I used to make new year’s resolutions every December. My dad was big on getting us all together sometime during the Christmas vacation for an informal accounting of the year and setting of new goals. Initially this was an exciting process and I had quite a list of resolutions. As the years went by, the practical goals went from ‘lose twenty pounds’ to ‘don’t gain any weight’. Then as the enthusiasm faded, we all got quite philosophical and came with goals like ‘Focus’ and ‘Live a life of gratitude’. And even though it all sounded quite profound, it was just a way to escape being pinned down on specific goals, on my part anyway. So as I sat in my mother’s living room watching the luck luster New Year’s festivities on the eve 2021, I wondered if I should even bother to make any. Just the very act of sitting there to watch the ball drop with my entire family intact, felt like an accomplishment in itself. It would have felt greedy to ask for even one thing. So I didn’t. I was just grateful. However a few weeks later I couldn’t resist. So there it is:
‘Live a life of gratitude and lose the twenty pounds I gained during quarantine.’
I was content
Then I was content with my contentment
And then when I thought I couldn’t be more content I was
Then I read a book on how to be even more content
And I realized I hadn’t reached the pinnacle of contentment
Then I wasn’t content anymore
A year ago I watched Shonda Rhimes give TED talk about saying yes to everything. It was a great talk but I must say I was not on board with this idea. The every thought that I may say yes to things that were scary was my main reason for this hesitation. I did however take on the challenge but even without fully committing to it yielded good results. Most notably taking part in a group exhibition. I am continuing with this idea moving forward and this time fully committing to it. Stay tuned.
I have never been one to jump into a fight. I generally eschew pain and bruises. Some may see that as cowardly but from a very young age I learned that there were two other options diplomacy or flight. You know, live to fight another day and so on and so forth.
Now for the most epic battle ever. Not even. I was nine years old running around in the sand filled playground at my Schule in the Berlin one brisk morning. We would line up at the foot of the ladder and climb up then slide down shrieking in delight. I remember that day I was wearing my favorite bright orange parka trimmed with brown fur. I run around the slide to the ladder and waited as my classmate climbed up to the top. I followed suit and started the climb.
Just as I reached halfway up the ladder, I felt a tug on the hood of my parka. It was so hard and abrupt I was disoriented for a moment. I barely broke my fall with my elbows when I hit the sand. The entire playground froze. They waited to see my reaction, would I let out a loud cry? My eyes started to well up with tears as I scanned the playground looking for a sympathetic face. Then I saw him out of the corner of my eyes, snickering with the other boys. The culprit. The author of my humiliation. I would show him. I sprang up and landed the hardest punch I could muster squarely on the side of his head. He yelled out and started to cry while his friends stared in horror. I too was shocked at his reaction, he was the one who always made others cry.
To my surprise I was not reprimanded by the teacher. My fellow classmates told me how grateful they were that I had stood up to the bully. It wasn’t something I was proud of since I was typically an agreeable and quiet child. I was also afraid that he would retaliate one day. So I was quite shocked when I was invited to his birthday party a few weeks later. And from that day onward we became good friend.