Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Winning The Resolutionary War!

Here it is, the first week of January: A brand new year. More than that: A brand new decade! Wow! Makes me all shivery! 2010: That's fun to say!
OK, so over the past few days my daily newspaper, the evening news, my internet provider, programs like Oprah, Ellen, Drs. Oz and Phil, Dateline and 20/20 plus any number of friends have been brimming over with advice on making and keeping New Year's resolutions: "Don't be unrealistic, just get started, accept your mistakes, count your successes" and on and on it goes. I can't turn in any direction without reading or hearing or seeing something about resolutions. I'd feel downright guilty if I didn't make at least one!
The thing is - this isn't the time we need the advice or encouragement. Heck, we all have tremendous resolve right now. It's a new year: everyone has a shiny, clean slate and success is just waiting to be claimed.
It reminds me of a scene from the Mel Gibson movie, The Patriot. [As a complete digression, I must say that I have always been a big Mel fan - the old Mel anyway, the "pre-weird rant, mid-life crisis, dump my wife of 30 years and my 7 kids for a newer model" Braveheart Mel. MAYBE he will make some resolutions to clean himself up and be the guy we all used to love and admire... but that's whole other blog]. But as I said, I digress. Back to the Patriot: Remember at the beginning of the movie when the South Carolina state congress, against Mel's objections, votes to declare war against England? The people are delirious with excitement. Fireworks are shot off, people are cheering and throwing their hats into the air. FREEDOM! (Oops, wrong Mel movie). Anyway, only Mel seems to know what lies ahead. He's battled before. He's a veteran.
Now fast forward to the scene where Mel's character and his oldest son, Gabriel, are watching out an upstairs window at a disastrous scene playing out before them in the open field below. The British are routing the patriots and the once idealistic, optimistic army of future Americans turn tail and run away as fast as they can in humiliating defeat. Mel puts his arm around his disheartened son and lets him know this is just one battle lost, not the whole war.
His timing is, of course, perfect (could the "old" Mel be anything less?) We don't need to be told what to do on December 31st or January 4th when our resolve and hopes are high. It's when the new bag of M&M's is suddenly, inexplicably 1/2 empty ("Melts in your mouth, not in your hands!" - obviously a brilliant scheme to hide all evidence) or an empty pint carton of Black Raspberry Avalanche Dreamery Ice Cream is found in your personal office trash can ("How in the world did that get in there?") Or when, despite every good intention, you forget to call your mother for three weeks or you accidentally nag your husband again (and again) about ________ (fill in blank).
It's losses in these individual battles that lead to complete defeat in the Resolutionary War. You see, it's in the middle of the campaign when hope for success dwindles. When the enthusiasm at the starting line is just a dim memory and victory is still too far off to seem attainable. Come January 27th or February 13th or March 6th I'll need my good, old friend Mel to put his arm around me (editorial pause as I close my eyes and imagine the old Mel, the "What Women Want" Mel, actually putting his arm around me) and tenderly encourage me that while I may have lost a battle or two, the Resolutionary War is still winnable. That's when Dr Oz and Phil, Dateline and my local newspaper should all run the articles we are reading this week!
Of course, it's also about making resolutions that both matter and are absolutely attainable. I made a list of a few resolutions that I intend to keep this year that aren't on the normal top 10 most common resolutions (you know the ones I'm talkingabout: lose weight, spend more time with family, get out of debt, stop smoking, stop drinking and whatever else).
For example: I resolve to:
1. Do a completely unexpected act of kindness for someone I absolutely loathe and despise. Really. First, it's Biblical - doing a kindness for your enemy will be like heaping burning coals on his head. Sounds totally worth it, doesn't it? (Of course, you cannot assume that if I happen to do something nice for you, I actually loathe you... I LOVE you!). Honestly, it's a great lesson in servanthood. The loath-ee might not even know... but I will know and it will be good for me.
2. Order something off a menu that I really don't like and eat it... it's probably going to be fishy... I hate to even think about it. BUT - I need to expand my horizons, open myself up to new experiences, and tastes.
3. Finish something: I know what that means to me - I will keep the "thing" to myself, but the point is, I've got some things in my life that I have had dangling in my head and heart for a long time and I aim to finish at least one of those "things" this year.
There are a few more, but you get the idea. Those are resolutions for me - just me - and they are completely attainable... at least it feels that way on January 6th.
So, are you with me? Let's all resolve to win the Resolutionary War this year! Hip, Hip Hooray! Hip, Hip Hooray! With a little help from the old Mel, how can we go wrong??

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