Ahhh, the New Year. A time to embark on a new adventure or end a bad habit, to begin a healthy activity or stop eating junk food. Like many Americans, at some time or another, I have resolved to: lose weight, exercise regularly, eat healthier and do a daily devotion. Other years, I've resolved to: call my mother more often, argue with my sister less, give more money or time to my church and regularly send care packages to friends or soldiers overseas.
Despite the variety of my resolutions, they have all had one thing in common: I have failed every single one of them. I stick with them for a while, but inevitably I stop. And then I feel awful. I think the premise is good-new beginnings and self-improvement-but I totally miss the mark when it comes to follow-through. This is why in recent years I have resolved to make no resolutions at all. Can't fail 'em if I don't make 'em, right? I know, I know-I have a bad attitude.
There is one other thing that happens around every New Year that I am terrible at doing. Every year, I resolve to do better, and every year, I fail. And my failure is, sadly, quite public. It would be nice if no one saw my failure, if no one knew how miserably deficient I am in this particular area, but no-my inadequacy is on display every year, like a giant neon arrow above my shamefully hanging head.
What is this great downfall, you might ask? I never take down my Christmas tree in a timely manner.
I know what you're thinking: "That's it? That's not a big deal. Lots of people wait a few days or even weeks to take down their Christmas decorations." No-you don't understand. My Christmas tree stays up for months. Yes, months. Standing there in front of our big living room bay window, colorful lights twinkling as if to wave at passers-by in a defiant "Ha! Ha! I'm still heeeeerrrrrreeee!" kind of way.
Every year I think, "Perhaps this will be the year I take it down in January." But that never happens. One year, our tree stayed up long enough to celebrate Christmas, New Year's, Martin Luther King Day, Groundhog Day, Valentine's Day, President's Day, Daylight Savings, St. Patrick's Day, April Fool's Day, and Palm Sunday. One week shy of Easter, we were considering replacing the Christmas ornaments with Easter eggs and calling it an Easter tree. But then I realized if we're going to take off the ornaments, we might as well go a step further, take off the lights, fold up the tree, and mercifully put it away. I'm quite sure our neighbors were extremely relieved.
So, as you charge into 2013 resolving to do and be better, remember this: If you experience failure, keep your chin up. We all fail. We all have the proverbial Christmas tree hanging around for far too long. We all need to forgive ourselves and try again. And again. And again. That's the beauty of a new beginning: they are free for the taking and available any time you resolve to do better. Happy New Year!