Friday, December 30, 2011
A counselor once told me that I have "an overdeveloped sense of responsibility". In short, he was suggesting that I worry too much. Me? Really? Nah! Well, there are, of course, those nights when I wake up and fail at falling back to sleep because I'm considering what I need to do during the coming day. And there are those moments when I'm not paying 100% attention to a conversation partner because I'm stewing over some trifling error I made earlier in the day. But (for those readers who'd remember Alfred E Newman), "What, ME worry?"
The counselor was right, of course. And he was also right in suggesting that there are some up-sides to the "problem" (for example, I pay attention to details). On the other hand, such an attitude can lead to a very bleak outlook on life, a habit of living out of scarcity (i.e., "I've never done enough!"). Or, as a friend put it, "Perfection is the enemy of the good" (alluding, to a sentiment attributed to Voltaire).
We're at that time of year when we are bombarded with lists of the "fill-in-the-blank" stories/photos/movies/shows of the year past. In all of those lists I've seen, I've never seen the "Ten Most Empowering Stories of 2011", or the "Ten Most Inspiring Stories" or so on. (And if YOU have, please send them to me!) Even the lists of the "bests" often have to put in a little negative bit: "This movie was SO great, but it would have been better if actor so-an-so was less smarmy."
We're also at the time of year when many folks make New Year's Resolutions -- usually along the lines of making up for some deficiency or error in their days past. "I'm going to study more diligently" (implication: "I was lazy last year"). "I'm going to lose weight" (implication, "I overate last year"). "I'm going to drive more carefully" (implication: "Five speeding tickets last year was too many!"). And so on. My "overdeveloped sense of responsibility" points me straight towards those kinds of resolutions!
So when my cousin Patty posted the photo/poster above to her Facebook page earlier this week, I had to comment that "This is fabulous!" What a paradigm shift! It is along the lines of listing all those things for which I'm grateful -- a very helpful practice for anyone, any time. Hmmm. What WERE the strong, fabulous, enriching things in my life from 2011? How can I take them to the next level in 2012? Or, of course, in a more minor way, when I next wake up in the middle of the night, what WERE the great things about the day that was past?
A different kind of resolution.
Happy New Year!