Since finishing grad school I have become obsessive about keeping track of things–I think I have always liked lists, but 2008 took me to a whole new level. I track the books I have read, the money I spent, the hours I spend exercising, to-do lists and so on. So it’s no surprise that a new year brings with it new goals–or as I like to call them “experiments with truth”- with the idea being that sometimes its worth it to just try something to see how you feel about it, how it changes your life, your outlook, etc. Not eating meat is a great example of an “experiment with truth” because if you’ve never eaten a non-meat diet, how can you really know how its going to make you feel? Or if you’ll enjoy eating a plant-based diet….or if you’ll be tired all the time. An experiment, by definition is a trial- you want to see if and how something works. Experiments with truth are all about figuring out what works for you and being ok if it doesn’t work out. So, back to my vegetarian example- if it doesn’t work for you, that’s that and you go back to eating meat- it’s not a failure, it’s an EXPERIMENT.
Please don’t think I am going all relativist on you- it’s not like you should experiment with murder, or self hating, or starving yourself. You get the point. Last year I made a list of experiments or things that I wanted to work towards. You can see that list here. Some of the things really made a difference in my life. For example, driving less has been awesome. I not only love not spending gazillions of dollars on gas, but I know that it’s good for the environment too. I have also read and written lots- also very positive. I find both activities to be packed full of pleasure. I have been trying to practice having and wanting less material “stuff”- this one is a hard one, and even though I do find myself wishing I had trendier clothes or beautiful things in my house, I have been living within my means and questioning my desires for material crap. Listening and giving people the benefit of the doubt is ongoing. Just yesterday I read a great post by my friend Steve about seeing the face of Christ in people. It’s a process, and I am learning.
So for this year, I have decided that LESS is more, so I am going to have only 3 experiments this year. I heard a doctor on CBC this morning talk about how our brains are really only good at focusing on a few things at once, so it’s best to make a few great goals rather than a lot of small ones.
Here we go…
#1. Watch what I consume. I don’t mean watch my weight or anything like that, I mean literally to be mindful of the stuff I am filling myself with- be it gossip, trashy tv, facebook, fast food, no protein, negative thoughts, etc.
#2. Choose love. I so often forget to love people in my day to day encounters. I forget that each person was designed by God and has inalienable value. I hate that I forget this. More so, I hate when I choose to ignore such a simple truth. I want to be more loving.
#3 . Become less self absorbed. Spend less time making myself feel cool, worthy, valuable, smart, good looking, talented, etc. It’s exhausting, totally overrated, and soooo 2008. I want to live for something a heck of a lot bigger than myself- and the ironic thing is that I feel a heck of a lot more positive about who I am when I stop trying so hard. This year I am going to get over myself.