My good intentions to write a separate post last week about each of my NYR’s went by the wayside, swallowed up in all sorts of family activities. I hope everyone reading this post had a great time with family and friends over the holidays, but I know it’s inevitable that for some of you this time of year is especially hard. The Ostroms over at Pinch of Yum lost their baby last year, and they struggled over what to do this year about various traditional celebrations. I know there are days to come when there will be empty seats at our table, but for now we’re all hale and hearty and thankful for it.
But even though I haven’t written about them, I do have a short list of resolutions that I’d like to share with you this week, in the hope that these ideas may spark ones of your own. Here’s the biggest one, phrased as a question that I want to ask myself frequently from now on:
Why should I deny myself the pleasure?
To explain: I’m not talking about eating the last chocolate (heavens no! all that sugar!) or insisting on my choice for the movie or refusing to get off the couch and go somewhere Jim wants to go or other selfish acts. I’m talking about letting a critical spirit, a focus on some insignificant detail, a harping on something that can’t be changed, a grudge I won’t let go (my favorite!) poison an outing, a conversation, a meal . . . any occasion. Why should I let my carping spoil it? Why not just let the minor annoyance go and focus on the good stuff?
One way for me to fulfill this resolution is to make a clear distinction in my mind between what actually concerns me/makes any difference to me and what doesn’t. Does it really matter that last night when we were all making sandwiches from the leftover prime rib that my husband sat there performing his usual micro-surgery to remove every speck of fat? No. The rest of us were just helping ourselves to the slices he’d already cut, and if he wanted to sit there and maintain the purity of his helping, well, that was up to him. I managed to keep my mouth shut about it, but it was hard! I reminded myself that it was none of my business and therefore not my monkey.
So here I sit on this New Year’s morning, in my lovely little kitchen, with said husband now making a nice omelet for the two of us. I’m sure he’s performing his microsurgery techniques on the ham he’s including, but hey! So what? The omelet will be great. I can hear cutting going on behind me but I’m refusing to turn around and observe. Let the man do it his way! (Update: the omelet was, indeed, great.)
How about you? Do you often spoil your own pleasure by focusing on minor negatives? If so, cut it out! (Little joke there.) As sappy and Hallmark-y as it sounds, it is (at least somewhat) true that what you focus on increases. (No, this is not a plug for that ghastly book The Secret. Just to be clear! No link to it, either. The quotation is a very common one; I’m linking to a post by Laura Doyle, the marriage guru, who has some good ideas and some truly laughable ones.) So I’m going to beam my laser-like attention on this year’s question. I’m sure I’ll be the happier for it.