Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I Hereby Resolve To...

The New Year has officially begun.  And in Pittsburgh it began with a bang.  Not only with the big First Night fireworks display, but with Old Man Winter showing up with a flourish and seeming to think that the way to make up for being so late was to hit the area with everything he has in stock and plenty of it.  The city was slammed with plummeting temperatures, winds the paper said were gusts of up to 30 MPH, (seemingly forgetting that normally the definition of "gusts" is short blasts), and driving rain that turned to driving snow, as if he wanted to make sure we all knew he still existed.  And winter has established itself now as if it means to stay, with the low tonight expected to be eight degrees.  However, the forecast for Friday is calling for sunny skies and a high of 49 (always subject to change)!  For those individuals who think we're on a short count for the end of the world, the weather seems to be playing into that theory with crazy fluctuations, as if the world is in its death throes, convulsing violently from one extreme to another as it tries to shake off the disease of mankind.

I don't know if I believe the end of the world is coming or not, but I watch out my windows as intense stormy weather descends, then makes way for calm and sun, only to have the sun chased away by another round of storms an hour later, and think that we, the tenants of this planet, have broken the terms of our lease and the world is doing its best to evict us.  And we probably deserve it.  The low hiss of a remediation device in my house as it cycles on, scrubbing my little space of radiation seeping back up from the soil, reminds me of that occasionally.  But, I'm not really banking on going poof on December 21 either.  Therefore, as I look forward to my second year here, I have to think about the things that have happened, what I should take from them and translate them into my goals and aspirations for the upcoming year.  I have to think about the things I did not like, myself included, and look to change them.  I, like millions of others, have to take stock of myself and make some resolutions.  Here's mine:

1) Reclaim the afternoon walk.  For the first several months Cheyenne and I were here we had no fence, so she was outside only at the end of the leash, and necessity dictated at least three walks a day, sometimes more.  She got used to it.  So did I.  Once the fence made that irrelevant, she still wanted the routine, so we continued on with a quick turn around the block in the morning, along with Chappy (not sure how he ever insinuated himself into the picture, but he did somehow) and a longer, slower paced ramble in the afternoons, geared more toward just getting out and stretching our legs and checking out different areas of our neighborhood.  She had the timing of it down, knowing when the shadows in the room fell just right to indicate that it was time to go, and she would get up and begin to nudge me and whine until I stopped what I was doing and paid attention to her.  At some point, work swallowed me whole, and the afternoon walks were impossible, or so I thought.  She continued to look forward to them for a long while, and it broke my heart to deny the both of us, but deadlines pressed.  Finally she gave up expecting it, occasionally still trying to coax one out of me.  I miss those walks - I had a little quest going to find the tombstone I know exists in the neighborhood cemetery of a man born in the 1700's.  I miss coming upon a group of does grazing in neighborhood yards at sunset.  I miss seeing the red and orange blaze in the sky as the sun sets behind the hills.  I miss most of all just being me, not a worker, for a few minutes out of the day.  I resolve to take that back.  Again, this is about work-life balance.  If the world does end in December, am I going to be glad I worked more or that I gazed upon the sunset on a lovely spring day?

2)  Accept who I am, but not be afraid to change what I can.  The tricky thing for any person is to find that delicate balance of accepting certain things about yourself that you simply cannot alter, but not giving up on improving oneself, learning more, becoming more compassionate, or letting go of long held fears or hatreds.  This is all harder to do than it is to say.  To look in the mirror and accept what you see is oh so hard, as I've written about before.  But, I was never a Heidi Klum lookalike, so it stands to reason that as I grow older I don't look like I could be Heidi Klum's mom either.  If I want others to accept what's inside the cover instead of shelving me for a more glamorous issue, then I have to start by accepting myself first.  I resolve to do it - how is the part I'm still working on.  On the other hand, I never want to stop improving that inner content.  There are things about my personality I don't like.  When you meet someone you don't like, you can choose to forgo that friendship, but you're stuck with yourself so you might as well strive to be a better person so that you can walk around in your own company and be satisfied with it.  That's what I resolve for myself this year.

3) Finally, I resolve to embrace the people who love me and let go of worrying over those who do not.  When I was younger I employed what unfortunately can only be called a chameleon-like personality.  I tried to emulate whatever likes and dislikes the group around me had so I'd fit in.  When I realized the folly in that, I went too far the other way and become rigid and forceful about throwing all my quirks out there, daring people almost to take me at my whole and like it.  I'd like to think I've mellowed some and come back to some middle ground:  I am who I am, but I don't have to toss that full in your face anymore.  You can like me, and I hope you do, but maybe you won't.  I resolve not to worry as much about it as I always have in the past.  If you fall into the latter category and we're stuck together through work or other situations, let's both resolve to treat each other with respect and some degree of empathy, but I don't need to be friends with the world.  I just need to love and treasure the ones I have.

Those are my New Year's Resolutions.  Let's see how I do with them.  What are yours?

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