A New Year, A New Outlook

 Photo by Renee Henson

Photo by Renee Henson

 

It’s January, and here I am with a blank page of a year all spread out before me. The past few weeks I’ve been drunk on new year’s resolutions and goals. There’s so much I want to accomplish. I’ve worked myself up mapping out all my plans and dreams. I’ve been sure to flesh out my goals so that they’re actionable points I can accomplish.

But here I sit, exhausted and paralyzed with the weight of my own expectations. I’ll admit that there are many things I need to do better in my home and work. As we rang in a new year, I didn’t get a new me.

I am the same thirty something mother of little people who rarely looks in the mirror, puts away the laundry, or calls her siblings. I’m the same crazy lady whose clothes don’t fit quite right, or match in the way that put together people match.

I’m still the woman who has become skeptical of most things religious but whom Jesus manages to hold onto. The one who has managed to reach middle age without outward signs of success or achievement, save for the dear faces of husband and children.

I’m still a woman all bound up in fear. I’m afraid of all the things I can’t see, control, or understand. The anxiety that bears down on me has snuffed out so much of my everyday enjoyment of life. It feels like I’ve been striving to live up to an idealized version of myself and my life: instead of enjoying our imperfect life as it is.

 So I think in this new year I want to stop living out of fear and a sense of obligation. I’m not going to trash all my goals and stop doing the everyday tasks that keep us going. But I want to learn to love the things I have to do and when I have a choice, choose the things that bring me joy.

 The other night my husband told me to get serious about happiness. When he said it the word happiness sounded selfish to me. If I dared to cultivate my own happiness, I thought I might find myself laying around all day neglecting my responsibilities. But laying around doesn’t make me happy, I only lay around when I’m overwhelmed and depressed.

I feel happy when I do meaningful work, and when I’m able to make things beautiful. When I look around my home and into the eyes of my little ones I can’t help but think that I really have been given much meaningful work and a pleasant place to make beautiful. I don't want to waste another day in blindness. My life is a gift, and I can choose to delight in today.

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” – Mother Theresa