January 2, 2014

The Ubiquitous Resolution Post

Well, it's officially 2014 now.  New Year's and I aren't exactly bosom buddies, having been blessed with such fond memories such as pulling someone out of a freezing river, having my heat go out with no one to fix it, and children with projectile vomiting.  I figure it's the Universe's way of saying, "Welp, it can only go up from here, right?"  So when I woke up the morning of New Year's Eve, I was not surprised to find my throat sore and my nose stuffed up.  The pressure in my head continued to build throughout the day until the ball finally dropped, my eyes watering and my head pounding as I suffered through commentary by Carson Daly (truth be told, it's possible that his horrifically dull personality had brought on those...hard to tell, really).  Happy New Year's, y'all!  Pass the Zicam...

But in between Kleenex runs I did have a little time to ponder my resolutions for the new year.  Diets are out, since I have the willpower of our lab mutt when someone drops a piece of bacon on the floor.  I could learn a new language, but I am already fluent in English and toddler, and I know enough Spanish and Italian to ask where the bathroom is and that's probably all I'd retain anyhow.  I should read more, I should paint more, I should exercise more, I should clean more, I should cook more, I should play with the kids more, I should sleep more...there are so many things I need to do more of.  But still, that's not where my resolution lies.

My thoughts went back to the day after Christmas.  I, unfortunately, had to be one of *those* people in the return lines thanks to a shirt miscalculation I had made for my husband.  Upon first glance, the line at Kohl's was like looking up from the base of Mount Everest but to their credit, Kohl's was pushing through those returns at a furious pace.  Everyone, that is, except for a mother-daughter duo who both had their faces contorted into the same hideous scowl and were screeching at the miraculously well-composed customer service rep behind the counter.  Their tone seemed to imply that this Kohl's rep had personally murdered someone in their family, but I arrived at the summit just in time to hear Scowly Mom hiss "Would you just shut up and listen?" followed by Scowly Daughter saying "You need to retrain your employees!".  Turns out, the pair were upset that they were being issued a gift card rather than cash and were livid that the cashier had not informed them of this upon checkout (because, you know, retail employees generally have oodles of free time near Christmas and should somehow anticipate that you don't actually want to keep whatever trinket it is that you purchased...).  I wish I had the power to give out Emmy awards because this rep delivered such a magnificent performance when I know that, inside, she just wanted to high five them in the face.  This scene was such a stark contrast to the week prior, when everyone was full of love and laughter - excited for Christmas, delighting in their gift choices and Rum Chata.  There were stories of strangers helping people out to their cars with their Christmas treasures, of lay aways being paid in full as if Kmart actually had Santa Claus on speed dial, of 5-digit checks landing in the Salvation army kettles, of thousands of people showing up to sing Christmas carols to a little girl with cancer.  And then, bam, the day after Christmas and we are fighting over clearance items and screaming at innocent store employees.  What sort of weird black Christmas void have we created that in a matter of only a couple days we go from wanting to reach out a hand to help our neighbors to wanting to push them into the hole and then fill it with dirt?

My 2014 resolution is this:  I want to spend the entire year as if it were Christmas.  Not just a few weeks, not just after I've eaten turkey, but all 365 days.  I want my year to be filled with that warmth, laughter, goodness and generosity that - for some odd reason - we usually only see around the holidays.  I do not have the money to change someone's life, but I have my words.  I have my actions.  And perhaps most importantly, I have two very impressionable young people watching me and learning from me.  Cheesy?  Yes, Wisconsin-quality I'm sure.  But I would rather be cheesy than be that ugly customonster at Kohl's.  Offering kindness is not a seasonal thing, it should be a daily thing.  Each day I get, each person I interact with, I want to try to see them all as Christmas gifts given to me to fill some need that I may not have even known I had.  Sure, I could just shove them in a closet and forget about them, but I could also smile and interact with them, and enjoy them for whatever unique thing that they are.  It's going to be hard on days like today, when my nose is running like Niagara Falls and it's possible I might get mistaken for an extra on The Walking Dead - but I'm going to try.

Wishing you the happiest, cheesiest, and most Christmas-filled year ever!

UPDATE:  I went to the store the way the other day, armed with my resolution.  Let me tell you, you would be amazed at how differently you are treated when you carry a smile on your face.  But I had an experience that showed me I'm on the right path.  The checkout lines were so long, and the best I could do was to get in behind two giant mounding carts and wait patiently.  Anyone who knows me knows that patience is not one of my strong suits, but I smiled anyway.  A woman got in line behind me with her own giant cart and she let out an exasperated sigh.  I made a joke about how I had hoped to be home before 2015 and she smiled.  We chatted while we waited, friendly small talk.  As I finally got to the check out, someone this woman knew snuck in and started talking to her.  The woman I had been chatting with told her friend that her dad was just admitted to the hospital in Iowa City with a mass in his l lung and she was there stocking up her fridge for her kids so she could spend the weekend with him there (yes, I eavesdropped, hard not to do when you're crammed in a tiny aisle together...).  As I finished checking out, she stopped talking to her friend and turned to me and said "Happy New Year!" and smiled.  I wished her the same.

You never know what struggles people are going through.  Be kind, take in these gifts.  Be the smile that breaks up someone's stressful day.  I can't say I've ever left Walmart feeling happy and encouraged before, but I did that time!

1 comment:

  1. I have 100% confidence that you will succeed with your resolution. In fact, I am willing to bet that you will go above & beyond what you are even expecting from yourself.


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