Partly because it just turned 2009, partly because I'm about to turn another year older, but mostly because I'm trying to work out old sadness/anger/hang-ups for good, I've been doing a lot of reflecting.
And the New Year's resolution I've come up with is simple:
Be easier on myself. Find my joie de vivre.
I finished Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love over my break at the beach and really, really liked it. It's one of those where I was constantly bookmarking passages that spoke to me. I don't have the book handy with me now, but I found one that I wanted to share online:
"I keep remembering one of my Guru's teachings about happiness. She says that people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you're fortunate enough. But that's not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don't you will eat away your innate contentment. It's easy enough to pray when you're in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments."I definitely have not been striving to maintain the joy in my life; instead you can probably find me curled up in a fetal position on my couch. It seems weird to say it, because I am certainly surrounded by so many joyful blessings, but I have found how easy it is to let the things that are sad and crappy in life overwhelm me. And I know it's bad - life's too short, and there's too much out there to experience to waste time letting the low points keep you low.
"There is so much about my fate that I cannot control, but other things do fall under the jurisdiction. I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body and life and money and energy with. I can select what I can read and eat and study. I can choose how I'm going to regard unfortunate circumstances in my life-whether I will see them as curses or opportunities. I can choose my words and the tone of voice in which I speak to others. And most of all, I can choose my thoughts."I often worry, and I often dwell on negative things that are outside of my control. I've been letting those things play out in my head instead of choosing to think differently. I have been an especially bad moper lately, and the fact that my to-do list from August pretty much still has all of its items on it shows that I haven't been taking care of the things I can control.
So I'm going to focus my energies on the many blessings in life and the things I can control. I will try to stop worrying so much. I will be more selfish (hopefully in a good way), and look at what I truly want over what I think I should do. I will tell those I love how much I love them, and more often. I will seek out as many simple pleasures as I can. I will count my blessings.
Sometimes it's going to be a tall order. You must insist on happiness, no?