This morning I woke up to a thick blanket of snow covering the ground. It surprised me because we had a spell of warmish weather here over Christmas that melted just about everything. I expected to see green again today. The snow caught me off guard.
I guess it's fitting. This being New Year's Eve and all. The snow for some reason seems symbolic to me. Like it's covering up all the failures of the past year and making way for the new one ahead.
Why is it that January first is the day we always mark for "starting fresh"? The day we decide to change something we don't like about ourselves, or do something that will improve something in our lives. We may decide to lose weight (big one here.....notice all the TV ads lately?)...or exercise more....or keep a neater house.....or read our bibles more....or stop smoking....the list goes on an on.
So why is it we do it now? Does hanging up a new calendar make it somehow easier or more time worthy? Or is it because we know that everyone around is also trying to "do better" this year too? The accountability factor perhaps? Or has it just been easier to tell ourselves these past few weeks (months) that we'll start fresh then - instead of now.
I really don't know. I guess for me, New Year's Eve always brings a time of reflection. I think about the changes in my life in the past 12 months. What I've accomplished. What I haven't. Who got married.....who got divorced. Who moved away....who came back home. Who is no longer with us....
I'm a sap for nostalgia and I always get a little weepy as the big ball descends from it's perch in Times Square. Like I'm saying goodbye to a bit of my past. Not just turning another page in the proverbial book of life - but beginning a new chapter.
So what's going to be different for Lora this year? Sure....I want to lose weight. I want to exercise more. I want to keep a neater house. I want to read my bible more. But will I? Where does want meet will? For me - I've done what I always do. From Thanksgiving through Christmas I eat with abandon. I neglect all the things I said I'd do last year. I fall severely into the "I'll start January 1st" mode. From December 25th until the 31st I begin to think about my resolutions for the latest chapter in my life and always come up with several very nobles ones. I plot out my strategies and usually sail through the better part of January doing okay. And then - like most of us - I start to fall into the ruts of those old patterns that are carved so deeply into my psyche and all my noble intentions fall to the wayside.
So I've been thinking really hard all week. Why does this happen? Why can't I do this? And I've come to realize the paralyzing factor in my life. The ONE thing I really need to change that will hopefully make all the others fall into place.
And it's more than just the weight loss. It's my whole way of thinking. The way I've always lived my life. I put off unpleasant tasks. I've always told myself I work better under pressure but that's a cop out. It's the pressure due to the lack of time that makes me productive. But in the process I stress out and do less of a job than I probably would have.
In Lora's world, the bills are sailing through the postal system ON their due date - never before. Groceries are bought when something important runs out. Like coffee. Or toilet paper. Important papers for grad school are pounded away on the keyboard the night before they are due. I decide what I'm wearing to work while I'm in the shower. Laundry is done when I run out of underwear.
All of this causes stress. For me and those around me.
So why do I procrastinate? In my feeble mind do I think the problem or chore will somehow magically go away? What is more pressing that I can't do what needs to be done now instead of some other time? I wish I knew.
But there is one thing I do know. That if I continue to procrastinate - my life will continue to be stressful. I will continue to pay bills late....run out of coffee and toilet paper...agonize over papers that are due for weeks (instead of just doing them and being done with it)...scramble in the morning for something to wear and do laundry at midnight so I don't have to "go commando" in the morning.
So I only have one resolution for 2009. To stop procrastinating. Perhaps then, the rest of my life will fall into place. If I can teach myself how to "do instead of say," I may just succeed at some of the things I hope to accomplish in this new year.
How about all of you? What do you have planned for 2009? It's a brand new year! There's fresh snow on the ground (at least here) and the ball will drop from Times Square at midnight.
Whether we're ready or not. I'm ready! Are you?