Seems like we all try to make fresh starts each new year. Lose weight, work harder, finish that novel, quit smoking, exercise more. Whatever it may be, clearly we humans have a hard time with discipline and willpower. Or do we?
One of my favorite sayings, and I have no idea who said it, is “Life would be so awesome if only life would get out of my way!” In other words, we all have great ideas and intentions but somehow, someway, big things and little things in life keep holding us back and getting in the way.
Just when you are about to pay off the car, it breaks down. Just about to leave for vacation and you have a sick child. You are thinking of giving to charity when you’re hit with an unexpected home repair. You are about to spend quality time with the family and you receive word about the death of a loved one. You are ready to put more in savings and you lose your job.
It could be big or small. But life just doesn’t ever seem to roll out exactly how we’d prefer, does it? Maybe you can use an interesting approach when confronted with life.
Ever studied the subjunctive tense in French or Spanish? It can be maddening as it is a tense we don’t use much in English to express subtlety and mood. In American English we are direct. To the point. However, our Latin language speaking friends use more context and refinement by changing a verb ever so slightly to express a doubt or mood or lack of certainty.
- Indicative: Busco el carro barato que funciona. (I’m looking for the cheap car that works.)
- Subjunctive: Busco un carro barato que funcione. (I’m looking for a cheap car that works.)
A very minor change in spelling or pronunciation lets the other side of the conversation interpret your mood or meaning.
Anyway, this isn’t a language lesson. My point is, as a high school sophomore completely enamored of my own intellect, I was very frustrated that I could not gain understanding of this concept! I did not like the grades I was getting in French. So I complained to my teacher that the subjunctive “just doesn’t make any logical sense! I shouldn’t have my grade point average suffering because this ancient language used by people who owe their very existence to us can’t modernize a bit and make things easier!”
Her reply was classic old fashioned French professor. “The language was here before you and will be here well after you’re gone. If you want an “A” you’d do better to accept the language as it is, learn how it functions and forget trying to squeeze it into your own expectations of ‘how it should’ be!”
Can’t the same be said for life? The small things and big things that we use as excuses for why we aren’t hitting goals, exercising, calling mom, etc. are as old as life itself, aren’t they? Is there any way of preventing them? What if, when we get hit by a rolling stone, we simply accept that is life and get on with figuring out how to roll with it?
Early January allows us hope and optimism that this year will be the one! This will be the year we finally do fill in the blank line here. While I cannot guarantee much, I can bet that something will endeavor to get between you and your goals this year. So why act surprised? Expect obstacles to your goals. Then when they do occur, you can say “No surprise, that’s life!”
Now you’re ready to tackle the challenge instead of wondering why it is happening. A much better way to get to your goals for the New Year!