By Carol Rood
In my younger days I used to make New Year’s resolutions. Things like: lose 10 pounds, quit smoking, save money, etc. These resolutions oftentimes were never reached, and maybe not even started. I may have quit smoking for a day, but was not able to quit for good. I exercised some, but never met my weight loss goal.
Somewhere along the way I stopped making them because to make them and then not keep them just made me feel like a failure. I don’t like feeling like a failure. There have been so many mistakes I have made in my life completely by accident or because I didn’t have the experience or knowledge to know differently. Some of these mistakes were unavoidable, but many of them I look back, and think , “Carol, you were so stupid…”. Since that is the case, and I can look back and see the mistakes for the stupidity they were, it doesn’t make sense for me to deliberately try to set myself up to look back and feel stupid.
I have been told that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. For me, New Year’s Resolutions fall into that same category. Making lists of things to accomplish or do, knowing historically that I don’t keep them, and continuing to do it? That seems insane to me.
So instead of making resolutions I just try to live as “right” as I can. I do my best to give to others who are in need, stick up for those who need to be stuck up for. Although to be honest, making comments about my feelings on feminism and racism, and all the other isms has caused many a fight on Social Media.
Would you believe there are still people out there who don’t think America is a racist country??? Or who believe that there is no wage gap between men and women. I actually had someone tell me that women and men get paid the same….well, yes that is true, if they are civil service workers, or federal employees who all get paid the same no matter their sex. But for the private industry, that is not the case. I am always astounded when someone says, “White people aren’t privileged…I am white and I was poor growing up…..” Ummmm, that is not what white privilege means…..But that is a post for another day….today I am talking about New Year’s Resolutions.
Last year I gifted people with food, and clothing, I donated quite a few boxes of food to a local food bank. I donated bags and bags of clothing and household items to the local Disabled Veterans group. I donated a bike for a needy family at Christmas. I loaned a lovely family money when they needed help. I paid for people’s coffee, tolls, and groceries on more than one occasion. I bought a book for a classmate who is young, and working and paying her way through college. When she said she would pay me back, I told her not to, but instead to help someone else out when she was in a financial position to do so. I “paid it forward” many, many times.
I don’t tell you these things because I want adulation, or congratulations. I say these things to emphasize that if we all live our lives “right”, and help our fellow human beings when we can, that is better than a million resolutions to lose weight or quit smoking. Just think what this world would be like if we all resolved to do for others as we could instead of only doing for ourselves.
Understandably, not everyone has the financial resources to give money or goods, but I’ll bet you could give your time. To Habitat for Humanity, or working at the Food Bank, or babysitting for a young mom so she can go shopping without kids, or go to a job interview, or donate nice clothes that you no longer wear so a veteran can look nice for a job interview.
So I challenge you all to NOT make New Year’s Resolutions this year, but instead resolve to live a life filled with compassion and love for your fellow human beings. I challenge you to help others when you can with your financial resources, or time, or food. I challenge you to “pay it forward”, and buy a cup of coffee for the person behind you in line, or pay the toll for the person behind you on the highway. Challenge others to do the same….what a difference we could make!
Photo Credit: Flickr member Kate Ter Haar
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Originally published on The Seattle Lesbian
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