Published Friday, January 04, 2013
When my oldest daughter was little, she was so exhausting to play with. She had an active imagination, and pretending with her was like performing a Shakespearean play. You’d better know your lines.
She knew exactly what she wanted you to say and when to say it, and it was not just a mere word or two. There were entire soliloquies to memorize. Looking back on it, it was very cute. I can still picture her as a 3-year-old girl, head full of thick blond wavy hair, pointing her little finger at me and gently instructing me on what I was supposed to say.
As an adult, I wonder if I tend to be like my little girl. Somehow, I expect people to say exactly what I want them to say. As a child, I spent a lot of time lost in my day dreams. I can recall long conversations, entirely imagined. Sometimes I was the reporter doing the interviewing, but more often than not, I was the celebrity, telling the world my secret to success. In my mind, I was graceful, beautiful and never stumbled over a word. I was also a famous writer, and everyone wanted to be like me – but I was humble about it.
Today, as I write this, I am none of those things.
“What are your resolutions?” my son asked earnestly on New Year’s Eve.
Knowing I had not made any, I quickly said, “Oh, to exercise more.”
My son gave me a look, a look that showed disappointment, a look that showed he knew I had not put any thought into it, a look that said, “Is that all you got?”
And that look made me feel ashamed.
So, here I sit a few days into the New Year and think about the person I really want to be.
I know Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage,” and if you watch any reality TV, that seems to be true, but the truth is I am not the playwright, nor the director, nor the producer nor even an actor. Other people are not for me to control like a 3-year-old playing out an imaginary scene. Words they say are their words, not mine.
I used to think a new year meant I had to reinvent myself – change my hair, whiten my teeth, get in shape, read more, work more, cook more, more, more, more. And, I had to do it all perfectly, not better, but perfectly.
Today, I’ve realized that life is not perfect. People are not perfect. I am not perfect. In fact, I don’t even know what that word means anymore, other than it’s no longer the standard for me.
This year, my resolution is to be me and to accept who I am – a clumsy ordinary person who often mispronounces words and mixes metaphors, a person who still spends a great deal of time day dreaming, a person who still hopes of writing a novel, a person who is still a work in progress and has lots to learn every single day.
And, for this year, that’s good enough.