Sunday, January 12, 2014

Noncommutative* New Year

An hour.
A day.
A week.
A year.

All are just a way of marking time.

I've been pondering the practice of setting new year resolutions. The measurement of years is nice because we are able to take note of how old we are. It can also be nice when we see our investments of time show forth greater quality and value.

What I don't understand is why people in general feel like the turning of a new year demands new beginnings or new behaviors. Well, no... I do understand. It's like saying I've got to get back to going to the gym, but I need to start on a Monday. I know why I do this. It's so that the measurement of this beginning can be fit into a nice, neat schedule. I have finally let go of this restriction because I realized that I am only shortchanging myself.

I am here to tell you, you do not need a Monday, or a new year to make a new beginning. I also want to give a friendly reminder that we, each of us, do not know how much time we have left here in mortality. A person with the healthiest of eating habits and active lifestyles is not guaranteed to live any longer than a person who's been smoking for 40 years while sitting behind his desk each day.

Some time in the next 24 hours will be the anniversary of my birth into mortality. Forty-one years. My mother died at the age of 44. Forty-four! If that were to be my age of departure, I'd only have three years left. The closer I get to that age, the more fragile mortality feels to me, and the more dear my time with family.

I have let go of many status quos because they seek to steal away my time for endeavors that have little or no lasting value beyond this time on earth. I want my children and husband to be able to confidently look back on their years in my home and know that I did my very best for them; that I made time with them a major priority. Not just any kind of time either, but quality time. I know that the definition of quality time differs for everyone.

I also know that I am not the same mother today that I was 23 years ago, 11 years ago, or even 5 years ago. I am sorry for this. Very sorry. For my older children will not understand this natural evolution as a parent until they are looking back on the decades of their lives, and human nature insists that they ask why. Why wasn't I more involved in their lives? Why wasn't I more patient and understanding?

Why is not a bad question. I have learned tons using the question why. But... why is most helpful when we are honest with ourselves and more forgiving of the fact that humans are humans are humans. I am no more immune to it than anyone else.

Honesty with ourselves and forgiving human weakness is how we get past the fear of making a new beginning ANY time of year. It's how we decide that we have some behaviors that should change.

Then, it's a day.
It's a week.
It's a month.
It's a year.

*In mathematics, a binary operation is commutative if changing the order of the operands does not change the result.

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