New Year’s resolutions don’t work for me. Making a long list of things that won’t be completed doesn’t seem like a very encouraging way to start the New Year. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for setting goals. Those are necessary to track progress and give me something to work toward. But resolutions–not so much.
Last year, someone mentioned choosing a word for the year instead of a resolution. Around November I started to think about the idea. I wondered, if I had to choose one word to live in the next year, what would it be?
The first word I thought of was joyous. The last few years have been stressful between a lack of money, a divorce, and a death in the family. But most of those changes are behind me and the healing has already started.
Then this morning in the shower (yes I do my best thinking in the shower, don’t you) I was remembering a conversation I had with a friend about siblings. As a kid, my brother was constantly in trouble. But usually I’d caused the trouble.
As a kid, I was fearless. I tried everything, thought up unbelievable adventures and saw them through. Sometimes with horrible consequences. At least for my brother. And sometimes myself. But it didn’t stop me from thinking up new things to try.
Once, we found an abandoned shopping cart on the sidewalk. I convinced my brother it would be great fun to push me down the street. That one ended badly for me. I wound up with stitches in the back of my head when the cart tumbled off the curb and my brother (only four at the time) couldn’t stop it.
Another time, I convinced him we should go to a park that my parents told us to avoid. We set out on our bikes. It took us forever to ride over hills and through residential areas. I still remember the bike ride and the wonderful walk through the woods. And the grounding at the end when we finally made it home. Only later did I find out that the reason for the restriction was for our safety. A murderer was loose and the park was the last place he was seen.
As I reflected on how much trouble I’d caused my brother, I realized how fearless I’d been when I was young. And I want that again. That feeling that anything is possible. That there are no boundaries to adventures or things to try. That failure isn’t failure, it is only a learning experience on the road to something more exciting. Although horror can lurk in the unexplored places, I want to once again attack my life as if the park is open, a lush place to explore, not one filled with potential danger.
I can find that out later. That’s what looking back is for.