Monday, September 9, 2013

New Year's Resolutions 5774

As we are currently 'sandwiched' between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, my mind got to thinking about resolutions.  Truth be told, I'm not a huge fan of resolutions.  Besides the fact that we keep making the same ones year after year, which pretty much means that we have never been successful in keeping these resolutions past the first week or two into our new year, most of them are unrealistic.  We often set lofty goals for ourselves that are - while not impossible - not always based in reality.  Let's face it.  It takes serious change to make a resolution stick and most of us are afraid of change.

So if you look up "most popular New Year's resolutions 2013", you'll find that they were pretty much the same as 2012, 2011 etc...  At this point, I wouldn't necessarily call them resolutions, as much as "things we wish could be different, but probably won't ever be".  It's a little depressing to have such a fatalist attitude towards resolutions just three days or so into this new year, but it is what it is.  

I've therefore decided to outline some resolutions (although I am loathe to call them such) of my own that I'm hoping are not unrealistic and hopefully are attainable, although I will not be able to comment on their success or failure until this time next year....

1.  Really listen to my kids - I think I can get this one to work.  As many of you out there know what it's like to juggle family, work and a home while still maintaining some sort of balance, I think we're all in agreement that there are not enough hours in the day for us WonderWomen.  And I think that my kids bear the brunt of that often.  They often catch me while I'm smack in the middle of doing something and although I try and concentrate on what they're saying, it often goes in one ear and out the other.  More than once, one of my kids will ask me if they could go drinking at midnight and I nod yes while counting how many cups of flour I still need to add to my cupcake batter.  And it's only when they laugh rather sadly at me that I realize that I had no clue what they just asked me.  It isn't intentional.  But it is something I'm trying to change. 

2.  Be less critical with myself - I personally am a bit of a perfectionist, but in the last few years I've seen it rub off on my kids.  If I want them to be happy in their own skin, then I need to set an example of that.  

3.  Stop stepping on the scale - with the Number 1 New Year's resolution being "lose weight" I would like to buck the trend and get off the scale.  No.  Maybe fling the scale out of my second story window and watch it crash and burn.  I could definitely do that...  Too many of us are obsessed with the numbers on a scale.  I'm one of them.  I've decided that eating healthy and adding regular exercise to my lifestyle while maintaining balance would make me happier, healthier and less scale-obsessed. I may be a couple pounds more or less than my "ideal weight" but without the scale, I would never know.  A little cluelessness will go a long way....

4.  Spend more time with friends - I often feel like I'm channeling a hermit when I run into a friend that I seriously have not seen for more than three months.  Likely, we live a few blocks away, but between work, kids, schedules, household chores and appointments to various doctors, dentists etc, I never see my friends.  I don't often go to shul (resolution number 5) so unless I go out of my way to make a lunch date, I'm hibernating in my house.  I happen to like my own company but I need a little girl-time every once in a while to schmooze, share lunch or a coffee.  In the famous words of Barbara Streisand, "people who need people are the luckiest people in the world".  I'm hoping to spend some more time with my people this year...

5.  Go to Shul - I work hard all week.  I have two part-time jobs that often feel like full-time jobs and am exhausted by the time Friday night rolls around.  Admittedly, I tend to roll over in bed on Shabbat morning and grab another half hour of sleep instead of dressing and going to shul.  But truth be told, I have much to be thankful for and although I can daven at home, there's something nice about being part of the tzibur.  I'm going to try and go to shul more often - for the benefit of both my soul and my friends.  See you this weekend...I hope!

6.  Play the piano every day - OK, while most of you will tell me that I sit at the piano for more than three hours a day, that doesn't count.  Teaching is not playing and while I often play for my students, it's not enough.  Music is therapeutic and it takes the place of any therapy I might need (Yisrael will concur with this).  So bring on the Mozart!

7.  Be kinder - While I think of myself as a kind person, there's always room for growth in that department.  I will try and be a kinder person to myself, my husband, my kids, my friends and those around me that I may not know.

8.  Commit to the Good Deed Of The Day - I've talked to my kids about this for a while now and while I do try and put this into action on a regular basis I find that I'm not always paying attention.  Often situations arise when you're in the right place at the right time to lend a helping hand but were too busy to take notice.  I'm going to try and go about my days with a greater awareness and try to recognize when a moment presents itself to me to do something good.  

9.  Get over my fears - This past summer we went snorkeling in the freezing cold of the Georgian Bay. The temperatures outside were between 11 - 15 degrees (read: freezing!!!) and the water was about 60 degrees.  We had to wear wetsuits.  For anyone out there who is seriously claustrophobic like I am, the wetsuit is your enemy.  I had a near panic attack when they zipped me up the first time and it was doubtful to my husband and kids that I would even get near the water.  We went on a boat with a group of about 20 other people and everyone got in the water except me.  Yisrael and the kids cajoled me for a while and then I took a deep breath, zipped myself up and got into the water.  I think the shock of cold erased any fears I had just then, but I not only did it once, but twice on that trip.  I don't know if I'd ever do it again, but I felt good to do it that once, knowing that despite my fears, I did it all the same.  I'm not ready to buy a spider and turn it into a pet just yet, but I'll take one fear at a time, thank you.

10.  Work on making my kids like each other - I know this sounds weird.  You can't really "make" anyone do anything they don't want to do, especially your own kids.  I have to say as they get older, they generally get along better, but the bickering is still there and the fights have changed from "she's touching my toy!" to "she took my hair straightener!"  So in effect, they haven't changed all that much...they still argue about who gets to sit shotgun in the car, about who has to walk the dog, and about who's turn it is to clean the bathrooms on Friday.  There is still the poking, the occasional shove, the rolling of the eyes, the muttering under the breath and the sticking out the tongue going on in this all-teenage house.  They are not bad kids - in fact, they are fabulous.  Seriously fantastic, creative, giving, funny, energetic individuals who are a constant delight.  (Ok, so not always constant..) What they are is normal.  Having just spent the summer with all my siblings, I have to say, that all in all, we got along.  We didn't always in the past and there were some 'incidents' that had arisen over the years that made us less-friendly with one another than we should have been.  But we've come a long way and we genuinely enjoyed each other's company this summer and I hope we will continue to do so in the future.  Now nice to each other.  At the end of the day, you're family and that's the most important thing of all.


  1. WOW! Chavi, you write so well! This is something everyone can relate to. Instead of playing piano, we can substitute anything that gives us personal pleasure, and to make time for it.

    I would add one thing to your list. You should write something every day, perhaps a journal, or some quick notes, because you write so well! Maybe one day you'll look back at these scribblings and see your life from a mature (ie older) perspective.I'm sure it will be interesting!

    One thing I plan to add to my "resolutions" is to appreciate all those so close to me, and acknowledging them by telling them so often.

    Chavi, I love you!


    1. Thanks Mom! I appreciate your comments....I don't know if I'll be able to write everyday, but I'll certainly try...

  2. Mom called me in the car and said "you must read Chavi's latest is great!". I have just read it and I have to agree. You are right on and if all of us would just try to do half of what you set out, we would be better people and the world would be a better place. Thanks so much for all of this and thanks for being a great mom, wife, daughter, sibling etc. We love you. Shana Tovah! Gmar Chatima Tovah!