Friday, January 27, 2012

New Year's Resolution Update

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


Linda said...

I'm totally on the same page as you about trying new things every day. You end up living a richer life and the spontaneity and comments you get out of talking to strangers on the spur of the moment is very rewarding.
I've also had the lady bug experience many a time and it's so wonderful to come down to their level of 'thinking or living'.

I'm actually though one of the masses who just want to loose weight and cut costs this year.
After cutting down on my family's cell phone bill last year by moving on to a prepaid family plan from Tracfone we saved $1270 by December so we decided to go away one weekend every month to the Florida keys with the help of my phone savings.
- I also want to spend a romantic evening with just me and my husband once a week and leave my kids with their granny.

Unknown said...

Mmmm...lady bugs are magical, in my opinion. I just loved that story.

And I'm truly inspired by your initiative, Kate. A new thing every day?! Wow. My smiles in the knowing that I helped to be a catalyst for some of that new fun!

In an effort to give you some ideas or help spark some new ones, here's a list of a few new things that come to mind...use at your discretion:

* buy a stranger's coffee for them, or pay the next car's toll.
* try something new off a menu
* play a new game with Dave
* tell Dave something you've never said before
* connect with someone you haven't yet on FB (old high school friend or Aber)
* write about something you haven't written about before
* try a new teaching technique in class
* tune in to an inspiring talk radio show
* tune in to

Hope that gives you some ideas. Love ya tons!


Kate Evans said...

Love your list, Laural. Thanks!

Your roller-coastering-buddy, Kate :)

Holli said...

Ladybugs are supposed to be good luck so the fact that one hung out with you for awhile means you've got good comin' your way!

I love your new thing resolution... it's awesome!! I like to live this way as well. Every day I find something good in the day to appreciate and when I think something nice about someone (even strangers) I tell them as soon as I think it. I always say, why hold that in? Spread the love!

Collin Kelley said...

How Kate Got Her Groove Back. ;-)

I'm enjoying reading about your reemergence into the world. xo