Growing Just A Little

No more New Year’s resolutions for me…

January 1st is a holiday and the year’s starting point because we humans have designated it so. Calendars are a human invention, as are holidays, day names, and the months.

Sydney. Fireworks Newyear 2006. Opera House an...

Sydney. Fireworks Newyear 2006. Opera House and Harbour. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Still, I recognize the psychological significance New Year’s Day possesses. It starts the year and that’s a lofty position. It’s no wonder we feel moved to proclaim equally lofty resolutions.

Oh, I have goals, of course, but for this post my definition is tasks to be completed. Create a map. Complete an edit. Clean the house.

For the purposes of this post a resolution is about enacting profound change, especially in oneself.

Okay, now we’re on the same page.

When you think about it January 1st serves many purposes besides its role as the lead day for the year.

  • For some it separates over-indulgence and sobriety.
  • It separates year-end excitement and the return to the daily routine.
  • It’s the bridge between rash resolutions as midnight approaches and reality’s return.
  • In the U.S. it divides the holiday season from “another long winter.”
  • It separates the hectic holidays and life slowing down.
  • This year it even separated the week.
  • Some might say it represents the change from giving—to taking…

In other words, January 1st is a bridge for many natural changes, so I guess it’s natural to want it to be a bridge for self-improvement. You get to be one way all year, step over a short bridge, and you’re a whole new you!

It never worked for me.

I’d try to enact change that was too sudden, too drastic, and too difficult to remember. Whoops. Oh well, there’s always next year.

And next year.

And next year…

Sadly, I abandoned resolutions in favor of languishing: “I don’t do resolutions.” “Oh, really, what do you do?” “I don’t do anything.”


No growth.

Now, though, I don’t do resolutions because I’m a perpetual work in progress. I can learn and grow anytime of year. Too, goodwill during the holidays continues to January 2nd and beyond.

One goal I had was starting this blog. Here it is, and thank you for joining me.

One element of self-improvement that I’ve pursued is forgiveness.

As some may know and others suspect, my childhood was a dark time. Several years ago in an effort to move on I forgave my father. It was an act on my part made all the easier because no one knew where he was for certain.

Last November I learned his location and had to face the truth of my sincerity.

I could have left things as they were, of course, but circumstances led me to believe that I could take my forgiveness a step further.



I sent him a card telling him I’d call and on Christmas Day did call. We talked for 75 minutes. On December 26th I visited him for four hours, our first contact in 36 years. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I grew a little. He grew a little.

I move on now with him once again a part of my life. I move towards new goals like driving to Missoula next week. I seek to control the anxiety that tries to wrap me in its coils still. I’ve no regrets about the decision I made in 1977. The darkness of that time was consuming me and I don’t believe I’d have survived if I’d done differently.

There’s another step…no regrets.


Regret (Photo credit: Celestine Chua)

In our meeting there was no anger, no accusations, and no recriminations. It wasn’t perfect, but it was enough for the both of us.

The woman I’ve become, who battled for years to shed her personal darkness, found the strength to help heal us both.

Every day is an opportunity to grow and in my life I’ve allowed too many opportunities to go untried. No regrets, though. All the days ahead are more opportunities.

My desire to grow isn’t a goal, nor is it a resolution, it’s simply a part of who I am.

I’m a perpetual work in progress and for that I’m thankful.

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