Posted by: minnow | November 11, 2013

“Guilt” has a Good Side

I want to do something different this year for the holidays.  I’ve noticed a few FB friends with count downs to Thanksgiving.  They’re posting the things for which they’re thankful or the ways they feel blessed.  One of my friends is doing the ABCs–each day is a new letter–which actually caused me to count the number of days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Sure enough it’s 26 but I really don’t want to go there because who wants to try and think of things beginning with Z to be thankful for on Christmas Eve.  Still, one of my favorite “Christmas” movies is White Christmas staring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen.  And, one of my favorite songs from the movie is “Counting Your Blessings”.  Besides, this time of year is supposed to bring the thankfulness out in people, right?!

(Feeling guilty yet?)  Yeah, me too.  I do that to myself a lot. Guilt is one of my most effective motivators.  Guilt causes me to clean the bathroom or dust the living room.  Guilt causes me to spend time doing something with someone when I’d really rather be alone in my studio.  Guilt makes me say yes to invitations I want to say no to.  Guilt motivates me to eat a salad when I really want cheesecake.  Guilt makes me exit Facebook and start working on my school work. Guilt (or at least the gnawing feeling in the back of my brain that usually begins to talk to me with the phrase “You should…”) helps me to be the person I truthfully want to be. Sometimes.

I want to be the kind of person who cares about the planet and recycles.  I just don’t often want to be the person who carries the recyclables out of the house to the garage and I even more rarely want to be the person who takes the overflowing bins to the recycling center.  My husband thinks that’s one of the reasons I keep him around.  Ahem!  I am just thankful that every time he follows through with my plan to save the planet he doesn’t remind me that it was my plan.

I want to be the kind of person who cares about the food my family eats and watches the grocery budget, and eats fresh veggies.  I just don’t often want to weed the garden or, water the garden, or plant such a big garden that I actually have to harvest/can the produce.  And, I honestly don’t mind the convenience of popping open a store bought can and dumping the soup in the pot, even if it’s loaded with sodium.

I want to be the kind of person who gets exercise every day and has energy to do the things I need and want to do, who cares about staying in shape long into old age.  But, the truth of the matter is I don’t like taking a walk when I’m tired and have a million other things on my to do list.  I rather check out Facebook or write a blog or take a nap.  And, I don’t like to sweat.

I want to be the kind of person who advocates for the marginalized, gives to the poor, encourages the downtrodden, and changes the social/political/religious landscape.  But, the truth is I don’t know where to begin half the time and my plate is already pretty full just getting from one day to the next and one person just can’t do all that much alone.  The truth is I have lots of excuses why I “can’t” which as my husband often says: “just means it’s easier if you don’t”.

I want to be the kind of person who sees the best in others, who adjusts how I see the world because I consciously spend time trying to see it through someone else’s eyes, who believes in the possibility and potential, and who is willing to do more, give more, reach more, spend more, encourage more, and embrace more today than I did yesterday and tomorrow more than I did today.

So yes, I am thankful for the do overs I get every morning and the challenges I face every day.  I am thankful for the people who share my life with me and let me share their lives with them.  And strange as it sounds, I am actually thankful for that voice in my head, that loud obnoxious voice and that still quite voice that urges me on with the simply phrase, “Hey! You should…”

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