Hello 2011! Will You Make It This Time?

Have you welcomed in the new year yet? Or are you in the Rut of Busy? Myself? I haven’t even begun the journey of planning for the new year yet. It’s like planning a road trip from here to that magical land we call Contentment. Maybe you call it Bliss, or Fulfillment. But come December 31st, 2011, will you be there?

If you’re like me (normal, that is) you will say yes. We always say yes. I disappoint myself, though, by not being able to stay on that path. But then again, I don’t have a path. Not a planned path anyways. I usually just round the corner from one year to the next and start coasting. This is something that has caused some irksome feelings for me the last few years. I think it may be finally time to get out the atlas, sit down and make a plan. It’s a long road that takes 365 days to traverse. Just one long, straight road with no road blocks, no hazards, no animal crossings. Wouldn’t that be great? We might actually be able to enjoy some of the scenery!

In order to do that, I’m going to get out my map and tools and start by highlighting the destination I must take, the course I absolutely must stay on to get to Contentment. One straight line from Point A to Point B.

There! Line drawn.

Oops! Maybe I should do this in pencil because I already know that I’ll need to pull over to plan several birthdays and to celebrate a couple of anniversaries. I will also need to pull into a rest area to plan a family reunion. Then there is the school activities for the children that can lead us somewhat astray, especially those that involve parental planning committees. We will also need to take ourselves off cruise control and brake often to help plan a fund raiser or two, take the kids to the beach, take the kids sledding, school shopping…

Don’t forget the spring cleaning, gardening and taxes.

Don’t worry, just a little farther south is Summer Vacation! WooHoo! I’m going to plan a few lay-overs so that we can enjoy the warmth and a couple of backyard, grilled dinners. Aaaaaahhh! That’s nice.

Bright and early September, it’s back on the road again. Kids back in school, all kinds of Fall sports to attend every evening. I’ll need to veer off course, again, several times to accommodate the extra shopping involved for this time of year. The kids all need new boots and winter gear, Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas dinner, Christmas gifts and don’t forget the wrapping.

The snow has started falling and my destination is in sight. I keep telling myself, there’s still plenty of time to clean my office and tidy up my cache of a bedroom. You know, all those things that you had planned to do since the beginning of the year. There’s still a few more weeks left to finish them all.

You just keep telling yourself that. And then...

Before you know it, you’re on the Exit to December 31st. Looking at another new year coming at you quick, just around the bend. Maybe you didn’t finish all of your tasks. You didn’t throw your heart into planning all four kids’ birthday parties because, plain and simple, you just didn’t have quite enough time. And you probably didn’t quite get to putting away the pile of leftover yard-sale items in your garage. You’re tired and guilt-ridden. You tell yourself that you’ll strive to do better next year.

You’re at the end of your journey. Did you make it, though? Did you actually arrive at Contentment? Go ahead. Take a minute to think about it. I’ll wait. May I offer a suggestion? Remember since January 1st, 2010, month by month, all of the things that you accomplished. Don’t idle over what didn’t get finished or you’ll run your tank completely empty. Save that last little smidgen of fuel to get yourself entirely there: Contentment. Enjoy it. You’ve earned it. So what if you weren’t Wonder Woman with her bullet-deflecting bangles. You did your best, didn’t you? What more could you ask of yourself? You made good time and arrived exactly at the appointed rendezvous time.

Give yourself a pat on the back and spend some time taking pleasure in the scenery at the rest stop. Get your family out of the car and stretch your legs. Maybe even play a game of freeze tag with them in the picnic area.

You do realize that you will need to get back on the road again, right? Just don’t forget to pull out the road map! And don’t worry; I’ll meet you there!