Monday, January 4, 2016

New year's resolution: Be kinder

It's that time of year again when we all start thinking about making new year resolutions. I tend to do it myself, limiting myself to what I consider achievable goals, like keeping fit and eating healthily. I'm all gung ho about it the first couple of months too, only to slide into complacency midway through the year. Then around comes another new year, and I'm scratching my head trying to remember what resolutions I made and whether I kept them.

This year, I'm only limiting myself to one resolution. It's totally doable, and something that I should really be doing without thinking too much about it. It's simply to be kinder. To myself and to others around me.

If I were to be really honest, I have to admit that I'm a pretty hard person, on myself as well as others. I'm a stickler for rules and hate to veer away from them. In my advancing age, I'm pretty set in my ways and  don't like my routine upset. I also hate failure and come down really hard on myself if I don't achieve what I set out to do.

In my professional life, where it was imperative to be creative and outstanding, these exacting standards took its toll. I would worry myself sick that my work wasn't good enough or if I failed to deliver on a project. Everything was a mad rush and I had to carve up chunks of time for specific tasks, like getting to the gym before sunrise so that I could complete my exercise routine. I would then gulp down breakfast just to get to work bright and early.

Ever since I quit a full-time career, I've learned to ease up and not let work rule my life. Breakfast is a leisurely affair, with time even for a second cup of coffee while I check on emails and the news. I try to get in some exercise in the morning, but don't beat myself up if I miss a session.

I used to be someone who was always in a rush and I hated dawdling. I would walk really fast everywhere I went. I would be the one at the traffic lights, counting the seconds and waiting impatiently for the light to turn green so that I could be the first car to speed away. I hated other cars cutting into my lane as well.

Now I have to tell myself that first of all, my body can't move so quickly anymore. My balance is a little off and I've almost fallen a few times because I was in a rush and missed my footing. So I'm learning to slow down and listen to my body.  I'm also trying to be more aware when I'm driving. I'm still counting down the seconds at the lights but I try not to fume at other drivers who are inconsiderate. I even slow down and let other cars cut in. There's a road I take ever so often that goes past a hospital. When I see cars trying to turn in or out of the hospital, I'll stop for them. It actually feels good when the other driver gives me a wave of appreciation!

And who am I to cast judgement on others because they have a different outlook? I should constantly remind myself that people just want to be valued for who they are, understood for where they are from and what their lives are all about.
I'm ever so conscious now of turning into a grumpy old lady that nobody wants to be around. So I've told everyone I know to let me know if I'm behaving badly. Perhaps it's old age that a lot of us think we know it all, but on the other side of the coin,  it's no fun being told off and nobody likes it. I don't want to be that old lady that tells everyone off, whose company others merely tolerate rather than enjoy. It doesn't cost me anything to be nice, appreciative and yup, even kind. I'll look back on this post in a year's time, and hopefully discover that this is one resolution that I've kept!

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