Out with the Old (Behaviors)

Five New Years resolutions for a fresh year and a sparkly new life.

 

Lately, I’ve felt as if I’m living within the pages of “Good Night Moon”—if the book had been written by Sylvia Plath.

This past spring, instead of saying good night to the light and red balloon, my husband and I said goodbye to a marriage damaged beyond repair and filed for divorce. I gave a figurative wave not just to the bears in chairs, but to the childhood dream I’d worked three years toward achieving. I knew it wasn’t possible to keep the home I love. So when the abode is officially sold, my son and I will bid adieu to our little toy house as well. What of the old lady whispering, “hush?” Once I secure full-time employment, I plan to hire her for those nights when I need to work late.

As a prolific day dreamer, I’ve fantasized about air-kissing my thirties goodbye and greeting my forties a much wiser, elegant woman—the kind who appears to have a life chosen straight from the pages of a Pottery Barn catalog. But my reality couldn’t be any more different. I’m filled with more coffee than wisdom, and life looks more like a kid projectile-vomited all over a Pottery Barn minutes before an angry tornado ripped off the roof.

I don’t typically draft New Year’s resolutions, but since I’m facing a new decade and life chapter, I felt like there’s no better time than the present. So here goes…in 2013 I resolve to:

1. Listen to my cheering squad. I’m lucky to have some amazing friends who power me on when I want to crawl into a cave and sleep away the next five years. Usually, once they’ve lured me out with the promise of a vodka tonic, they remind me of how much stronger and more resilient I’ve become. I tend to forget the compliments they give, but this year, I promise to take their words to heart.

2. Request help when needed. If I see a loved one, friend or stranger in need of assistance, I ask how I can help. But when that struggling person is me, I feel guilty just at the thought of reaching out. Many women share this feeling. We forget that friends and family would be glad to lighten our load, especially if we’re willing to return the favor later on.

3. Take care of myself. When we go through a life upheaval, our physical and emotional well-being is taxed. This past April, I learned that eating nothing but Russell Stover candies for seven days straight is never a good idea. But eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep always is. This year, I’ll concentrate on upping my water intake and seeking out some quality vitamin supplements. My body could use the nutritional backup!

4. Find the opportunity in the struggle. Change is unnerving. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t spend so much energy resisting it. Dealing with the emotional fallout of a major change can be overwhelming in a “please pass the Xanax” kind of way. I’ve learned that setbacks and snags can compel us to launch our own personal revolution. We emerge with a stronger sense of self and a greater sense of direction.

5. Remember, no one is perfect. No one has life all figured out, so why do I beat myself up because I don’t have all of the answers? Some of the most accomplished femmes in STL admit to not being as Teflon-tough as they present themselves to the outside world. They second-guess career, relationship and child-rearing decisions. They make mistakes too. As I recently learned, even the most confident of women sometimes feel about as secure as a passenger in a car that’s being driven by Lindsay Lohan—and that’s normal.

Maybe you’re thinking about your own resolutions right now. I wish you well in your endeavor. May it be a year of profound growth for both of us, my friend. I’m cheering you on.

 

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Out with the Old

 

Photo credit: Illustration by Sarah Quatrano

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