Sunday, December 30, 2012

a goal we all can agree on

When I was a young kid, my bedtime was 8:30 every night. Bedtime consisted of putting on a nightgown and/or footie pajamas, brushing my teeth, and usually having my mom braid my hair so it would be wavy in the morning. 

My parents had their time together downstairs, and I was confined to my room, trying to pick out the words I could barely hear coming from the TV. 
When I got to seventh grade, I remember a friend of mine telling me how they had gone to bed at 11:30 after trying to get an assignment done. My eyes widened as I repeated her words... "eleven-thirty??" My bedtime may have been upped to 10:00, but a bedtime that late was a New Year's Eve type of thing. 

I don't really know what changed after that, but eventually my bedtime seemed to be all but forgotten as I scrambled to get last-minute assignments done every night. It was there in theory, but wasn't enforced as much, especially as the years went on. 

Fast forward to today, and you will find my whole family in bed, with me still up and about, almost every night. 

Or sometimes I shut myself in my room after getting ready for bed with all my homework that is still unfinished. I light a candle and cherish the knowledge thateven though I still have homework, I won't have to leave that wonderful little place for the rest of the night. 
Or, during the summer, I stay up watching Monk and Drop Dead Diva on Netflix until it is 3am. 

And I came to the realization one day, that I am a huge night owl. Even as a high schooler, on the nights I desperately want to sleep, I can't. I guess I'm just wired differently now.

But even though I am a walking zombie at school occasionally, I love being up alone at night. What used to be my parents' alone time, has now become mine. (sorry guys!)

There is something about being alone, surrounded by quiet and peace, that soothes the soul. It fills you up. It brings you nearer to God. 

I look forward to these hours of recluse, and I wish we could all make time for ourselves... time to just be alone. Time to feel the Spirit. Not out of selfishness. Quite the contrary, actually. A boost in spirit helps us when we need patience. Having some alone time to look forward to makes it easier to spend more quality time with others during the other hours of the day. 

I think the human mind is a very complex, beautiful thing. It never stops working, moving, or thinking...  Never stops stressing, never relaxes until we make a conscious effort to make it calm down. 

And when I do make a conscious effort, I receive happiness and peace in return.  

Let's switch gears for a second. 

I would pride myself in never breaking a new year's resolution, but that's because I try not to make them. There is something about a goal that freaks me out. It's the same reason I made goals like turn in my homework on time during parent-teacher conferences as a kid. I always turned my homework in on time. So there was no chance of failure. I didn't even need to change my ways at all.

Maybe I'm just a no-good, lazy teenager, but I hate making goals. I tend to want results without putting forth the work.

But happiness is a goal even I can work towards. Because I get so stressed with homework and piano and other day to day activities sometimes. And it's not that I'm not happy, I just too often spend more time worrying than enjoying the journey.
And maybe my mind will get into the habit of being calm, and I will have to remind it less and less.

And I won't have to be alone - or away from other cares - to be calm and happy.

Indeed, even a new year's resolution I can handle. 

What are your new year's resolutions this year?

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