Monday, January 10, 2011

Yes, 2011

I'm going to start off by noting that there appears to be a certain cynicism with the changing of the year. 2010, like so many years before it, gets no love in the retrospective reviews. Even Jon Stewart told it not to let the door hit it in the rear.

What does it mean to look back at a year and say, hey, that wasn't so bad? Does it mean you're insensitive to the tragedies faced by others?

I wonder about the value in characterizing a year anyway. The beginning and end, after all, are arbitrary moments in time. Maybe a year is too much to average. Perhaps we should work month by month...or day by day. Was today a good day? Geez, even a day has time to start out great, go haywire somewhere in the middle, and then redeem itself. 

We have a nightly ritual at the dinner table of sharing, in turn, the best part of our day.  Often, for my husband and myself, dinner with our kids and sharing the best parts of our day is the best part of our day.  Maybe at the end of the day what matters is being able to recognize that this moment, right now, is wonderful.  Who cares what came before it. 

Determined to seize more pleasurable moments, I am going into 2011 avowing to say "yes" more often.  I had some practice in 2010, what with taking off my clothes in front of strangers, agreeing to knock on strangers' doors, and entering a contest or two.  Don't get excited; though that little list makes it sound like I'm ready to audition for Big Brother, my intent is to focus my affirmations on my friends and family. 

I want to work on my knee-jerk NOs.  Truth is, I like me some control.  (In my defense, I think I come by it honestly: I'm the eldest sibling of five; I'm a vice principal).  I'm often the mom that shakes her head no to spontaneous sleepovers (the aftermath is ugly).  I'm the mom admonishing her daughters to get down off that, to stop running around, to lower voices.  I generally say no to requests for "just one more" or "five more minutes." 

And I think sometimes I'm a little unreasonable. 

My daughter's Christmas gift to me is a reminder that times I've said yes (to coaching soccer, to chaperoning  field trips, to building fairy houses) haven't gone unnoticed. 

So I will try to say yes to more messy projects, however maddening.   I'll consider requests for one more book or clementine, even when it is almost bedtime, even when teeth are already brushed.  I'll look at what's really at stake when the girls are loud and rambunctious.  I'm going to examine more closely my motives behind "no."  Sometimes, I am convinced, it's just as easy and more enjoyable to say yes. 

I'll continue to roadblock the excesses that wear down what seems to matter most:  buying more stuff, watching more TV, treats, treats, and more treats. 

But to my husband, I say yes.  You're my model, agreeable mate. 

Where the rest of the world is concerned, I want to say yes when I really mean it.   I stopped myself--actually deleted the email before sending--from volunteering to coach soccer this spring.  Although I had a blast last season, I am not yet excited for the next one.  Saying yes less out of obligation means saying yes more often to friends.  Yes, I am available.  No, I am not too busy.

I'm saying yes to running and writing this year, too.  So if my kids, my body, and some as-yet-unidentified publications all say yes, too, I'm thinking 2011 could be a banner year. 

1 comment:

CJ said...

Yes is an amazing word & aspiration. Thanks