I'm enjoying the fruits of this New Year's Resolution , which, for those of you who are averse to clicking back and seeing the actual post, revolves around an Abe Lincoln quote on happiness.
First and foremost, I've enjoyed having Mr. Lincoln hanging around my life. He was a pragmatist with a sense of humor and the tall man's inner confidence that I've always found attractive. I don't care how over-blown the stories are - I will carry the image of the young boy reading by the firelight forever close to my heart. Long after my bedtime, I would lie with my feet on my pillows and my head at the foot of my bed to catch the light from the hallway through the half-opened door. I read and re-read Shirley Temple's Book of Washington Irving's Tales that way, and I still shiver when I remember the illustrations of Ichabod Crane and the headless horseman in that pale, reflected light. Then and now, I thought of Abe, reading by pale, reflected light. Silly or not, it's true.
Knowing that Coach Wooden is paying attention keeps me on the path of righteousness, and since righteousness in this instance equates to happiness it's not so much nagging as being asked to join in a smile. And that is a good thing.
So, instead of grimacing at the dishes in the sink I opened a brand new scrubbing pad and squeezed out an extra dollop of bubbly lime enhanced detergent just for fun. At bowling, I loosened up and stopped worrying if G'ma was having a good time just watching (she has to be responsible for her own happiness if I have to be responsible for mine, after all) and I won the first game with a 136.... my own 2nd best personal record. The substitute pilates teacher on Sunday morning was not one of my favorites so I picked up my mat and went home to read in the sunshine; it was a much better use of that hour.
That's my first lesson from the resolution: tiny steps over minor obstacles.
I'm noticing how easily I slip into aggravation over those little bumps in the road. Since I am now as happy as I'll allow myself to be I'm finding that I have to give myself permission to change emotional directions.
Once upon a time, the first month we lived in Marin, I made a friend while sitting in the last row of the first PTA meeting of the year. We were both Jewish-girls-from-New-York with delightful sons and questions about the value of this particular public school's education. We bonded over the strange and wonderful Californians and the marvel that was their kayak on the lagoon outside her garden gate. Beneath the grapefruit tree. One lovely block from the town park, with its gazebo and basketball court. Where the 4th graders could ride their bikes - without parental supervision - on the multi-use path down to the bay and the views of the Golden Gate Bridge. How could it be this perfect? She lasted until he graduated from high school, and then she high-tailed it back to Manhattan. Her parting comment? "Life is too easy here. There are no edges. I need edges."
I understood her. Still do. My challenge with this resolution is to round off the unnecessary edges while staying sharp.
I'll keep you posted.