Saturday, January 18, 2014

Informally Resolved: Start with Gratitude and Inspiration

In case it wasn’t patently obvious, I am not a big believer in New Year’s Resolutions. Mostly I just can’t be bothered: formalizing something in a resolution requires so much effort…and then it’s so guilt-inducing.  I do appreciate all the people around me making them though, because a) it gives me lots of ideas for what to give up for Lent and b) it makes the gym cheaper.There are a lot of regular gym-goers out there who really hate the beginning of January because all these “new people” show up at the gym and the gym gets really crowded for a bit. Some regulars even get huffy about it. They resent the crowded locker rooms, the lines for classes, and the wait for their favorite step-master.  I say, bring ‘em on. I like to point out to my fellow regulars that we can afford to go to the gym because of all those people. The gym pricing is absolutely predicated on the fact that many, many people will sign up who can’t go. If they all really did come, then we’d have to have a much, much bigger gym. Meaning bigger fees for everyone.  So “they” are actually doing us a favor.
Which brings me to what I am starting my year with: gratitude and inspiration. I am not a positive outlook person by nature: I am a New Yorker. And positive people annoy me (far too) easily. But I like happy people and I want to be one, too. So when I think about optimism and pessimism and the whole “glass half full or half empty,” I prefer to sidestep the whole thing altogether. Because (typical of our American empiricist bias), the half-full/ hall-empty question ignores a much bigger issue. Namely:  how did the glass get there? If I didn’t put the glass there, much less fill it with anything, it is simply absurd for me to feel anything but gratitude for the glass’s existence. And if, by miraculous serendipity, I also happen to be thirsty and there is water in this mysterious glass, that is even better.  Far too easily, we forget that the very existence of things, and people, is something to be deeply grateful for.  That is something I want to start my year with.
As for inspiration, that has to come from someplace else. Inspired by Jen Fulwiler’s Conversion Diary blog, I decided to choose at random, and see what I came up with.
a) a Saint for the Year (with the random saint generator Jen devised:  –I got Saint Patrick.  Patron, among other things, of excluded people…
b) a Song for the year: I turned on the radio on New Year’s Day and the first song I got was  Mumford and Sons  cover of “The Boxer.” Eerily appropriate.
c) a Bible passage for the year: again, chosen at random, I opened to a passage of Revelation. (Did I mention that Revelation scares me? Fortunately, the passage itself (Rev 19: 6-9) doesn’t). Still haven’t figured it out. But I figure I have the rest of 2014 to understand it…

No comments:

Post a Comment