i woke today around 4am when my husband's alarm went off with a full moon out my window, sunken very low in the sky. a huge, glowing ball that lit up the sky. it was incredible, it was actually almost light out. and while i was grateful not to have his job and to have to rise at that hour, a part of me still lamented that the new year was upon us, that the kids would start back to school today and life would churn on, albeit, with a lot less sugar and technology in my house (my family's two new years propositions).
i was talking to my friend yesterday about how the new year depresses me. she was shocked. for a very glass-half-full kind of gal, she couldn't believe i didn't see this day as a new beginning. i don't. i see it as a, "shit, we have to start all over again," without any of the positive carry over from the previous 365 days. it always struck me as sort of like the beginning of a new lacrosse season (i played all through my years at school). you don't get to carry your previous season's accomplishments with you into that first freezing cold day on the turf in february. no, everything starts from here. you have to rebuild everything from day 1. or do you?? huh. she got me thinking.
what if, rather than insist we always be doing things better, faster, more perfectly, how about we just focus on progress. progress (as i listened to in a podcast yesterday on the treadmill), is the development toward a more complete condition. i love that. a more complete condition. that was not my definition of success growing up. my definition of success included a learning curve with a slope of at least 45 degrees or greater. as in, you're going out for a run? did you run it faster? did you run longer than yesterday? did you do more? and did you do that more, better? i'm tired of that model. i used to see that model as my super power. that model separated me from the pack and helped me stand out, shine, it got me attention. but it doesn't work for me anymore. today, i choose happiness. i choose peace. and i can't choose those things by grinding myself to a nub every single day, in and out for 44 years. it just doesn't work (trust me, i've tried).
so while i used to see the new year as a negative, as a sort of internal challenge of "what are you going to do more of or better this year Erin?" today i am going to try and look at it through the lens of my friend Mel, who sees the day as a new beginning, a reset button. Through the lens of my kids, who got up every day of vacation and chose Barbie Dream House or Lego Police Station, who chose Fruit Loops or a piece of toast without judging themselves for it and every other decision they make every day.
today, on this the second day of the new year, i choose to be a little more gentle on myself. sure i'm going to try and pare back my technology use so i can be more present for myself, my husband and my kids. i'm going to try and take sugar and processed crap out of my diet for the foreseeable future in an attempt to feel better, sleep better and think more clearly. but for today when i slip at those attempts, when i stumble and fall short of perfection, i am going to remember that all we need to strive for is progress. for development towards a more complete model, but certainly not the complete model. because perfection is boring. and it's the path, the journey, that i want to focus on with the people who are most important to me. and if i'm trying to get it right all the time and be perfect, it's a pretty sure bet that i am expecting that of them too and i'm gonna say that's not a lot of fun to live with.
so here's to progress is 2018. here's to getting a little better. a little stronger. a little more patient and a lot more understanding and gentle with ourselves and those around us.