by Lori Welch Brown
A Calendar Year
It’s never too late, in fiction or in life, to revise. —Nancy Thayer
Sharpen up your pencils because this month is all about revising—revising your social life, your waist line, your gym plans, your refrigerator contents, etc. If you had a practically over-indulgent holiday season, perhaps you’re more in ‘repent’ mode. Hail Mary, full of grace…Grace, yeah. I could definitely use some of that. Before I trash last year’s calendar, however, I like to sit down and page through it to do a quick review of the year. It’s a nice stroll down memory lane and a good reminder of things I’ve accomplished. In my opinion, one can never give oneself too many pats on the back. Sure, you can beat yourself up over the things you didn’t accomplish, but what’s the point of that? January is your reset/refresh button. Consider it your God-given mulligan.
After I review last year’s events, I tuck that calendar away, and get out my shiny new calendar. Yes—I’m still a geek who uses a paper calendar, and I take great care in selecting it. It’s a very important decision. The paper, colors, format and construction have to be just right if it’s going to hold my entire life in its hands. Think about it. You’re entrusting your most important milestones and events to that puppy. It has got to be something you like looking at and that makes you happy deep down inside—something you want to share your coffee time with each day. Kinda important. I don’t even wait until January when they’re 40% off—I splurge and get just the perfect one, pre-sale. Crazy, I know. Anyhow, I love opening up that blank slate and starting to pencil in reminders of important dates for the year ahead—Mom’s birthday, anniversary of her passing, first date with hubby, nieces’ and nephews’ birthdays, planned vacations, etc. There is so much good in life to celebrate and it’s joyful to spend time looking out over the horizon before you have to start penciling in doctors appointments and payments due. Don’t even get me started on color coding and those cute little ‘Important’ and ‘Priority’ stickers at Michael’s. It’s a planner’s dream world over there.
Once my events are logged in (in bright, festive, happy colors no doubt), I start focusing on my goals for the year. What is it that I’d like to revise about myself this year? How can I, Lori Welch Brown, be a better person, a better member of society? What actions can I take to present a happier, more joyful person to the world? Sounds like a big undertaking, right? Really, it’s just about softening the hard edges by adding a little more love and self-care (yes—a day on the couch watching Christmas movies counts as self-care). I don’t really subscribe to the infomercial brand of resolutions, i.e., C’mon, lose that weight! Reduce that waistline! Give up sugar and alcohol and carbs and fat and TV and gluten and cursing and gossip and everything that basically makes you, well, you. It’s a lot more palpable to just resolve to be a better version of yourself. We like you. Truly we do, we just want you to be a tad bit nicer, healthier, and more patient, accepting and present. If you happen to enrich a few relationships, save a few bucks and lose five pounds in the process, BONUS! Seriously, no pressure though. But hey, if you’re more of an all out ‘delete and start over’ kinda person, by all means, go for it. If you smoke, quit. If you spend money, don’t. If you eat gluten, stop. If you drink, abstain. Now, sit back and enjoy the year! Woot, woot. Sounds like crazy fun, right? Somebody just shove a fork in my left cornea, please.
Turns out that whatever method you choose, being a better version of yourself might not be easy—probably because you, my friend, are pretty darned close to being perfect just the way you are. I’d say you’re perfect now, but nobody is because that would just be BORING. I’m a big fan of self-improvement—don’t get me wrong. I probably bought half of that aisle at Barnes and Noble in the late 90s. I was constantly on a quest to not only improve, but to understand. It’s not that I didn’t think I was good enough, but more curious about learning what others knew that I didn’t. I wanted their words of wisdom. I wanted to know what they knew. I didn’t want to repeat mistakes. I wanted knowledge—much more than I wanted a gift set of P90X CDs and a thigh master. QVC has made a fortune off of people’s insecurities and New Year’s resolutions. Turns out all we really needed was some Hallmark Christmas movies, spa time and a bright, shiny new calendar!
Happy New Year!