An Unresolution

Making Peace With Chaos

An Unresolution

Drink more water.

Remember to take the vitamins.

Wake up an hour earlier.


These are the resolutions I should be making. Yet I know from yearly (okay, daily) experience, that my aspirations are not always achieved.

I drink too much tea and not enough water. Water is a good intention, dutifully downed. The making of the tea is a small pleasure, a little ritual, the cups are like rungs on the ladder of my day. The first cup, Earl Grey or if I am feeling very virtuous a green citrus, not too strong or too hot, is the most necessary. The little boost of caffeine, the easing of my senses into the day feels satisfying to me in a way that water rarely manages.

I forget to take my vitamins. I am also seriously iron deficient, which can make one forgetful, so I really, really do need to take my vitamins. My vitamins, however, taste like nosebleeds and hay. I prefer eating an apple with a side of dark chocolate to taking a capsule, but I take them because feeling more alert is good, and I want all my hair and teeth when I am 70.

Learning to like mornings much more than I do would make me a better, more productive person, I am sure of it. An extra hour though, when I manage it, is lost to the fog of waking up. I cannot string one coherent sentence together, and complete sentences are what I want most out of that extra hour.

Exercise is a good thing. I am sure it would help me cope with stress, make me stronger, my stomach flat(er), and I should really acquire a taste for some form if it before my bones snap.

What every one of the things I have resolved to do reflects is my desire to be a better, more caught up, more-able-meet-the-daily-challenges version of myself. I want to create some kind of hydrated, orderly, taught wall between me and the chaos. But life, especially family life, is chaotic. It is change, and it is relentless, and we cannot try to control it no matter how many glasses of water a day we drink.

Every time I don’t live up to my resolutions I lie down with self-recrimination. Self-recrimination is a miserable bedmate. It keeps me awake and fretful. It makes me thirsty. Unproductive. Stiff. It gives me brow furrows, and a bad temper when the morning arrives. It tricks me into thinking that perfect is a goal.

Perfect can stop a person from wanting to get out of bed in the morning at all.

So I am making an unresolution this year: In 2013 I resolve to make peace with never feeling caught up or entirely in control. I am going to cope with what each day brings, and I am going to try to meet the daily challenges and the constant changes with my best self. The self I can accept for her imperfections and for her strengths alike.

I am also taping this Ray Bradbury quote to the tea cupboard:

"I don't believe in optimism. I believe in optimal behavior. That's a different thing ... Action is hope. At the end of each day, when you've done your work, you lie there and think, Well, I'll be damned, I did this today. It doesn’t matter how good it is, or how bad—you did it. At the end of the week you'll have a certain amount of accumulation. At the end of a year, you look back and say, I'll be damned, it's been a good year."


What are your resolutions for this year, this month, or maybe just for this afternoon?