This is the time of year of making New Year’s resolutions, which I also used to do, but it has been quite a while since I decided to stop. In my younger years, my resolutions were the ‘usual’: lose ten pounds, join a gym, etc.…But when these same items appeared on my lists year after year, I decided that my resolutions were not productive. Instead, I created ‘self-agreements’ and I make them throughout the year and in doing so, they help me organize and prioritize my life.
In a conversation with myself, I agreed to the following over this past year (in no particular order and not an exhaustive list):
1) Because I freeze a lot of leftover foods, I agreed to label everything I place in the freezer with the item’s name and preparation date. I have kept this promise to myself all year long, making my life so much easier. My husband, too, appreciates knowing what he will be defrosting and eating. No more mysteries.
2) Once I retired (June, 2017), I agreed to remove the word ‘should’ from my vocabulary. I do not have any more time left to have ‘shoulds’ in my life…no longer will I make decisions based on what I should or shouldn’t do. So far, so good.
3) I walk every day, making sure to notice the simple beauty of the flowers, the gorgeous bougainvillea (not ours) and the magnificent trees whose strength continue to uproot our sidewalks as a reminder that they will endure beyond us.
4) In my volunteer work, my focus is on helping and enlightening others, so I continue to give of my time at the Museum of Tolerance. While my efforts might be just a little drop in the bucket of humanity, I can share my knowledge and our need for tolerance and understanding, which our society needs now more than ever before.
5) I continue my writing every day, for when I don’t write, I feel off kilter, out of sorts, the same way someone feels without exercising.
6) I continue my reading, attacking the stack of books that I have been salivating over, but never had the time to read during the semester when I was teaching and grading countless essays.
7) I spend as much time as I can with my two grandchildren, knowing that time is fleeting, that soon they will be in school and will have activities, play dates and their busy schedules will not provide me with such treasured one-on-one time.
8) I stay in touch with dear friends who don’t live near me, yet are close in my heart. I connect either through email or phone calls or both.
There are more agreements, but for now, these are the ones I would like to share. Unlike New Year’s Resolutions, I make agreements whenever the need arises, whenever I want to commit to making an idea into a habit.