The thing about New Year’s Resolutions is that so often they are “pie crust” promises, as Mary Poppins would say, “easily made, easily broken.” I’ll admit it, I have made a few pie crust promises this year, as I always do, but I have also asked myself: “What would make me feel like I am working on becoming a better version of myself?” On the surface, my answer is so simple: fully embrace joy. However, underneath the surface of this resolution, it gets pretty complicated for me.
Like many of you, I often feel so blessed and lucky for my life. It’s not perfect, but when I think about my career, family, home-life, health, and circle of loved ones, sometimes I can’t help but feel overwhelmed with a lot of worry. I worry that I may not “deserve” all this good stuff and all of the these great people. I fear that at a blink of an eye it may all disappear. I often feel guilty just knowing that others are going through hard challenges like loneliness, loss, serious health struggles, unemployment, prejudice, and the list goes on and on and on.
This empathetic feeling I have for others, and my constant feeling of what if, often interrupts and impairs my own joy. Not wanting to be ungrateful for my blessings, I often temper my sheer joy, excitement, and glee with a drop or two of a negative thought in attempt to stay ready for any unannounced disappointment. In my younger years, I would have described this practice as a preventative measure, a simple formula to not “jinx” myself. But it gets me wondering: over the years, how many experiences have I had without fully embracing joy?
Looking back on this now, it seems like a lot of wasted negative thinking. All of it slowly accumulating to a subtle, but personally noticeable weight on my energy. What some might even call a heavy heart.
Considering that I feel happy most of the time, and generally optimistic every day, it makes me wonder how much lighter I could feel if I could just let go of this self-inflicted burden. I think I am finally ready to take the weight off my shoulders. Why not practice joy this year? Without fear of “repercussions”? No longer buying into the idea that embracing sheer joy means I am somehow ungrateful for what I have or that I am naive about all of the troubles that could be. Instead I am going to do my best to embrace the now. Just joy. And gratefulness. And light.
Cheers to 2016!