I've already broken all my new year's resolutions, and feel much the better for it. They were the usual narrow promises, made under family duress, concerning food, drink, exercise, and being nice to jerks. The pressure to keep such promises is stressful and tinged with the hint of future guilt.
Now that they are broken and gone, I'm free to continue trying to keep the broader life-changing suggestions I overheard on Life (Part 2). There were three big ones, what I call the Three R's.
One - Put your Relationships ahead of your work. On the show, Billie Jean King talks about escaping into tennis as a way of putting off the real issues in her life. Once she stopped regular competition, she found herself substituting binge eating. She's been dealing with all that in therapy in recent years, she said. You don't need to face your fears when you can focus on the next match. Sometimes I wondered if I did that, too, as a journalist, escaping into the quest for the story. I saw a T-shirt at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. that summed it up: "Not tonight, honey, I'm on deadline."
Two - Keep yourself open to the fresh ideas and possibilities that lead to Renewal. We did a number of shows that touched on renewal and reinvention, with one overwhelmingly common theme: Go back into your past to find your future. Most people who successfully renewed their lives reconnected with something that had once been important to them - music, jewelry-making, a sport, teaching, a business idea, etc. - that they had had to abandon. Rather than thinking "outside the box," reach way down into the box for something that's been there all the time.
Three - Don't stop Running. That actually means, don't stop shaking your booty in some way that gives you pleasure. I've quit actual road running (thanks to my back) but I'm a constant walker and biker. I'll even use the treadmill and elliptical trainer in the gym although I have to force myself to go. I'm always glad I did. But I also keep in mind Sherwin Nuland's advice which takes us back to number one. Given the choice between gym and a romp with kids and/or grandkids, go with the rugrats. My grandkids are 5 and 2, so it's not only more fun, it's more of a workout.