Wednesday, January 22, 2014

hello, january

(Also posted in my other blog,

The past several weeks have been full of stuff  for me, and since I've never considered blogging to be anywhere at the top of my list of priorities, all my blogs have been fairly silent through last December.  I hadn't made any heartwarming Christmassy posts, or thought-provoking New Year-related ones, tsk tsk.  It's still January though, and I reckon I can still blog about my thoughts on the start of the year.

I'm not a New Year's Resolution sort of person.  Never believed in resolutions.  I'm more into setting goals for myself, with specified target dates and target numbers. Having goals instead of resolutions, i.m.h.o., is more conducive to productivity and affords a sense of accomplishment when reached.  But ha ha, here I am this year with some resolutions instead of goals this time.

I've mostly set and reached similar goals every year (it's usually along the lines of Get x ministry rolling by y quarter of year, Read z number of books by December 31, Lose n pounds by m month), and though they are all good, life-enriching goals, I've gotten quite tired of them.  I usually have them written out  at the start of each year, but I haven't gotten to doing that just yet.  I probably will in the next few days, knowing that  my obsessive self will never forgive the lapse.  But in the meantime, I find myself having a of list things that seem more like silly resolutions.  Whaddyaknow.

 Those resolution thingies were sparked some wekends ago while I was having a late lunch/ early dinner with an old friend from high school.  As we were bound to do, we mused about our early teenage years and laughed about how old and ricketty we've become and yadda.  It was just a few days after Christmas, so we naturally went into our thoughts on how to make 2014 a better year.  One of the things we brought up was the fact that we're both just a few years to forty, and it's about time we invest in better quality stuff.  i.e., it's fine to wear a ratty top or tote a cheap bag when you're in your twenties, but when you still do it past thirty, it has a vibe of being irresponsible.  And it's just plain ugly.  Besides, why go for cheap, low-quality stuff when you can afford something better now? Go for well-made stuff, high-quality, the real deal.  It isn't just about comfort or excess; it has more to do with being respectable and responsible.

So anyway, we spewed out some good ideas that day so we decided to write things down (she in her smartphone, and I in my handy dandy, low-tech notepad).  This isn't the kind of thing I can easily write in goal form, so I settled with sticking to a resoltion-type to-do list. It kinda started out with getting better stuff (i.e., buy a smartphone), but things eventually rolled toward being a better person.  Such as, learning new skills, seeing new places, and basically leveling up as a human being - but that's just basic yearly stuff.  One of the more "special" things we agreed on is that we ought to become more visible to our godchilren, because yes, that's what respectable, responsible people do.

Margaret is my first-ever goddaughter.  I think she's graduating.
Her mom had her when she was quite young, now she makes us feel real old

I had my list pretty much down pat when I wnet home that evening, and I re-wrote it on a clean sheet of paper that I taped to my desk.  I thought my list ended at "Be a better godmother", but I added the most important thing a few days later.

At the bottom of my list, I had added Be A Blessing.  I'd like to try my best at purposely being a living, breathing, walking, talking, blessing. I know, Iknow, it's something that the Christianity Clause sort of implies.  But I've been following Christ for some time now, and I can't really say I consistently provide a positive experience for everyone I encounter.  Since I'm doing resolutions this year, I might as well have it in there.  Be someone who makes people feel blessed, loved, or just plain happy.  Because that's what respectable, responsible Christians do.

Oh dear, that's a lot of work.  I feel like scratching it out already.

The decisive moment came one afternoon, after an encounter with a particularly unpleasant cab driver.  I had reacted to his cantankerousness by going on b*tch-mode, pretty much ruining his day.  Other people would likely affirm  me by saying that the guy had it coming, but I'm pretty sure Jesus would tell me to turn the other cheek.  Tsk tsk.  Besides, they guy was a cab driver.  He's apparently less fortunate than I am; shame on me for not being more sympathetic toward a guy who's trying to make an honest living but is probably just on the 22nd straight hour of a bad day.

As I sat at home alone, I went into full-on remorse for being such a pathetic excuse for a social being. It's more or less socially acceptable these days to get all aggressive when someone offers you bad service (and it's even applauded in some circles), but being demanding is one thing, being b*tchy is a whole other. B*tchy doesn't really help anyone involved. It certainly didn't help the possibly-tired cab driver, and it didn't make me a better person.

Not immediately anyway.  But I hope to make something out of the remorse and the realizations that came after the experience.  Like what they say about life giving you lemons ...

So I resolved to Be A Blessing.  I'm not just talking about "doing random good deeds"; I mean more like "be less of a b8tch" and "be more intentionally refreshing". Ayown. It's not natural for me; it's the sort of thing I have to remind myself about.  It's always been easier for me to be a bitchessa than a blessing.  MUCH easier.  Believe me, I've tried my best, but at some point in the past several years, I decided to give up altogether because I'm just not good at being likable.  But being a blessing has less to do with being likable and more to do with what's doing right and proper.  I just want to be it because it's life-affirming, inspiring, nurturing; not just for myself but for the lives around me.

So this year, on top of acquiring better things for myself, I'm acquiring a better "blessing persona" - well-made stuff, high-quality, the real deal.  Because that's what respectable, responsible Christians do.   Why go for low-quality when you can afford better, right?