Stating New Year’s intentions

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My daughter likes calendars. She has one hanging in her room to keep track of the days I suppose. Since autism limits her ability to communicate, I can only guess why calendars are important to her.

A few days before Christmas, she removed the 2010 calendar from the refrigerator and took the one off her closet door. Perhaps it was a signal that to her it was time to bid the old farewell and prepare for the arrival of 2011.

So, when we went shopping, two new calendars landed in my cart, one for her and one for me (I like keeping track, too). I thought the plain one was the one she’d choosen as opposed to the one with flowers, which I liked.

I smiled when she picked the flowers and promptly hung it on the closet door. Since a smaller version of the floral one came with the larger one, I hung it on the refrigerator. Now, I thought, bring on the New Year. We have our calendars.

All this shifting and shuffling of calendars set me thinking about the coming year and what lies ahead. In addition to a smaller calendar, there was also a two-year planner included in the set.

As I thumbed through it, looking at two years worth of months and days laid out neatly with plenty of room for writing notes, I wondered how in the world you plan that far in advance. How can I possibly have an entry for say, July 2012? And is it even a good idea to try?

Now I’ll admit, I’m not a great planner, never have been. A Saturday morning conversation between my husband and me goes something like this:

“What are your plans for today?” he asks, as he is getting ready to do something he made plans to do.

“Well, I don’t know,” I answer. “Right now my only plan is to drink another cup of coffee.”

So you see why jumping two weeks ahead, much less two years, is a stretch for me. Sure, I know certain things are set to happen at certain times and I keep that in the back of my head. That, however, does not constitute a plan. It’s knowing, not planning.

And that brings me the long way around to New Year’s resolutions, another form of planning if you ask me. I’ve tried resolving stuff at the beginning of the year. My heart is in the right place, but like my planning for Saturday, I quickly lose momentum and am content to just drink another cup of coffee and let things fall where they may.

This year, I decided not to even consider resolutions, but to think more in terms of intention. Intention sounds less set in stone to me, less like a plan.

So here is a list of my “intentions:”

1. Be kinder to others and to myself.

2. Be less judgmental about everything.

3. Accept things as they are and go with the flow. (That ties in nicely with No. 2)

4. Practice what I preach. (Now there’s a good one).

5. Talk less, listen more. (Not always easy for me).

6. Look for the positive more than the negative in situations.

7. Suspend the need to be right.

8. Be open to new ideas. (Goes with No. 7)

9. Express gratitude and appreciate my blessings.

10. Choose love (Practicing Nos. 9 and 10 pretty much takes care of the other eight).

Hey, it just occurred to me that these work as long-term intentions — say for maybe two years even. Well, I guess I do have something to write in that planner after all.