Things I Can Give Up

It is the last day of 2015. It's monumental, I suppose, this 38th year of mine, a year full of change, turmoil and triumph, highs and lows, work and play... but it feels like a Monday. Like I have to get up and get stuff done as soon as possible. Maybe a night of heavy drinking will fix that.

I was researching the tradition of New Year resolutions for a story I am writing in the Silverado Express, and it was fascinating to see that the custom of using the beginning of the year to make changes, to repent and forgive, to purge and cleanse and start over, is almost universal, whether the new year celebration is on January first, on the Chinese lunar new year, or Rosh Hashanah. The underlying theme of new year resolutions is sacrifice - the giving up and letting go of anything that hinders us: grudges, bad habits, clutter... Even the sacrifice of pride that keeps us from owning our failures or forgiving the people who have hurt us, or giving up something we love for the greater good. This tradition is rooted in the Catholic tradition of Lent which requires church members to forego the eating of meat among other things for a period of time.

In the spirit of the season, I laid in bed for awhile pondering what sacrifices I would make this year (because it was a great excuse to lay in bed for awhile), at the beginning of 2016, to start the year off unencumbered and ready to get some shit done. So here is my list of things to give up. Things I don't need hanging off of me in 2016:

1. Ungratefulness - this is something that has come up for me again and again and again. I have so much to be thankful for, but I habitually resort to complaining about what I don't have. And it's ugly.

2. About 30 more pounds - which means leaving behind the bi-weekly habit of cheesy bread and beer. I am on the path... just a little more paring!

3. Anger at situations that I cannot change or control. I am pressing hard after a deep seated peace, knowing that I am exactly where I need to be to get me where I am going.

4. Worry about my growing-up kids that are no longer under "my protection." I need to trust them to the Arms of Someone more powerful than me.

5. Substituting things for people. I pacify loneliness by shopping, and all that results in is a whole lotta stuff and still nobody here to make me feel better. When the urge hits, I need to reach out to a friend or pick up a book. Hey - imaginary friends are better than credit card bills!

6. Fleas, lice, round worms, ringworm, and all other vermin. You are no longer welcome in this house. Find somewhere else to haunt.

7. Relationships that are false, shallow or lecherous. I don't need to be sucked dry anymore, and in the same token, I need to evaluate how I relate to others and always make sure that I am giving and honest.

8. Neediness: I have been given everything I need to be a whole person, without being dependent on someone else. I forget this every day.

9. Judgement - I have enough of my own failures to focus on without being distracted by the shortcomings of others.

10. Excuses: For the first time in years, I am virtually pain free. I am capable and I am willing. It's time to be the person that I want to be, without letting my laziness and apathy slow me down.


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