I awoke to 2019 old enough to know better. To know better than to expect a shiny new feeling in a shiny new year. But I awoke content in the moment. I hope you did too.
I chose hearty oatmeal with my youngest rather than a morning aerobics class. Talk about “old enough to know better.” In my prime, I used to awaken on New Year’s Day more in need of an Alka-Seltzer than aerobics or oatmeal. My, how our choices change.
This morning, fittingly, I talked to my oldest son as he begins a new chapter in his life. Sounding excited as he drove through cornfields on a country highway, he is on his way to what I hope is a wonderful new adventure for him—college. He is approaching this adventure as he does all others, leaping in with both feet without looking both ways before crossing. In decades past, I was there to grab his little hand and make sure he didn’t rush into traffic. Now, as he rushes into what I can only call the traffic of “real life,” I hope he pauses every now and then.
I awoke my mop-headed youngest for breakfast. He sat at the table, still sleepy-eyed. And I was happy I still have one boy not yet a man. I can be content in the moment but look too far ahead and—oy. Who knows, right?
I see both of my sons take one step after another into their futures. It takes bravery, doesn’t it? For each of us to continue into an uncertain future, hoping for joy and goodness to be awaiting our arrival.
It hit me, as I reflected on a brand new year, that I may have been doing it all wrong for all these years. I have written about being raised to be perfect. Silly, unattainable standard but in my parents’ household, it was law. You know what that made me? Very good at very few things. Unless I had a natural talent for it, I wasn’t attempting it. Because rather than applause for my effort, I got heaps of criticism for my lack of prowess.
2019 seems a good year to continue to reverse that pattern. This year, I will aim for brave, not perfect. I will sing karaoke off-key, paint yet another awful still-life, perhaps run a very slow first 5K. Or not. The point is to go where the spirit moves me to go without worrying about how I look, how good the outcome is, what others think.
Brave in a quiet way. Not with bravado, arms waving and mouth going. Just doing my thing. In the moment—not too far ahead or lingering behind.
Funny, I have tried to raise my boys to value bravery versus perfection. I guess it’s time to truly absorb the lesson myself. Let’s put the lid on this one.
Happy 2019, friends. Wishing you a year filled with new adventures, victories, failures and all good things that make us grow. I will be here, in the moment and hopefully smiling, as I go. You too? Good. Keep me posted.