A whole year will have gone by and a new year will be upon us in just a couple of days! A week ago I wrote about looking back and how people get caught up in their year end review. Now, as we approach January 1, all the talk is about "resolutions" and the intention of making changes in our lives.
New Year's resolutions feel hard. I rarely get the feeling that anyone feels excited or that the process will be fun. Instead, it's more about what we think we should do or what we have to do to be better. As if, at the end of each year, we find ourselves falling short, full of bad habits, and unable to recognize our accomplishments as much as our (perceived or imagined) failures. You'll hear people say, "I need to buckle down and ...
eat less, lose weight
spend more time with [fill in the blank]
spend less time with [fill in the blank]
watch less television
get out more
be more kind
get a new job
finally clean the garage (or, attic or, playroom or, my office ... you get the idea)
Even if we dare to venture toward a more pleasurable goal, for example travel, we still tend to make it into a chore. "I should ...
get some brochures
finally get a passport
talk to friends who have been on cruises
find out how much it will cost
figure out the "best" places to go
compare cruises with land tours
see how much time off I can get
These are all great things to consider if you want to take a trip, but they don't have to be unpleasant tasks. In fact, sometimes I see people decide not to go on an adventure because it seems like too much work. The same goes for resolutions -- they just feel too difficult.
I get that and I have some thoughts about getting rid of the drudgery. I believe we can lovingly look at the things we'd like to change or improve and turn it into a pleasurable experience and I'll probably write about it in the future. However, today, I really want to address the biggest excuse of all that I see more and more often and it makes me crazy -- age! My Monday Pleasure Peek was a quote from C.S.Lewis:
"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream."
If you even have the thought that you are giving up because you are a certain age, you are depriving the world of all that you still have to give. Who says you're too old?? Don't listen to them. If you can climb the stairs today, you can climb them tomorrow. Short of an accident, whatever you can do today you can repeat the next day and the next. When we decide (and, I've seen people actually do this!) that we can't do something, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. On the other hand, if we chose to believe that what we are doing right now is still doable tomorrow, once again -- self-fulfilling prophecy. Either way, "it" happens!
Let's go back to travel (my favorite subject!) -- Have you ever seen an airline or a cruise ship not allow someone on board because they're too old?!? You have to be "so tall" and
"old enough" to get on some of the rides at Disney World, but I've never seen a sign that says "No one over 65". Colleges and Universities do not have a cut off age (in fact, in Massachusetts at least, one can attend any state college for free after 65!). I admit that I applied for a nursing position in Qatar (next to Saudi Arabia) last year and they told me I was too old. I laughed because they had no idea if I really was and the hospitals I've worked at since have been delighted to have me (and, they're not giving me an "easy" assignment!). I love seeing older flight attendants now that airlines are recognizing the value of mature employees and I've never been denied entrance to a country because I'm of a certain age. In fact, I follow the advice of Dr. Christiane Northrup who advises us not to share our exact age. This isn't because we are ashamed, but because too many other people might see us as limited when we are not.
I recommend, as the new year arrives, that you start seriously dreaming and setting new, outrageous goals. Let your imagination go wild. Take advantage of the fact that most of us, by now, have some wisdom and self-awareness that we never had before. This allows us to really know what we want. Where do you want to go or what do you want to do next? Or, as Mary Oliver so beautifully put it:
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"