If I were to choose an animal which best personifies my character, I fear the sloth would be the most honest choice. Looking out at the world wide web these past couple of days, I find many of you already gearing up to make this coming year a year of great change, brought to fruition through staunch determination and good old fashioned grit. It’s admirable. Like strong, efficient panthers or energetic Jack Russell terriers, you all seem ready to take on the world. Admirable, indeed.
Me? Well, I’m just beginning to recover from the hectic activity of Christmas. The past few days have been focused on simply breathing. I find myself just now reflecting on the past year, my successes and failures, and contemplating what it all means. My mind moves slowly, sifting memories, each thought carefully examined and categorized before being filed away in the corridors of my mind palace. (It’s really less a palace and more dilapidated hoarder’s den, but my home is my castle, yes?) Musing, for me, is not a speedy process.
My friend from North Carolina calls it ‘thinking Southern’, and I like the imagery those words evoke. I envision myself, sitting on the porch of my mind palace, rocking slowly in a comfy, creaky chair and sipping sweet tea. I converse with myself, in no real hurry to come to conclusions, just letting the internal conversation meander where it will.
Picking through the memories of the past year, I ask myself a few questions:
*Did I learn some new and interesting things?
*Did I spend more time enjoying my husband, playing with my kids, or reading good books than I did dinking around on Facebook or web surfing?
*What major spiritual revelations have I experienced?
*Am I closer to my Creator? Do I understand my place as a daughter of El Elyon, better than before? Am I experiencing it?
*Am I a better wife, mother, friend, and all-around person?
*Did I handle challenges with grace and dignity?
*Have I grown?
Most of these questions can be answered in the affirmative. For the ones that warrant a less positive response, there is no condemnation. For me, the purpose of resolutions and goal setting is less about achieving the specific, and more about being mindful of growing and changing in a positive fashion.
Living a stagnant life is unacceptable, so I will set my mind on loftier heights and mosey in that direction. Though my tendency is to get distracted by shiny and unforeseen doings, I figure if I fall short of my goals due to wringing some unexpected moments of joy out of life, well then, so be it. I’ll be enriched by the experiences and still be closer to those lofty ideals than yesterday, yes? No condemnation.
Goals and resolutions for the coming year are percolating, but aren’t fully boiled as of yet. I reckon it will take several more days for those thoughts to fully materialize. In the meanwhile, I’ll just mentally brew up another cup of tea and continue with my ponderings. Yep. Identifying with the sloth suits me just fine!
Your turn: Is your goal setting style more panther, Jack Russell, sloth, or roadkill? Do you approach the New Year with dread and condemnation, or with eager anticipation of setting off in a positive direction and the shiny things you may find along the way? Grab a cup of sweet tea and tell me about it!