I love the start of a new year. It feels like a clean white empty first page of a leather bound journal. It’s like the first peel of the orange, the first note of a trumpet, a brave new world. It’s such a heady and exhilarating feeling. The chance to start over, to write a new story, to sing a new song.Why then does such uplifting emotion fail to sustain us often past the first month of the year?
It’s an interesting phenomenon, the New Year’s resolution. We promise ourselves the world. And why not? It’s good to feel like the king or queen of your own castle. We deserve to feel good about our lives. We work hard, take care of family, sometimes even remember to take care of ourselves. If things have gotten a little stale by December, why then it’s lovely to embrace January. It’s the start of the race. There is just so much promise.
The word “promise” itself holds power. Opening a package, keeping a secret. Making a vow. A future reward. The promised land. Something sacred and binding. It is much of what makes us human, the ability to make a choice or a life change. It’s the follow through that’s the real challenge. If you have made a resolution, you are obligating yourself to follow through. And there’s the rub. There’s the fly in the ointment. It’s not that we mean to go back to our old ways but they are just so comfortable.
To speak of promises or to make promises is so much a part of our humanity. Just song lyrics alone run the gamut of the emotion. Artists have used both promises made and those broken to write and paint and make poignant films. After a promise is broken there is a long period of regret, perhaps a time to repair the damage of a broken promise. Although resolution is not a direct synonym of promise, we do promise ourselves a result when we make a resolution and we do feel regret if we do not follow through. Maybe we are just reaching too far when we are making resolutions and can forgive ourselves for the unattainable goal.
So I’ve changed some of my resolutions. Age really does give one perspective on what’s important. I resolve to try to be a better mom to my amazing adult children. Certainly our relationships have evolved as we have all aged. What a beautiful thing to have your children be your best friends. When we were younger, my husband and I had to be the adults. I confess that was so hard for me sometimes. I felt like a kid myself. Sometimes the most calming thing was getting down on the floor with them and chilling out. There were two new years that were celebrated with a new infant in our home. It was scary, sometimes overwhelming. A small person so dependent on the decisions I would make, on my constant vigilance, on my ability to keep them safe, fed and warm. On the promises I would make them and the ones I wouldn’t keep so well. On the the mistakes I would make.
They will always be those small children for me in my memory, in my heart. I will always remember the moments I held them and comforted them and yes, lost my patience with them. I will always worry, I will always have so much pride in them and yes despite my best efforts, I will always hover. So this is my resolution and my promise; to be a better mom, to see them as much as I can, to tell them they are loved. To share their lives as they will let me and to stand out of their way. At least I will try. I know they will forgive me if some of those promises are broken. And with that love I will have no regret. Happy new year. May 2016 be full of promise.