(This article was written for the Monmouth Daily Review Atlas and appears as a part of my regular column entitled 'Practical Parenting')
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I love this time of the year. While I am still relishing in the joy of Christmas here comes the New Year creeping up on me with all its promise of hope and fresh beginnings.
It's amazing really that each and every 12 months we have the opportunity to start over again. Its like every year, no matter how bad it went last year, we still get a fresh start. How awesome is that?
So while my calendar is about to flip and while people start talking about resolutions, I am going to embrace the new year with a new angle. Instead of making a list of things I will do this upcoming year I am making a list of all the things I won't do in 2013.
For example, I am not going to spend one more year wishing I was thinner. Every January of my adult life I've resolved to lose weight. And seventeen years later I'm still the same size I was after giving birth to my first child. I'm a mom. I love to bake cookies and eat them with my children. I love treating them to ice cream on occasion and mostly I love creamer in my coffee. Lots of creamer. It's the magic potion that makes getting up in the morning and tending to the needs of my family bearable.
Should I be a healthy weight? Of course! Could I afford to drop a few? Naturally! I'm not saying I won't try for a healthy life, what I'm saying is I'm not going to spend another 365 days obsessing over it.
Secondly, I am not going to live in fear this year. I'm not going to be afraid to go to the movies, drive my car or drop my kids off at school. I will not allow my mind to imagine worst case scenarios and then spend energy forming strategies based on my imaginations. I will not allow terrible thoughts to shape my reality. I will remind myself that what is real are my healthy, active kids. They need a mom who is engaged in their real lives, not bogged down with all the imaginary what-ifs that might happen someday.
Tragedy happens and accidents are real. I will make safe choices and be responsible but I will not spend one day this year mentally warding off an event that hasn't even happened to me! Instead I will take each and every day that has been given to me and I will do my best to live it well.
Also, I'm not going to apologize this year for being me. I'm a little gregarious. I tend to talk too loud. I'm a contrarian by nature and I'm not as good as a listener as I could be. This is who I am. Instead of spending the next year trying to change how I am designed perhaps I can embrace those qualities and use them for good.
Maybe instead of being ashamed of my loud voice I can use it to cheer up others or tell stories that uplift and encourage. Perhaps instead of downplaying my opinions for fear of fitting in, I can learn to express myself with respect for others. And what if instead of being ashamed to stand out I let my light shine?
I love the dawn of a new year. While the world outside my window is bleak and cold, the calendar reminds me that time keeps moving. And with every new day I am given I will see it as a chance to live again and hopefully, better. This year I choose to live well. I choose to be a better version of me this time next year, not the same, regretful, older self.
So I guess I am making a resolution of sorts; I resolve what not to resolve. (I did mention I'm a contrarian, right?) We are on the brink of a new year folks. Let's make it our best one yet. Why? Because I'm the mom and I said so! That's why!
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