- Lose weight? Meh.
- Get a different job? Not a priority.
- Take that vacation; learn Spanish; stop smoking? Can’t afford the Italian countryside cooking/wine tour just yet; ain’t interested, amigo; never smoked in the first place.
All classic and worthy resolutions, these, but also yawn-inducing, clichéd and just not inspiring. They’re so last year and simply don’t light my resolution fire.
Now let’s see…how can I come up with something totally revolutionary — or is that “resolutionary?” Something I’ve never thought of before that breaks the tired, annual commitment model?
“Year”-eka! Now that matters. Resolution box…consider yourself checked.
Here’s the deal: one-year-olds just seem to get this life thing. Life is real to them. Very real. And, very now.
- Don’t like the food in front of you? Throw it. Really. Hit the pantry with it and then laugh as you watch it slide down.
- Need to poop? Right where you are works just fine, thank you.
- Feel like racing through the house — naked — limbs flailing with the unbridled enthusiasm of a 16-year-old’s brand new SnapChat feed? Drop those drawers and make it happen. Just because.
I just admire the passion, the raw approach, the “put-it-out-there-ness” of how Ava devours each moment of her still-tender 450-or-so-day life. Please God, I hope she never loses that. And, I hope I gain from that. In fact, I resolve to gain from that. For myself. For my family. For others.
If we’re open to it (that’s so the key, I’m finding), there are real, tangible lessons of the bucket-list-type variety to be absorbed from a one-year-old’s flavor of irreverent passion and energy in going through the day-to-day. No, not in the sappy all-I-really-need-to-know-I-learned-in-kindergarten kind of way — listing why cookies and naps are good. No shit, right?
Rather, it’s the mindset I’m after. It’s the approach to life I’m resolving to embrace in 2014. I’m betting it’s well worth it.
Now, let me make this one thing perfectly clear: Ava’s ability to inspire me (or you) in this area has nothing to do with anything I’ve done as a parent. I take no credit in this life-algorithm that she’s instinctively figured out in her thus far precious few days on this planet. And, I’m sure most other one-year-olds are of a similar lifestyle ilk.
But think about it. Think about taking a non-filtered approach — the kind a one-year-old takes — to situations that the years have taught, hardened and matured most of us “smart” adults to otherwise shudder about:
- Your boss/relative/any-authority-figure is pissed. First, laugh. Hard. Second, just keep doing what you’re doing, assuming, that is, that you’re doing pretty much the right things in the right way to begin with. Okay, maybe tweak things a little bit and definitely try to learn from their criticism — as long as it at least earns you another mac-and-cheese.
- You’re at the doctor’s office, a Justin Bieber concert or any other place of pain. Cry. Just cry — a lot. Scream, in fact, until it’s all over — even if zero needles are part of the experience and until somebody hands you a Snoopy bandage or shows you the concert’s nearest emergency exit.
- You feel like singing, napping, screaming for joy or crying-then-instantly laughing — right now. Doesn’t matter who’s in the room, what you sound like or what you’re wearing. Truly. It’s the “Dance Like Nobody’s Watching, Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt” life-lens to, well, just about everything.
How freeing would that be? To just not give a shit about what others think. Ever.
It’s not that, to me, manners don’t matter. Not at all. Manners do matter — greatly, in fact. It’s also not that a decorum of self-constraint and the potential of shame shouldn’t play a part in what we do. God knows we could all apply a bit (a lot?) more of the Golden Rule, especially when driving or otherwise engaging in today’s internet culture where so many cowardly and feverishly opine on some chat board — anonymously blistering others whilst hidden behind their face-less icon and name-less “MST3K-lol-lol-lol” moniker.
But don’t we all just get so bogged down in worrying about what others think and, correspondingly, adjust our behaviors to fit those expectations? Yes, we do. Too much, I believe.
How smothering. How burdensome. How unnecessary. Life has more to offer.
You know what, it really is okay if the house is a bit messy; if you’re not in your “going out clothes;” and, if those seven goulash-encrusted dishes are, gasp, still in the sink when people (sometimes refreshingly, unexpectedly) come over.
No, in 2014, I resolve to do things differently and approach life’s everyday situations with the same zest and vigor as does my little Ava. To irreverently take charge, to have fun, to embrace things, even the little things — hell, especially the little things — that matter so much in the end.
So it’s settled, then. No matter the topic. No matter the behavior. No matter the expectation or the anticipated outcome. To have fun with, find laughter in or confidently explore new ways of experiencing, embracing and thinking about everyday situations is the 2014 goal — my Irreverent Resolution, if you will.
To surprise myself in the new ways, new places and new pursuits that the irreverent option forces me into.
New year, new Doug. Hold me to it.
Oh, and thank you, Ava. For you already inspire daddy in so many ways.
Bring it on, 2014.