Lead Me Not Into False Expectations

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end” -Semisonic

It’s another New Year, another time for new beginnings, resolutions (if you’re into that sort of thing) and a blank page in a yet unwritten book. I am wary of making resolutions due to the fact they are usually slightly unrealistic. If I were to make a resolution that I wouldn’t go all Hulk-like in traffic, but I had done nothing to change my frame of mind or manage my emotions, then I’m fairly certain my effort would be met with failure, or at the very least an inability to magically transform my commute from December 31, 2016 to January 1, 2017. When you think about it, it’s really just a change from one calendar to another; from a Sunday to a Monday. If my resolution is to not drink but I have a full cupboard of alcohol that I see every time I reach for a glass, it will be more difficult to not grab that bottle and have “just one” drink. If I haven’t dug deep to find out the “why” behind the drinking then my resolution is dependent upon my mood; if my mood goes dark and dangerous and I haven’t developed any healthy coping skills, then guess what? Chug-a-lug. Another great reason for my resolutions to fail is that I make them based on what I think I should do, not what I really want to do. Making a resolution to lose weight, so that the hot guy I have a huge crush on will notice (and hopefully fall in love with) me. Making a resolution to start attending mass on a regular basis because my parents (God rest their souls) would be pleased, as they look down upon me from Heaven. Or even better, so that I can get in God’s good grace and therefore avoid the fiery alternative. These are all great resolutions, as great as resolutions can be, but they are doomed to be unsuccessful if I haven’t invested in them long before January 1st.

I prefer to set intentions rather than resolutions. They are much more forgiving, loosely defined and honestly, give me an out if things don’t go according to plan.

in·ten·tion
inˈten(t)SH(ə)n/
noun
1.
a thing intended; an aim or plan.
“she was full of good intentions”
2.
MEDICINE
the healing process of a wound.

– Google Search

I love the second definition because the majority of my intentions do involve the healing and recovering from wounds, be it physical or emotional. My intention is to forgive those who have wounded me, but that may take not days, but years. My intention is to forgive myself for the wounds I have inflicted on others. My intention is to accept my faults and failures and love myself unconditionally, which will be my intention for every New Year until my Last Year.

I feel the danger in resolutions is that they lead us into false expectations; by changing my physical appearance, I will find love. By doing things for others, I will be accepted and loved. It’s not the resolution so much as it is the expected outcome. Realistically losing weight will not guarantee that the hot guy falls in love with me, especially if he’s gay, married or simply not interested. Not drinking alcohol is a great resolution, but there is much more involved than just not raising a glass to my lips. Forgiving others is a great idea, but that means letting go of old hurts and grudges. If they have been your constant companion for years and help you to feel righteous in your belief that they are in the wrong, then it will take much more effort than simply thinking you forgive them. One must take personally responsibility for their role in what happened and own up to it. My dad used to say, “It’s not the making of a mistake that should embarrass a person, so much as their failure to benefit from it.”

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Learning from mistakes so that we don’t make the same ones over and over is more helpful (in my experience) than making a resolution that is unrealistic.

So, Happy New Year to one and all! May this year bring you comfort when you’re distressed, company when you’re lonely, a hand to hold when you’re frightened and a safe harbor during Life’s many storms; the courage to face your fears, the strength to slay your dragons and the faith to believe that there is more to Life than just crossing days off the calendar and making unrealistic expectations. Peace and love to you all!

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Breadcrumbs

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As most of you know by now, I am big into planning, strategizing, researching and in general getting deep into the details of whatever I am thinking/planning/dreaming about. I tend to get distracted easily, like a small child walking through the forest I find myself not looking where I am going but instead my gaze is cast toward the sky, the treetops and the falling snowflakes; I am so enthralled that I lose any sense of direction, purpose or mission. My attention flits to follow every shiny object, butterfly or even just random thought and as a result, I tend to find myself off course a great deal of the time. Knowing this and experiencing the frustration of trying to remember the exact location where I zigged when I should’ve zagged, I have gotten in the habit of leaving myself a trail of mental breadcrumbs to help me find my way back. Maybe it’s not even about adjusting course; often times it seems to be the realization that the destination I had in mind was just a work of fiction; like Never Never Land or some would say, heaven. This is a hard truth to bear and even more difficult if one has accepted that vision as truth and invested in that vision to the point of exclusion of almost everything else. I have 99 different ways to sabotage any chance at happiness but sometimes it’s simply a matter of unreal expectations, turning a blind eye to truths that may not fit with the vision in my mind. I don’t know if that’s due to human nature, a survival mechanism or just the desire to believe in happy endings or something altogether different, but I once again have strayed off the course and need to get back to the topic of getting back to where I need to be. There is nothing wrong with seeing the good in people and wanting to be a part of something greater than just oneself; however, I personally have a very difficult time setting aside my primary need for independence to allow that to happen. It’s not a trust issue, it’s a lack of desire to be dependent upon anyone else other than myself. I don’t want to need anyone. I want to stand alone, stand strong, but I’ll also stand by my man, stand up for what’s right and stand strong in solidarity with my sisters or brothers.

OK – see? A clear demonstration of me going completely off track. So, back to my breadcrumbs. I set a series of goals for myself and have a specific calendar that I keep those goals, dates and any notes that I have regarding the goal, etc. When I check in with that calendar, those dates are my breadcrumbs. I set a lot of goals upon my return from Scotland this summer and looking back, I have accomplished zero of those goals. I set new ones shortly afterwards and strangely enough, they have little to do with me personally; they are about finding new ways to live, to allow another person into the bubble that I live in, into my world. How to allow people be who they are, not take things so personally and in general, compromise. Nothing wrong with those goals as they are skills that every human being should possess, but the reason behind those goals is significant. Did I make those goals for me or did I make those goals with a specific person in mind? Am I once again trying to “become” what this person needs me to be? Or am I just trying to grow and get outside of my solitary circle of comfort? I don’t know. That’s the tough part. I do not ever want to make a change for someone else. I have done that in the past and it never works out well. I have to make changes for myself, understanding that everyone around me will also benefit because I will not be resentful or be motivated by guilt for having made a change I did not willing wish to make.

I have brought out a new calendar, with new goals and new thoughts to ponder along the journey. I feel strongly that everyone who is in my life is there for a reason and I value them for that and for the incredible human being they are (all my homies are incredible human beings) and celebrate what gifts they’ve given me throughout our time together. Some have been in my world longer than others and some have been to places in my world others have not, but the important thing is that even though I choose to be single, I am not alone. Even though I appear to be somewhat happy and well adjusted, I am mostly not. I am terrified of  many things, although spiders are not one of them. I have learned and grown a great deal in the past year, but I know I am never done learning. I have laughed, cried and raged and will value those memories for the lessons they imparted, the good times they brought and above all else, the people that rode the tsunami with me.