Friday, January 11, 2013

One resolution is enough

I hate making resolutions, because I find that the more I tell myself not to do something, the more I want to do it. Whereas, the more I tell myself I should do something, the harder it gets to do it.

This led me, already at about 18 years of age, to resolve never to make New Year’s resolutions.

Fortunately, that resolution expired a long time ago. And now I’m ready to try a new one. It’s about envy. I hereby resolve to try not to envy other peoples’ success so much.

You see, I’ve spent almost my entire life feeling like an underachiever. (Doesn’t seem to matter that people looking in from outside think I’m the opposite.) By this time of life, I should have … How did that person … while I haven’t yet even …?

That’s a soul-sapping way to live. I’ve tried, more than once, to be happy for those others. I just don’t usually feel it. Maybe I would, if I just kept trying. But one thing I can do, and I’m willing to try to do, is avoid the ugly green feeling, the jaundiced glare. I can at least withdraw from that feeling. I can at least try not to envy the success of someone else. I know well enough that nobody’s life is easy, however it looks from outside. I know that whatever they’ve gained, they have the opportunity—like me—to feel like it isn’t good enough.

But I hope they don’t feel that way. And I’d be shocked if the most successful people allow themselves to glut on that feeling.

While I’m at it this confession business, here’s the really humbling thing I need to do, and that’s learn from the success of others. Where did I get the idea that I had it all figured out? Stupid. I’m just stumbling along here like everybody else. Only I seldom succeed at things I most want to succeed at, because I shrink from failure. I don’t put myself out there for criticism. I don’t take the necessary steps.

So that’s another resolution, wound up in the first. Knock off the envy, one; and try to learn from the people who succeed. Imitate them if you like how they did it; don’t if you don’t. But don’t be all “Well I could have done it too if I had …” Don’t. Ever.

There. That ought to last me another twenty years.

Here's some related reading, if you like: 

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