My New Years Resolutions
Carolyn Aspenson

Itís that time of the year again. The time when I sit back and reflect on the previous year and what I could have done, should have done, would have done if only Iíd had ______. (fill in the blank). My soul fills with guilt, frustration, sadness and yes, even some happiness, some feelings of success.

I feel successful this year because Iíve lost seven pounds and though itís not all that I wanted to lose, itís a start and Iím happy for that. I plan to really focus on my health in 2004 because I had a serious diabetes scare and Iíve finally realized that what I do for my body today effects how my body reacts tomorrow. What a powerful thought that truly is!

This year brought me an opportunity to expand on a Ďhobbyí Iíve always wanted to make a career. Iím grateful and happy that Iím writing. Iíve always wanted to call myself a writer and always wanted to be Ďpublishedí. Writing for EOS has solidified my commitment and officially I can call myself a Ďwriterí. I can just see it now at my 20 year high school reunion in Ď05, ďOh, hi. Nice to see you. What do I do? Oh, Iím a writer.Ē I love that!

Sure, Iíve thought I was good, mostly at correcting letters written by sales people or Vice Presidents who are good at what they do, but lack basic writing skills. Not something I thought showed my true talent. But with Katrina allowing me to write for EOS Iíve come to believe I can actually Ďwriteí. Mostly because I get such wonderful emails from all of you telling me how Iíve made you laugh and that you enjoy my columns. That really is a great gift, something to effectively stroke my ego enough to make me want to write more. This year I started my novel and though Iíve stopped writing it for a month or two, Iím committed to finishing it in 2004 and hopefully all of you will take pity on me when I get it published (likely through self-publishing) and youíll buy it, read it and actually like it! (Hint!)

2003 was the year of patience with my daughter Morgan. A bright and wonderfully sweet 9 year old she is, but sheís got some serious problems and this year proved to me that these problems are a lot more serious than I first thought. Iím not sure what pushed me to take the next step with her medically; frustration on my part or love and desire to help her. Honestly, itís likely it was a bit of both. After fighting with my husband about what I thought was wrong, I finally said ďscrew itĒ and got her into a psychiatrist. I was right. Morgan is Bipolar. Not that Iím happy Iím right, but Iím happy to finally know whatís going on. Sheís now on medication and itís like sheís a new person. She says the speed of her brain has slowed down and she doesnít feel crazy anymore. That makes it all worth it. This year I am going to focus on behavior management with Morgan and family therapy. We all have to learn to deal with her condition and Iím excited that her road to happiness isnít as far off as I once thought.

In 2003 I learned a lot about marriage. Some good, some, well, not so good. I love my husband and I love being married (dating wasnít even remotely fun, except when a relationship was new!) but Iíve learned that I still need to be an individual, not only a couple. Going from traveling business woman, wearing Anne Klein, carrying my Coach purse, my briefcase and wearing my expensive make up to being a stay at home mom in sweats, with a clip in my hair and a tote bag full of toys and snacks has been tough. There are days I love being with my kids and days I think Iím going to die right then and there if I donít get out and get a job. (Or even a shower!) Iíve lost my Delta Skymiles Gold Medallion status, my Marriott Rewards member status and my Hertz Gold status. These things used to be important to me and though singing ď1 2 3 4 5. Once I caught a fish alive. 6 7 8 9 10. I let him go, once again...Ē is fun and makes my son happy, there are days I miss conversations about insurance and employee benefit plans and HIPAA regulations.

I still havenít figured out what to do about feeling more like an individual, not just a wife and a mother. Iíve toyed with getting a full time job again but I donít want an aftercare program raising my kids. Thereís always part time work but that will take away from my time. I think my best option is to focus on my writing. Though right now that doesnít give me any income, it gives me personal satisfaction and can progress into freelance work if I market myself. If I just take that next step. Iím hoping 2004 will provide me the courage to take that next step.

I think 2003 did something to my sex drive because Iíve not been able to find it much lately. Itís probably hiding somewhere within my poor body image or underneath my low self esteem. Once I dig through those issues Iím thinking the sex drive will increase. Okay, itís not that the Ďdriveí isnít there. Itís that when the opportunity presents itself, Iím usually on the verge of sleep. I plan, in 2004 to open myself to spontaneous sexual opportunities...with my husband! (Geez, what were you people THINKING!) He works at home and since the kids are at school that really does present ample opportunity; something Iíve neglected to take advantage of. Likely because Iím not feeling remotely attractive or sexy in my sweats, without make up and usually no shower that morning! I think this is one resolution my husband will fully commit to helping me achieve!

In 2003 I learned that there are a lot of people who donít have it as good as I do but theyíre happier, more satisfied and they feel more blessed than me. Iíve promised myself that 2004 would be the year I truly make an effort to stop complaining about the imperfections of my life and enjoy the little things, appreciate the basics. This will likely be the hardest resolution Iíll attempt.

Even though my patience has increased, Iím still a tad impatient, especially when it comes to my family. Yup, Iíve got a preteen daughter and sheís going to try my patience beyond belief! But Iím going to work on those things I can CONTROL and try to push aside those I canít. For example, it takes my daughter one hour to get ready in the morning. Get ready equals make bed, get dressed, feed cat, brush hair and teeth and straighten room (sometimes). It does not include curling irons, make up or breakfast. I cannot figure out what she does or doesnít do in that one hour that takes so long but no matter what I say, the speed of her preparation isnít increasing. Once school starts up again Iím going to set her alarm for 15 minutes earlier and if she doesnít get done in time then sheíll have to go without breakfast. Natural consequences are so much more effective than constant nagging. Iím hopeful 2004 will bring many clear opportunities for natural consequences!

I plan, in 2004 not to worry too much about my parents and their health conditions. Sounds impossible, I know. But Iíve learned that they are their own people and no matter what I know, say, do, beg, plead or blackmail them to do, it just doesnít work. My father will continue to smoke, even though heís got a heart condition. Heíll continue to take his medication sporadically at best because it makes him tired. My mother, the type II diabetic she is, will continue to eat foods she shouldnít. Sheíll continue to not work on her physical and speech therapy to improve her abilities since her stroke.

Iíve decided to face the facts. My parents are old and my parents will die. They might even die in 2004. Yes of course I will be terribly sad and likely a complete wreck. But death is the natural course of life and I just have to accept that. Iíve had a close scare with both parents in the past few years - Iíve briefly touched the tip of death with both my father and my mother and I didnít like it. But I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. (No pun intended!) This year I learned that sometimes that stuff you see John Edward doing on TV is really possible. I believe that when my parents die, they will truly still be with me and I might even be able to say a thing or two to them that will elicit some sort of response from the Heavens. It makes me happy to know, or to feel that those who have passed are still close to my heart, whether I can see them or not.

This coming year I plan to floss more. Apparently itís been scientifically proven that gum disease can lead to all sorts of other medical problems, specifically heart disease. So therefore, I will floss. And floss and even floss some more!

I plan, in 2004 to spend less time tensing my jaw (thanks in part to a dental night guard) and more time relieving my stress in more appropriate ways, like the exercise I mentioned above.

I plan to read more good books. Once I figure out what a good book is, I mean!

Oh, as always, this coming year I plan to actually fulfill my resolutions and work at them. Not just write them down and not look at them again. Thatís why Iím stopping at those. Iím not going to go through the typical, ďlose ten pounds, stop eating chocolate, eat more veggies, spend more time with my family, save such and such amount of money,Ē etc. etc. etc. I never succeed at those silly resolutions. I just write them down and get on myself when I havenít done what I told myself I would. Really, this coming year I plan to be the best I can be and not get down on myself when I donít meet my standards of perfection. After all, Iím only human. Iím not God and only God is perfect.

I hope each and every one of you has a wonderful holiday, whatever you may celebrate - and that your new year is filled with happiness and good health. Thanks to each of you for reading my silly commentary on GH and my life. Thanks for telling me Iím funny and that you enjoy what I have to say. It means a great deal to me and itís helped me through a year of emotionally draining self worth issues. Each email I get from you solidifies who I truly am, not the person I beat myself up about. I cannot even begin to tell you how magically wonderful that is! Thanks for all of you! You are uniquely special! Remember that!

Happy Holidays!




More From Carolyn