Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Happy New Year everyone! How am I always surprised at the arrival of New Year's? I mean, it's always a week after Christmas, and yet every year I'm surprised when it shows up. I think I maybe get so Christmas focused (especially gift making) that when I shake it off and emerge on the other side, I realize I haven't given New Year's a single thought. However, as a mom of a little one, we don't do all the much to celebrate. Sometimes we are awake for the big 12:00, sometimes not. Sometime we toast with something, sometimes not. It just doesn't factor as a big holiday anymore. This year I was thrilled to be heading over to Mom's for board games and dinner. We had a blast!
But then there's the other part of the New Year's tradition: the making of resolutions. Everyone asks if you're making them, and I've shied away from doing so for many years. This year, however, I'm actually making one. I am resolving to try to care less about what other people think. I know that sounds a little odd, so perhaps I'll explain.
I am not perfect. This is not shocking, since none of us are. But since I am not perfect, I make plenty of mistakes or choices that someone else might not agree with. And human nature means these things are pointed out to me. Often repeatedly. And then I obsess about making the wrong choices and get all stressed out about it which leads to more stuff that will be pointed out to me and stress me out and and and and ... you can see where this is going.
So, I either need to stop making any decisions that people will have problems with (impossible), or get people to stop commenting on my life (also impossible), or not care so much. I'm going to try not to care so much. It would be easier if it was people I didn't like, or bad advice, or something, but it's not. It's usually good advice from good people. But it's sometimes impossible to follow, goes against what I believe, or completely contradicts the other good advice I've gotten.
It's also over quite a range of topics. How we're raising Max is one. Every parent out there knows that from the moment you mention having a child you get a never-ending stream of advice from everyone in the world. If your friends and family don't have enough to say the media will gladly step in to boss you around. The same is true for diet, general health, wardrobe, career choices, financial decisions, etc.
For example, I am overweight. This is true. But this also seems to mean that I'm announcing to the world that I need nutritional advice. I'm really glad your vegan/raw/vegetarian/paleo/atkins/no-carbs/dairy-free/low-fat/gluten-free/organic/heart-friendly/free-range/etc diet works for you, but that doesn't mean it's the right choice for me. So I'll gladly listen to how great it's been for you (and really mean it when I say that's great), right up until you say "you should try it" and then I'll either wander off or change the subject.
And yes, Max sometimes talks back (he's 5), or whines (he's 5), or runs around going crazy (did I mention he's 5?), and I'm very happy that your child does none of those things, but that doesn't mean I need a lecture on what I'm doing wrong. He's a kid. A great kid actually, and if I need advice I'll ask.
Because here's the thing about all that advice: I have a tendency to hear it not as help, but as criticism. And that's a me thing. I know you're trying to show you care by offering all these ideas, but I mostly hear that you think I'm doing it wrong. Which hurts. Freinds and family, please don't feel like this is about you. It's not - it's about me. I love you guys, I just need to listen my inner voice more.
So my resolution is to try and let all that flow over me without taking it personally. We're all different and what works for some doesn't work for all. I'm just going to try to tune out of other people's words a bit, and tune into my own inner voice a bit more. I may not have all the answers, but I'm doing pretty good. We're all alive, happy, and healthy over here. So the best way to manage my stress going forward is to care less about those outside voices.
I think we could all stand to listen to ourselves a little more and the outside world a little less. And yes, I see the irony of me giving advice to listen to less advice. What can you do? Human nature again.
Love you all! Happiness in the New Year!