Sunday, December 28, 2008

First Things First

I have decided to do a review of the resolutions that I have made over the past couple of decades. It is interesting to me to see the changing of resolutions as time passed and priorities changed in my life. I had to do a bit of work to find resolutions from the past, but I found the goldmine of my journals that I have saved and a couple of years ago brought them all together into a single box along with a few other keepsakes. I guess I should have it in something a bit more special than that, but at least they are together. Would you believe that when looking through my journals January had the most frequent entries over the years? I hope you can hear the tone of sarcasm clearly enunciated. There is something about the fresh start that a new year brings, so I should not be surprised to find I have almost always made a resolution and I almost always documented it. The first day of the first month of the year was the day that I started on many new journeys of growth. There are a few years that are missing documentation, but for the most part I found dozens of resolutions. There were some years when the resolution was the same as the year or two previous and some years there were resolutions made into multiple parts of my life. Spiritual, family, health, and organization are some general themes that have repeated through the years. And I know that some resolutions were made at times other than New Year, or I jumped in a bit earlier as I wanted to start during my break in late December.

The next most frequent time for me to record in my journals was in the spring. I usually still had the resolution I made on my mind at that time, but I would either be making excuses as to why they were not being fulfilled or I would be recording checklists at how far I had progressed to meet my goals. Some goals were multiple years worth of steps, and some were expected to be changes that were made immediately and continued forever. Some resolutions took several running starts and some just crashed and burned with little hope beyond the first week or two. Life simply takes over and the resolution sometimes fizzles out despite the early enthusiasm or promise that my life or soul would be improved by the change.

So now to reflect again on my most successful and life changing resolutions.There is no other habit that brings a better sense of starting my day than making my bed each morning. If the rest of the house is a bit cluttered, then the bed being made neatly with pillows piled and bedspread smooth across the plane of our king-sized furniture brings hope that the rest of the tasks I need to do can fall in place soon. The idea is that I can have peace and feel productive all with one act that at most takes a couple of minutes of my time. It also sets the day's momentum. The day's routine has began and I have crossed this task off the list with an effort that makes me feel like I am disciplined and in control of the day.

There is an unsettled feeling for me if I am walking out the door with the bed left unmade. It happens because someone else is still there, which is a phenomena at our house from time to time, but I still do not like it. More often than not, if I walk out the door with the bed unmade then I return home to the unkempt room with an overwhelmed feeling. This is just not right. I have made the bed at 5:30 or 6 p.m. before just to get the peace that it brings.

Since the day over thirteen years ago when we moved into our brand new home and I resolved to take on this task daily (December 8th, 1995) I walk into my bedroom, and there is order and beauty that comes with having everything in its place, including pillows, sheets and bedspreads. Yes there have been days over the years when the habit was left undone, but through reflection I discovered it is very little effort for a big mental payoff. I resolve to continue.

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