2013: The Year in Review is My 2014 New Year’s Resolution

I’m often asked to write in PTSD therapy. There are times I volunteer certain things because writing other than technical pieces has helped me lately. I told Patrick in therapy on Monday that I was going to write a “Year in Review” from the perspective of my life and personal growth I experienced in 2013… so as usual, I’m just sitting here staring at a blinking cursor. The year in review sounds so finite… as though what I am reviewing were ending at 11:59:59pm on New Year’s Eve… It all adds up to a fixed number and it doesn’t change.
I’m not delivering on a year in review… it’s just a gregorian thing… and the fact it’s 2014 doesn’t mean I’m going to write about “things” that would be assumed finished at the end of 2013. Por el contrario, mi pueblo, it’s just another day in a life that has a lot of meaning.
What’s the compromise in all this? The heading of course… “2013: The Year in Review is My 2014 New Year’s Resolution”. I choose to mash them together and stay the course I’m on.
Web definitions
  1. A New Year’s resolution is a promise that you make to yourself to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the first day of the year.
English: Two New Year's Resolutions postcards

English: Two New Year’s Resolutions postcards (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a problem with this definition. I need to continue doing what I’m doing… not change it and I don’t know that I am doing something, anything bad that I would have to resolve to stop. The implication is that you start or stop doing something, generally something that is unattainable. 40% of Americans indulge in setting these fixed resolves and most fail… miserably.

The fact is, a peer reviewed study has shown that 88% of people who make new year’s resolutions fail, while 56% of the same people feel their resolution is attainable. 22% of men and 10% of women are more often successful when instead of a resolution, they set attainable goals for themselves with milestones. Not necessarily complicated ones… but rather baby steps, such as saving a dollar a week instead of just saying, I want to save money in 2014, or losing weight or gaining (in my case) a pound of weight a week instead of a simple I want to gain weight. Both men and women have been shown to have better success when their resolution or goal is made public or shared with friends and family, which makes you accountable to them.

Talking to friends, family or whoever you have in your life that you trust. Telling them about your goals will make those goals real and almost tangible, while at the same time getting support and encouragement from that same group of friends and family to perhaps help you succeed.

In order to manufacture a new year’s resolution for yourself, you have to look at and criticize yourself, find your flaws or what is missing or what you have too much of, which in and of itself can be unhealthy. You have to look at yourself and think what’s wrong with yourself… then find what’s wrong, indulge in self-loathing, low esteem, depression, unhappiness, impatience and I think the biggest is a bad self-image. All of these create failure because the resolve may be unattainable since they are just words and not actions. This creates more self-loathing, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, impatience, unhappiness and the distortion of your image in a mirror.

Resolutions such as these will, more often than not, result in failure: I want to lose weight, I want to get healthy, I want to eat healthy, I want to exercise more, I want to break bad habits, I want to quit smoking, I want to stop drinking, I want to stop wasting money, I want to save for retirement, I want to learn how to and maintain a budget.

New year's resolutions

New year’s resolutions (Photo credit: malglam)

Case in point… My friend, brother… let’s, for the sake of this disclosure call him, Mr Carverhall… just a few minutes ago he revealed his new year’s resolution to me (via facetime)… I had to ask.. but I got it out of him. He said… “I want to be wealthy”. I thought… OK… now he’s going to tell me how or for what he is to get wealthy. Is this just for the sake of being wealthy? What does he want to buy or give when he’s wealthy that he doesn’t already have or have given, besides a private jet timeshare? He tells me nothing… other than to cross some imaginary “class” line, which he has done and fails to recognize. Much of what he has, he cannot purchase with money even though he has it and the reverse is true as well as he is able to provide for his mom, who I love too. (besos los dos) To be getting married… (besos los tres) no date yet… no wedding planner. He gets to see me and/or my son Jason at least once or twice a week… sometimes for half the day. That alone should make him think to himself… I’m the wealthiest man in the world. But he doesn’t. I love him anyway… and I make sure I tell him.

WHAT IF you are on the right path? What if the path you’re on is already headed in the right direction? What if you don’t want to change a thing or your direction? What if 2013 (all things considered) was the best year of your life?

WHAT IF, when looking back at 2013 I think of nothing but good things, good experiences a personally fulfilling year on the grandest of scales, with the exception being a pulmonary embolism, but there was even good in that since I am breathing better than I have in years.

WHAT IF I realized I was truly happy for the first time in my life in 2013 and I still am. What if I felt loved for the first time in my life in 2013 and still do. What if I started learning how to both accept and share love, nurturing and affection for the first time in my life in 2013. 🙂 I have a Mom for the first time in my life and I got her in 2013 when she chose me for adoption with five simple words that instantly healed a very lunch chunk of me. I have an entire family and I got them on June 11, 2013 with my mom when the judge stamped and signed the adoption decree. My family gives me more in a day than I thought I would ever receive in a lifetime. Even if nobody says a word. It’s almost overwhelming, but I’m just going with the flow that started in 2013 and it’s still going. Thank you mom. I love you.

So, here’s the thing. I don’t need no stinkin’ New Year’s Resolution. Things will be just fine without one.

My son sent me an image with some text asking me to write it down because he was on his iPhone… huh? He never told me what to do with it so I’ve been sitting on it since New Year’s Eve. I don’t think it was for me… it was probably for his love interest, but most of it works for me… Thank you Jason. I love you, my son.

“Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side. 

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.

Remember, to say, ‘I love you’ to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you. 

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

And always remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by those moments that take our breath away.” [George Carlin}

The year 2013 really made life worth living for me because of the people that are in my life every day. I love every single last one of you. You help give my life meaning. You give me a reason to live. And it’s good to be alive. Don’t need a New Year’s resolution for that and my life is not a review.

References: [Me, My Mom, My Son, Mr. Carverhall, Richard Wiseman, Frank Ra, George Carlin, Wall Street Journal]

 

 

Quote of the Day 27 December 2013 – Happiness (again)

Liz Lemon Happy

Liz Lemon Happy (Photo credits: Giphy)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“If I am to believe everything that I see in the media, happiness is to be six foot tall or more and to have bleached teeth and a firm abdomen, all the latest clothes, accessories, and electronics, a picture-perfect partner of the opposite sex who is both a great lover and a terrific friend, an assortment of healthy and happy children, a pet that is neither a stray nor a mongrel, a large house in the right sort of postcode, a second property in an idyllic holiday location, a top-of-the-range car to shuttle back and forth from the one to the other, a clique of ‘friends’ with whom to have fabulous dinner parties, three or four foreign holidays a year, and a high-impact job that does not distract from any of the above. There are at least three major problems that I can see with this ideal of happiness. (1) It represents a state of affairs that is impossible to attain to and that is in itself an important source of unhappiness. (2) It is situated in an idealised and hypothetical future rather than in an imperfect but actual present in which true happiness is much more likely to be found, albeit with great difficulty. (3) It has largely been defined by commercial interests that have absolutely nothing to do with true happiness, which has far more to do with the practice of reason and the peace of mind that this eventually brings. In short, it is not only that the bar for happiness is set too high, but also that it is set in the wrong place, and that it is, in fact, the wrong bar. Jump and you’ll only break your back.”
Neel BurtonThe Art of Failure: The Anti Self-Help Guide

Quote of the Day 28 November 2013 – Thanksgiving

Mark Twain

Cover of Mark Twain

“Thanksgiving Day, a function which originated in New England two or three centuries ago when those people recognized that they really had something to be thankful for — annually, not oftener — if they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, during the previous twelve months instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors, the Indians. Thanksgiving Day became a habit, for the reason that in the course of time, as the years drifted on, it was perceived that the exterminating had ceased to be mutual and was all on the white man’s side, consequently on the Lord’s side; hence it was proper to thank the Lord for it and extend the usual annual compliments.”
Mark Twain

About Thanksgiving:

It became an official Federal holiday in 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”, to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26. [wikipedia]

Commentary:

So you must remember… in 1863 we stopped celebrating the extermination of native americans and started celebrating the way we killed each other… Something to be thankful for. Oh, yes… and with all the death and killing… we added more god relevance to it.

Opinion:

I’m not entirely sure what Thanksgiving used to mean to me, well, I am sure what it used to mean, but it doesn’t matter “today”… and I know, today, it becomes a new tradition for my family and I. I don’t care about the turkey, the food, the pie(s), the whatever. I just know I am thankful I now have a family to celebrate a new tradition with. My family. I’m thankful I am still alive and able to make a difference and cultivate meaning to my life.

Quote of the Day 21 November 2013 – Searching

Martin Luther King Jr Memorial

Martin Luther King Jr Memorial (Photo credit: Scott Ableman)

“Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.”
? Martin Luther King, Jr