Many are making New Year’s Resolutions today, January 1, 2017. Because, rules (and resolutions) are meant for breaking. Right?
Some others are choosing ONE WORD that will define their year. As if one single word can sum up the whole glorious train wreck that is our life.
Some are planning their next expenditure on their wardrobes … or the newest technological toy that they must have. Spending money they don’t have in their bank accounts … yet. Because they deserve it right?
Some are eating like there is no tomorrow. And like their wardrobe magically expands to fit … one size fits all? Because I’ll start to run or work out or diet tomorrow. Right?
And who can own too many books? Right?
Why do we do this to ourselves? I’ve done it so I think I have some insight.
We do it because deep down we are wired to be afraid.
Yes, we are.
We have no choice. Our ancestors were wired to be hyperalert and afraid too. If they weren’t they wouldn’t have been our ancestors because that long ago you were either afraid or you were dinner.
What we do have choice over is whether to believe that we MUST BE afraid. We must feel the fear, admit that it is there.
Then we must examine what we are afraid of. Realistically speaking, there are no sabre tooth tigers just around the next corner.
We live in a safe world. Safer than the media and many politicians would like us to believe. Not to say there are no dangers, but we can face that too.
Certainly, anyone in retail wants us to be afraid. Why else Black Fridays? Why else a whole week of Black Fridays? Or Boxing Week sales? We need to get a little cynical and less afraid and gullible.
Fear is the underlying emotion for what we do. Yet, I think we need to look at the broader picture. What is the fear about?
Perhaps, I can propose one reason, or maybe two.
Fear that we won’t fit in.
That we will be called out … like Joseph Boyden. (http://www.canadalandshow.com/question-joseph-boydens-indigenous-ancestry/) That we will be viewed as an “outsider”. Or in some cases, that once the “outsider” position becomes favourable we will need to switch our identities to that so as to fit in.
I can’t count the people who express surprise, near shock, that we don’t own a television.
And next year, when we do, we won’t be watching cable, or any sitcoms or “normal” television programming. We do like Netflix; we pay a small fee for the privilege, but I don’t have to listen to commercials that try to chip away at my identity and self-esteem, so it’s a bargain.
Facebook also presents us with that fear. Like if you agree. Blah blah blah. Did you see what these women are doing to protest? No, and I won’t be out demonstrating against The Donald, not because I agree with who/what he is (as if I could really know that), but because I have better, more positive, things to do with my time.
So, either age or financial status has saved me from the first “fear”.
And the second fear is rooted in the socially addictive “scarcity principle” … fear that we don’t have enough is just another way of saying we are not DOING, BEING, LIVING enough. We believe or buy the hype that if we don’t HAVE enough, we ARE NOT enough. It was blatantly obvious in high school. Can you remember that far back?
If you didn’t have the exact right brand … not enough. Whatever label your generation pasted on it, that is what it boiled down to.
I had to wear Adler’s wool crew socks and Keds canvas runners. Had to shop in Detroit to find them too. Really. The socks always got thrown in the washer and I ended up with yellow socks, but they were cool.
But that didn’t make me cool. I was still on the fringes of the cool crowd. I didn’t have enough cool stuff – socks and runners are just tiny tokens in the coolness game.
Things have changed over time. Not for teens. Not for many. Many adults hop on bandwagons and then question their actions after they find out more, or the truth. I’m a little slower off the mark and I think that may just be a good thing.
I now believe I am enough. Just as I am. And I am very uncool.
And that’s why I choose to work on continually improving myself.
Not to fit in. Not to be cool. That is so ludicrous an idea that I shouldn’t even mention it. No, that will never happen. I don’t even know who or what crowd I would aspire to fit in to.
But because I am enough, I can always get better. I can draw every day so my drawing skills will improve. I can write every day so my writing skills will sharpen. I can spend some time every day preparing and eating nutritious foods so that I will stay healthy. I can spend time every day doing yoga, walking outside, doing my “farmer’s walks” up and down the stairs to build up my skeletal structure. And I can smile more. Complain less. I do these things because it removes the cognitive dissonance from my life. It feels more like me to do these things rather than some fake me that is popular or perceived as cool.
Are you enough? Yup.
Can you stand to improve a little?
Only you can answer that. But I have a sneaking suspicion that you could.
How is now the question. What will you focus on in 2017 that will make you feel more like you?