Updated: Aug 29
What really makes one year more memorable than the past? Transitions, I think.
I remember the summer of 1964 as the year I lost two pair of flip flops in the molten tar that crisscrossed the residential streets in our neighborhood, requiring that I weave barefoot between cool grassy spots and searing sidewalks before making it home to douse my poor feet under the water hydrant. It's also the year I learned to ride a bicycle, opening the world to adventures.
When I resigned my position as vice-president with a large Cincinnati firm in 2007 and moved to NW Arkansas, I fully intended to retire. No more meetings. No more cell phones. No more stress.
The first month, I busied myself unpacking, finding the grocery store, and finding myself in the community. Interestingly enough, I found that I didn't have a place in this community. Our children were grown and gone with families of their own, and so no reason to introduce myself to a new set of teachers or buy school supplies and gym shoes.
We don't belong to a church or synagogue and so no reason to be anywhere in specific on weekends.
No morning meetings to attend. No pies to bake or faces to wash. No purpose.
I hadn't counted on that.
The funny thing about transitions is that they're unnatural breaks in routine. As much as I'd planned for the leaking pipes, slipped project plans, missed homework, or a reorganization that sent me scrambling for contract coverage, I'd not considered managing a move from something broken to fix, to finding purpose in just being me.
I'd like to say that after twelve years here, I've figured this out. But that's not true.
So this morning I find myself looking square in the face of another year and wondering what I'll make of it.
Early on, a friend suggested that I create a "vision board" to help me craft the life I want.
It's nice, but rather than being strategic, it's a good reminder of what I already have and so rather than a "vision board" it's more of a "thanks board."
I do keep a white board in the garage listing things to fix. My saint of a husband tolerates my need to organize with humor. He gets to set the priorities.
This morning's social media is awash with wishes for a happy new year and questions about my New Year's resolution. My resolution?
I already have the project board in the garage. And, I still have the vision board over my desk in the library. So I Googled "resolution" to see what the internet deities have to offer.
/ˌrezəˈlo͞oSH(ə)n/ noun a firm decision to do or not to do something. "she kept her resolution not to see Anne any more" synonyms: intention, resolve, decision, intent, aim, plan; More the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter. "the peaceful resolution of all disputes" synonyms: solution to, answer to, end to, ending to, settlement of, conclusion to" a satisfactory resolution of the problem"
It explains a lot. Resolutions are actions: do this, get a check mark. Done. Then what?
And so I Googled "resolute."
/ˈrezəˌl(y)o͞ot/ adjective admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering. "she was resolute and unswerving"
synonyms: determined, purposeful, resolved, adamant, single-minded, firm, unswerving, unwavering, steadfast, staunch, stalwart, unfaltering, unhesitating, persistent, indefatigable, tenacious, strong-willed, unshakable; stubborn, dogged, obstinate, obdurate, inflexible, intransigent, implacable, unyielding, unrelenting; spirited, brave, bold, courageous, plucky, indomitable; informal: gutsy, gutty, spunky, feisty; formal: pertinacious "he had been an early and resolute opponent of fascism"
There it was: purposeful--having or showing determination or resolve.
Transitions are tough. As we move from one year into the next, from one job or city, or from one stage of life into the next, perhaps the key is to be kinder to ourselves. We're not always going to achieve goals we set for ourselves, our families, or our communities, but we can take pride in our purpose.
To be admirably determined and unwavering in our convictions.
To be steadfast and committed in our relationships.
To be courageous, spirited, and resolute at work, at home, and in all that we do.
Wishing you all a very smooth transition; Happy New Year.