture out into the world and be social. We did not. Instead we spent the evening at home, just the two of us, a feat that has never happened in the 14 years we have known each other. We made dinner. We did the chicken dance to Taylor Swift, well, I did. She laughed. We watched television, ran to the store for snacks. You get the idea. It was an unexpected night that reminded us of how wonderful spontaneity can be. We are optimistic about the New Year but not naïve.

The most profound lessons often come about from the most challenging times. Our goal is to roll with whatever comes and to keep moving forward with our careers, finances and personal growth. We have no idea what this will look like, although we have an idea of what we hope it will look like. Historically, most resolutions are nothing more than a list of things that we need to improve on in our lives. Or better put, a rehashing of the failings, shortcomings or lack that we were unable to overcome in the previous year.

For some, it can be a reminder of those nagging internal things that we struggle with all year long regarding how we look, feel or act and possibly the state of our finances. Some see resolutions as goals and a guide for growth. I spend the majority of my year planning, adjusting, dodging asteroids and laughing which leaves me little time for resolution success tracking. I suspect that many of us would find comfort in the fact that about 80% already know that our resolve usually wanes as time goes by. Which is ok. No really, I promise it is.

I want to clarify that I am not advocating being lazy and just running rip shod through the year. There are things that we should all consider taking on that will serve to help our fellow man or make the world a kinder and gentler place. Making simple decisions to enhance our overall health and happiness is what I am talking about. And here is the controversial part. There are some days where the last thing any of us may feel like doing is being kind or gentle or even dressed. As adults, we are long from the days of laying down on the floor and having a tantrum when things do not go our way or when circumstances get challenging, but we are not long from the days of feeling the same frustrations, sadness or anger. For whatever the reason you may feel this way, it is okay.

This past year has been interesting, hard and incredibly life changing. I am grateful for the fact that I did not have a list of resolutions staring at me all year because I am certain that I would have been resolute with zero of them. Some days my only resolve was to get up out of bed and brush my teeth and feed my children. I felt like I was a firefighter stuck in a series of avalanches. While putting out fires, an unexpected avalanche would roll down the mountain side and extinguish the fire, which was great, except this would result in being buried under ten feet of snow. Which then required great effort to dig out just in time for another fire to have broken out. Rinse, repeat.

Some of these circumstances were events or things that were outside of our control. Others had to do with the mental, spiritual and emotional things that were a by-product of those events lingering. We are human and as such we are going to have bad days. This is not a bad thing. The lesson this past year taught me was that I learned about the value of sitting in the emotion and feeling those not so great days brought. I learned and became aware that sometimes sitting in the muck for a bit is necessary to get past something. Sometimes a bad day may last a week or month or even longer. It is ok. Just make sure you surround yourself with those who will be right by the edge of the mud pit while you are flailing about. Especially those who remind you of the good and those who are not afraid to get dirty while they are reaching down to pull you up when it is time to move forward. You all know who you are and I truly thank you.

As the possibilities for the New Year cross your minds, please consider these few last thoughts. Remember that in the end, we are a product of every experience, good and bad, that we have had or will ever have. The way we react, adjust and rise above the valleys our lives have the potential to produce just as much joy as our happiest moments in life. This is our truth and our story. There is joy to be found in everything, eventually. Our experiences help shape us, but they are not us. The ability to sink in the mud, grab a shower and go out again are the things that make us spectacular, beautiful, complicated, loveable and cherished. My resolution, if I have to choose one, is to accept all of our talents and faults, our failures and successes, as well as our fears and strength in 2015.