January 1, 2009

A Resolve to Endure and Be Happy

December has to be the month with the highest peaks and lows of emotion. The pressure of the holidays and all that comes with them, from maintaining peace among family to staying on budget, and in my corner of the world driving in very inclement weather, can get the best of people. Even those who don't celebrate the season are inundated by it, and feel the desire to be with those they love, and sense the coming end of a year and a chance for a fresh start.

The fact that the most popular resolution for the new year is always "Lose Weight" tells us that we are so prone to focus on our dissatisfaction of our selves. Sure, goals are meant to improve our habits and benefit us in the long run, but if people were really devoted to them, authorities would report a higher success rate than 12%. It saddens me to think that so many people this time of year are self-deprecating, all at once, all over the world.

It's hard for us furry folk, as well. Among the challenges we share with others like losing weight or gaining weight, we have the additional bodily detail that makes us feel socially unacceptable. If you're like me, you know there's very little to be done about it than try to prevent it from getting you down, day after day after day. No wonder some of us feel like giving up. This time of year, especially, my heart goes out to you all.

I do have a question, though. Those men and women who resolved to drop those extra ten pounds for 2009, what kept them from realizing it sooner? I bet that extra slice of cake now and then, or ignoring the treadmill one night in favor of putting up their feet to watch a TV movie made them happy at the time. Now is the time of crash diets and mass deprivation. That's not fun. There's got to be a balance. We've gone most of the year liking ourselves enough to get by.

It's good to look forward, but not in despair of what we already are. I'd rather look back, on the simple pleasures that had no relation to the extra half hour I spend every morning shaving my face with the knowledge that it's something a woman shouldn't need to do. I remember successfully landing my first client this year. Enjoying my last college reading week and the luxury of sleeping in even for just a couple of hours. Trying on elaborate gowns with a member of the family who would soon be graduating high school. Emitting a girlish squeal every time an Amazon package arrived in the mail. Finding the time to curl up in the computer chair with a cup of tea and just write long into the dark. Plucking up the courage to try teeth whitening and being very gratified with the results. Receiving a degree I've been working for five years to get. Touching sting rays. Trying kayaking for the first time.

And so I find my optimism for the future. For example, I have plans to try parasailing in the immediate future, and revisit the experience of swimming with dolphins, something I haven't done for well over a decade. Yes, both activities and the entire setting of this vacation will require the wearing of bathing suits, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. We simply cannot let our fears about our looks prevent us from doing the things we want to do.

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