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  Texas : Features : Columns : "The Girl Detective's Theory of Everything"

2007

by Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
Happy New Year! I hope that this year is longer than the last one, because 2006 just zoomed by for me! If we were going by my internal calender it would only be about mid-April right now. And I would still be on vacation. Sigh.

But it is not April. It is January and it is a new year. It is time to figure out the various ways that we will make things better for ourselves. I do this every year and it gives me such a sense of hope and optimism! And I have become more creative. In the old days I would set impossible goals for myself. I would sit down at the table on the last day of December and write down a list of goals which were ridiculously grandiose. Things like "will be nice to everybody, always," "will eat more vegetables," "will work out every single da Ė week," "will keep my checkbook balanced at all times." Then, when I inevitably failed at these unattainable goals, usually by about Jan. 7, I would sink into a gloomy bout of self-loathing.

Not anymore. Now I know better. I refuse to set myself up for failure. Instead of writing "will do my part in achieving world peace," I might instead write, "will wear clean socks every single day, even if I have to borrow a pair of Mikeís." Instead of vowing that I "will lose 20 lbs. by June," I promise to "never wear anything without an elastic waistband." I do not promise to "volunteer for some community service 20 hours a month without fail." Instead I might promise "never to litter. In public." I will not set myself up for a fall by writing, "I will keep my house clean enough for company at all times, without fail." No. I wonít do it. I know what it feels like to wake up on some chilly Jan. 7th morning to find that there is no world peace, Mike is out of clean socks too, I have gained another three pounds (even though the holidays are officially over) and that there is a strong possibility that the foundation of our house is going to collapse under the sheer weight of all the clutter and dust and closets full of clothes with non-elastic waistbands.

If I donít care enough about myself to protect myself from this kind of agony, who does? Nobody. Nobody, thatís who, and so I have got to be willing to take the responsibility myself. I just have to understand what my limitations are and be willing to work within them. I am not saying that we should not try to better ourselves, to improve ourselves and the world around us. No. I am just saying that I, personally, am not capable of doing very much better than I have always done. This is it. This is me. It might be a new year, despite my internal calender, but I am the same old me and I just have to accept that and move on.

Here are my resolutions for the new year. I plan to give and get 150% more hugs and kisses than last year. I plan to laugh much, much more. I plan to say "I love you" every time it occurs to me. I plan to be happy inside and out. I plan to be moderate in most things Ė I will work moderately, play moderately, eat moderately, worry moderately, cry moderately. I will spend time in the sunshine not thinking about what chores I ought to be doing. I will smell flowers and listen to my family and meet new friends. And that is as good as it is going to get.

So! Happy New Year, friends! I hope that 2007 brings each of you, all of us, happiness, health, and peace. I hope that you have, that we all have, just enough cloudy days to make us appreciate the sunny ones, enough work to let us know we are contributing without wearing ourselves out, enough busy days to make the quiet days a pleasure, plenty of fun, plenty of laughter, plenty of time with our families and more time with our friends than last year. I hope that 2007 is the best year ever. In fact, I am counting on it!
© Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
"The Girl Detective's Theory of Everything" >
January 1, 2007 Column
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