It's early December, and part of me has skipped right past Christmas and is thinking about new year's resolutions. Since one of those resolutions might be to live more fully in each moment, it's obvious the need is real.
A few things recently got me to thinking about resolutions.
One is my continuing annoyance and shame over a few of my habits. Anyone who has paid attention knows I chew way too much gum and have a disgusting habit of picking at bumps and rough skin. These may or may not be a big deal, but the thing I'm keenly aware of is that I won't be able to let go of them -- or even just cut back -- without a very determined effort. I'm aware that just thinking about it and the reasons I want to stop or cut back actually make me more compulsive about the habit. I can tell it's going to take not only a physical plan of action but also a plan that involves mental and spiritual resolve. And I'm not ready yet. Maybe if I start praying for willingness now, it will come sooner rather than later.
Another was a Facebook post from one of my nieces. She wrote on Dec. 1: "... is thinking that if I start practicing my New Years Resolutions now by the time 2011 rolls around I might have them down!!" Good luck with that, I thought, assessing my own reality.
The third thing that has me thinking about resolutions stems from having started to read former President George W. Bush's memoir "Decision Points." Rather than being presented as a life story as such, the book's structure is based on looking back at key decisions, mostly in his presidency but also at other times in his life. It starts with his decision to quit drinking. What it made me realize is that I never know whether I've actually made a decision until I can look back and see whether I followed through. Maybe this is related to my compulsive tendencies (mine don't involve alcohol) and need for a 12-step program that includes Step 3: "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him." I've done that and continue to reaffirm that decision daily. One day at a time, it keeps me from turning to food as my God. So, what's the deal with this gum? It's not my God, but it seems like more than a nervous habit. Even though it wastes a bunch of money, I'm not sure it causes any ill effects to my health or the well-being of others. In fact, it only seems like an obsession when I try to let it go. (But isn't that the definition of an obsession or addiction -- when you can't or won't give it up even when you think you want to?) I just know that on some level I would like to be free of the excess. But I don't guess I'd like to enough yet to make what seems like a sacrifice.
I know I've made many important decisions in my life that have been transformative in positive ways. This is happening more often as I grow older. But it's also as I grow older that I'm more aware of the decisions I want to make but keep avoiding. I'm aware that I can't get back wasted moments, squandered opportunities, misspoken words or misspent money. I think there is value in looking back to learn from experience, but I want to move forward, to grow and develop. But I guess I'm still not ready to make a decision. I'm just wishing. Or so it seems. Maybe by the start of the new year I'll be ready. Or maybe tomorrow. Or maybe tonight. I guess I'll know when I look back.