New Year, Same Me, by Melissa Cates

New Year, Same Me 

It’s a new year, and I have to start with an admission: I really don’t like the whole idea of resolutions, and I get irritated with all the “New Year, New You” magazine covers. Maybe it’s my aversion to clichés, or maybe it’s the scores of people griping in March about how they have already “failed” to keep their resolutions. I used to buy in, vowing to lose weight, run a marathon, avoid all processed food, always be mindful, ditch needless stress, save money, and on and on. The superlatives were abundant; the results were elusive. These days, I do appreciate it as a jump-start and the reason to reignite my intentions to live my best. I believe we all need that from time to time. Whatever my reason for refusing to etch in stone my one, single goal for 2015, I do make the promise to myself to move closer to my own goals, to accept setbacks and bad days, and to the forgive myself and others. Oh, and to put my new blender to good use. So, there. Sounds curiously close to a resolution…

I am entering this new year with guilty feelings about not spending enough quality time with my two boys. That may sound hard to believe as I stay at home and take care of them everyday. I have felt a little crazed with the holidays, and A’s birthday, and getting settled in the new house, 13-hour road trips home and every other little chore and task that intrudes into my otherwise peaceful thoughts... (well, maybe peaceful is too optimistic a word to describe all of my thoughts.) My mantra seems to be, “Okay, let me just get this one more thing done, and then I will get down on the floor and play with them like I should be doing right now.” Basically, I “should” on myself all day long. The day ends with me still feeling like I have a lot to do on top of the guilt for not making my kids my priority. Of course, they are my priority, but there just never seems to be enough time in the day to “do it all.” For someone who hates clichés, I do know this is a universal human complaint. And, since I also know I can’t count on a few extra hours popping up like extra lives on a video game, I had better start making my peace with what I can do with the 24 that I am grateful to have.

My strategy so far in 2015 has been to stop whatever I am doing when I have a fleeting “I should…” thought or guilty emotional blip, and just be with my boys. Sit down and help Austin with a puzzle, snuggle Graham or make faces at him until he erupts in giggles. My gray cloud bursts, and I either go back to finishing what I was doing feeling better about the mom I am, or I decide I would rather put it off and just be there with my kids for a while longer.  What works for me may not work for you, but at the end the (hectic) day, it’s all about love. Love yourself, love your family, love your friends. Love the life you are blessed to have because it is short. We were never guaranteed that it would be painless. The highs owe their sweetness to the grittiness of the lows. So will be 2015: ups and downs, goods and bads. I pray that we have more good news than bad and more smiles than tears. And more full nights of sleep now that Graham is older will be nice, too. Cheers to that.

Wishing you a happy, healthy new year (resolution, or not),