Editorial: Resolutions — the more content we all are, the more patience and understanding we will have for others
It seems like only yesterday we were saying goodbye to 2018 and hopeful for a new vibe for 2019. Instead, 2019 seems to have continued to be a constant battle of “You’re either with me, or against me,” at least if you pay attention to social media or three quarters of the news. Resolutions, much like wishes, can feel naively optimistic. But that doesn’t mean we should stop making them.
Switch it off
There is obviously much more to life than what pops up on little or big screens — and if there isn’t, that is the definition a resolution we need to make. So many of us are addicted to a 24-hour feed of technology, as are our children. We need to make a resolution to switch it off for an hour — a day — maybe even a weekend or a week. Look at each other’s faces without thinking “ I need to tag her” immediately after.
Another thing to consider, or continue, in the new year is supporting your favorite non-profits in town. Financial times can be hard for all of us, and generosity to a variety of causes is to be applauded. But it is important to remember those that make your day-to-day life a better place. Some of them do so quietly without much fanfare. Some have a bigger social media and people network for outreach use. But all of them are important contributors to where we live.
Places like the Darien Historical Society, the Darien Arts Center, The Depot Youth Center, the Darien YMCA, the YWCA Darien/Norwalk, the Community Fund of Darien, Person-to-Person and Tiny Miracles, among many others, need your help. They enrich all of our lives in a variety of ways.
If you haven’t adopted a local non-profit, make that another resolution.
Years ago, my daughter came home from school with a flyer that reminds us to think before we speak (or type, or comment). This is even more true in the age of anonymous, faceless interactions.
Before you do — ask yourself the following: Is it true? Helpful? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? Is it kind? Not a bad test for any of us — ages 10 to 110.
Leave it better than you found it
The motto of the National Parks Service, founded by Darien’s own Stephen Tyng Mather, for its trails and campsites, is a good approach to life. Resolving to not rush to judgment. Resolving to try to understand where someone else is coming from, to understand the path they have taken that we have not.
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb in his skin and walk around in it,” as Atticus Finch said in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Let’s resolve to assume the best in each other and hope that all of us have the most positive motivations — while maintaining an inquisitive mind.
Anger and hate for one another seems to only get worse by the day — often simply due to the color of our skin, our country of origin, or the deity we chose, or don’t chose, to believe in.
The best place to start with the above resolutions is within ourselves. Give our minds and bodies a break. Each day, chose to do something that provides you peace and joy. Get up early and watch the sunrise. Eat your lunch by the water. Watch a nostalgic movie from your “good old days.” Embarrass your kids by dancing in the car when your favorite old song comes on. Exercise more if that gives you joy. Make that hot fudge sundae once a while.
Youth is less about age than it is about inner freedom. Make a resolution to free yourself from worry, stress, self-consciousness and devices each day. The more content we all are, the more patience and understanding we will have for others. Let’s make a resolution that 2020 is the year we change what we can for the better — starting with ourselves.