“Mom, she always copies me! I wrote my goals, and drew these pictures and look! She copied my entire thing! I am so mad. I hate being copied!!!”
I’ve got this.
“It’s such a compliment to be copied. Your sister must really admire your work and wants to produce something of her own too!”
Tears. Not mine. I guess I don’t have this.
“Mom, you don’t know what it’s like having your sisters copy you. It’s sooo annoying!”
“I can understand, honey. I am sorry it’s frustrating y…” And before I finish, our youngest chimes in, “I wasn’t copying. I am making my New Year’s Resolutions and I can’t spell those words so I went with, “Goals”. And I couldn’t spell that either, so I copied yours! And than I liked your pictures on your goal sheet when I was writing the letters. So, I drew them too. I didn’t even trace them, Mom. I drew them by myself! I didn’t copy. Also, my goals are totally different from yours. I don’t even want to do a back-hand-spring!!”
I am speechless. I really have nothing. I mean, what would you say to that?! Law School. That’s what I am thinking when the third-born storms off. She too, has words for a rebuttal.
And, so it goes. New Years is upon us and people are fiercely making New Year’s resolutions, ahem, goals.
“Where is your goal paper, Mom?”
Deer in the head lights. Quite honestly, one goal I have is less list-making but how do I say this in a respectful way to the devoted goal achiever?! Distracted by her other artsy project, kite-making, I am let off the line as she tests hers in the backyard. But now I am pondering what meaning New Year’s resolutions has to me at this stage in life.
In 2018, not surprisingly, westerners’ top resolution was to eat healthy and get more exercise. The many worlds of fitness explode with new members in January. Yoga pants, spin shoes, sports bras and other fitness wear fly off the shelves, awaiting their short-lived opportunity to achieve a flashy, New Year’s goal. By April, for a large number of people, the lustre of this new commitment begins to wear off. These fitness items slide to the back of closets and drawers. And by September, that New Year’s goal becomes a vague memory. Bikini season is over anyways. There’s always next year and how can it be bad to have the same New Year’s resolution when it has to do with health?
What makes our New Year’s resolutions last? Visual presence of them? Daily time devoted to them? Purpose behind them? Connection to the meaning of their importance?
(Image shot at Moxi, by Anna Maria Stump)
I catch a sneak peek of our youngest daughter’s goal sheet. And remember, our third born’s upset words as I chuckle, “Mom, she even numbered her goals the same as mine!! It’s so frustrating!!”
- “My first goal is to see Santa one day”
- “My sekint goal….
- “My thrd goal….
- “My foth goal….
For a six-year-old, she is rather directed towards her goals. For example, she tells everyone she meets that Santa told her last year her dream of being an elf when she grows up is indeed, possible. Thus, seeing Santa one day is very likely, if you end up having him as your boss. And though she is taking time to fill in her other goals, her phonetic spelling is coming right along! Perhaps, that will be her next goal.
I might have let some dust bunnies form on my own goals. So, I go to work. Before bed, I read a few pages from the novel, Saving Time. I am lost in elephant sanctuary mysteries. I turn off the light and snug down into my flannel sheets and ask myself, “What are the things I most devoted to in this New Year?” I secretly hope my dreams can be remembered the next morning, because as soon as I think this thought; I am asleep.
Parenting is incredibly tiring!
I wake in the morning. So, ok I think I am devoted to more rest and quiet. Are these ridiculous New Year’s goals? Does this make me seem lazy? Maybe, I am more devoted to not worrying about what others think of me. This seems like a rude New Year’s goal. I have to keep going.
The next night, and because it’s hard to discern these kind of things, like life goals and such, I do the opposite of Saving Time. I decide to spend time and watch an entire kids’ movie with the girls. They have chosen, Rise of the Guardians. I tune in and out of paying attention. I think I may be suffering from fudge over-dose. Then, I am captivated by a scene where Santa is sharing with Jack Frost about his “center”. He is having Jack uncover one nesting doll at a time, and sharing with Jack the layers of himself that make him unique. These layers, that make Santa, Santa!! Jack becomes devoted to finding his center.
Maybe New Year’s resolutions won’t form dust bunnies if they are connected to our center!! I keep going, nesting-dolls style this time.
Round two. I am wide-eyed, like the Santa in this movie, and I begin to write: What I am meant for? What am I designed to be? What do I need to peel away to rediscover my center? These questions make me giddy. I am meant for connecting. Positive self-talk is so engaging! Phew, this first question wasn’t too hard!
What am I designed to be? Hmmm. Our oldest was working on an application for a high school academy tonight and she shared that the question posed in the essay asked, “Describe a life experience that is significant to you. What did you learn and how can that add to the academy cohort of other students?” It reminded me of, “for what purpose are we designed?” Not only what are we to ourselves, but also for others. I told her it was OK to sit on this question for a while. After-all, I was still sitting on it for myself. It seemed unreasonable to have a 13-yr old have this cued up.
Night three, “I am designed for…. motivating, for reaching out to others who need help, for strength and endurance. I am designed for communicating at deeper levels. I am designed to be creative and open-minded,” This is like peeling an onion! Or building a parfait. Oh Lord, I watch too many kids’ movies.
What do I need to peel away to rediscover my center? Uh, oh. Here come my New Year’s goals. And I can assure you it’s far more than four. Eek!
- I need to peel away frustration. It presents itself as frustration with others, but it really is frustration with myself.
- I need to peel away distractions. Like tidiness of the house, or emails to check, or IG pages to scan. I can instead be creative or quiet.
- I need to peel away any, and all stories I tell myself about what I am able, or not able to do. Bah humbug to those.
- I need to peel away being in charge and let someone else take charge on occasion in their own way.
- I need to peel away “doing” and maybe begin meditating instead.
- I need to peel away expectations of what I should feel and instead, embrace all the layers of emotion which guess what? We are all designed to feel!
- I need to …. I’m out. Not out of goals. Not by a long shot. I am just fast asleep.
In photography, dust bunnies are described as dark spots that show up on an image, because of bits of dust on the lens. In life, however, dust bunnies appear when our goals seem like distant memories. I have plenty more nesting dolls to uncover in this beautiful life, and many more layers to peel away to continue to stay true to my center.
Here’s to all our efforts in creating New Year’s goals, from physically fit ones that connect us to our center, and deeper ones that ask us to reach even further.
Side note: If by night four, you have no answers to the above questions, resist the urge to trace a friend’s. Keep searching, nesting-doll style. There are so many rich layers to each one of us. When you find your center, be confident as you light your candle. Go out into the world and lift it up with all things that make you, YOU. Rest assured, your New Years’ goals will always find their way to the front of your closet if they remain directed towards your center.
(Image shot at a Helena Bakery, by Anna Maria Stump)
Love and Light,
About the cover image:
Covered in old, smoky dollar bills and dust bunnies, a lit-up ceiling in a nearby country bar holds a sweet reminder. Scattered and eclectic, it is a fun-loving way to acknowledge that so many different people have enjoyed this space! They look up, smack their George Washington above them and continue to dance. I like this New Year’s concept. Let’s address all things we need to peel away with due time, then dance until dawn. Happy 2019!!