A ladybug hitched a ride on me this morning. Bike riding along a path, I saw the glossy red bug standing out in relief against my black tights. I was about ready to flick her off when I thought about my New Year's Resolution to do something new every day. I decided my new thing today would be to enjoy the hitchhiking insect, curious about how long she'd hang on.
Every few minutes I glanced down and saw her still there. Each time I looked she was in a slightly different spot. I wondered what it felt like to be her--to be speeding along with me, inching around, gathering information in whatever way ladybugs do: sound? sight? smell? vibration?
Miles later, I had left the remote trail and entered an area with more concrete and cars. I worried she might get squashed if she fell off, or flew off, and couldn't find some flora to land on. So I stopped my bike and put my finger near her. As though understanding my digit was her taxi, she climbed on and I placed her on someone's lawn, near a tree.
This New Year's resolution is assisting me in being more aware, more in the moment. This is because I question what might have been a reflex, an unthinking decision. It's fun to freshen my instincts and insights. Here are a few of the other new-to-me things I've done. Some of them were things I deliberately did differently. Other are things I stumbled across:
* While on a walk, Dave and I discovered a ukulele group playing in a park. There must have been 100 people playing or just hanging out. They were playing "Let it Be" when we arrived, which activated my goosebumps immediately. We hung out and sang with them through a succession of songs, enjoying the great community vibe. Kids played on the periphery, dogs hung out with some of the players, people played mostly ukuleles but some had other instruments. We have since discovered they regularly play Saturday mornings at the beach. It's now our Saturday "church."
* Sometimes my new thing is taking a different route on my walk or bike ride. There's always a little surprise when I do this--an interesting house to see, a different view of the beach, a cute dog or child that seems to be there just for me.
* Sometimes my new thing is saying something nice to someone instead of only thinking it. The other day I as I walked, I enjoyed looking at the lovely, long, full, reddish hair of the three women in front of me who were walking and talking together. When I passed them I turned to them and said, "Are you three related?" They smiled and said yes. I said, "I thought so. You three all have amazing hair." They laughed appreciatively.
* I'm trying new things, like a new brand of yogurt, a new coffee place, a new granola bar. I don't always love what I try, but I'm often glad I did--just for the experience. I'm realizing that when people suggest I try a new restaurant, food or activity instead of thinking, "Hm, will it be as good as [whatever I'm used to]?"--I think "Oh good, that will be my new thing for the day!"
* Dave and I played frisbee on the beach and loved it so much that when we had friends visit we enthusiastically offered that as an activity. We created a new game that involved two frisbees and a tennis ball--so much fun!
* When someone with whom I find it difficult to communicate reacted in a negative way to something I'd done, instead of reacting, justifying, explaining, or otherwise trying to change that person's mind so they'd see me as "good"--I just let it go. I resisted the urge to call ten people who I knew would sympathize with me and find me "right." Okay, I called two--but not ten! And I didn't dwell on details in those conversations. The discussions were quick and light, and helped me move from specifics to a more general space of well-being.
I'm looking forward to seeing what the next few months bring. Will I really be able to pull of doing something new every day for twelve months? Well, I'm not creating any rules for myself. I'm just going to do what's fun and feels right for me.
Here are a few resolutions I found that others made. Each one resonates with me in its own way:
I formed a resolution to never write a word I did not want to write; to think only of my own tastes and ideals... --C. S. Forester
If you asked me for my New Year Resolution, it would be to find out who I am. --Cyril Cusack
I have no way of knowing how people really feel, but the vast majority of those I meet couldn't be nicer. Every once in a while someone barks at me. My New Year's resolution is not to bark back. --Tucker Carlson