January 2, 2013

I am not a big New Year’s Resolution-er, but I love New Years. I don’t really do resolutions because I try to live my life as best I can, at the same time for many New Year’s brings about that sense of having a clean slate. I get that, and I respect that.

Statistics show that over 90% of New Year’s Resolutions fail, which I also get. Think about it….. everyone suddenly decides to make a big change on one day….. they expect themselves to never ever eat sugar again, to work out like a maniac….. to all of a sudden be really balanced and zen like…. the moment we fall off the perfection wagon….. forget it all. To hell with it all!

Life isn’t black and white. I was having a conversation with a friend a few weeks ago, a professional triathlete in fact. They were stating that for them life was only black and white. “You did your you didn’t” they said. I smiled. I don’t know if with age comes wisdom (I am only 38), or … the more likely answer…. is that life experience has given me good insight…. my response to that was….

“I once felt the same way. But then two things came into my life: Cancer and Autism. Doesn’t get more grey than that.”

The all or nothing view of the world will land you in trouble in the end. And it will land you in trouble with no one else but the person in your mirror. At the same time… it’s a lesson that you have to live and learn on your own. It’s nothing that can truly be taught through anything else but experience.

My son’s special needs were difficult for me to learn because as my friend was… I was very black and white. When milestones get missed, when he didn’t fit neatly into any diagnosis I found it frustrating. Beyond frustrating. I wanted a protocol, an answer, a diagnosis, a treatment plan.

There were none. I had no game plan and no playbook.

One day I realized that the world of grey was reality. Our reality. At the same time I found that to be frustrating, I found it to be liberating. I felt freedom from it. I realized that the only person holding me into these strict patterns of black and white was….. me.

What does this have to do with New Year’s Resolutions? How about this year instead of imposing a set of rules on ourselves, we try to live. Since everyone is so focused on dieting…. what if we changed that first? Instead of swearing off sugar forever….. add the four fruits and vegetables in each day? What if we add to our life and not take away?

Let’s face it. If I died tomorrow I would be pretty upset if it had been over a year since I had my last Peppermint Patty. I just don’t need to eat them all day every day.

Instead of adhering to a very rigid training regimen (which, admittedly I do!), be flexible with yourself. If you are not feeling up to snuff one day…. then choose a walk instead of a run. Give yourself options.

My point is really this: we aren’t perfect. That’s why we are here. we are here to gather experiences. We are here to learn how to love. We are here to make mistakes. We are here to stumble and fall.

At the end of your life no one is going to care whether you were a professional athlete, a CEO or had billions of dollars. None of that gets to go with you. Those I respect are those professional athletes, those CEO’s those (insert category here) who utilize the platform on which they stand … to do something.

Triathlon happens to be what I know best…. so let me use that as an example. I know a lot of age groupers and pros who literally lock themselves in a closet in order to win the race, live the dream. They end up closing themselves off and cutting the world off from some beautiful talents of theirs.

The professionals that I watch become the most successful…. are the ones who come out of that proverbial hole, live a life worth living and use their position to make the world a better place. When they cross the finish line first they have more than my admiration for their athletic abilities. They have my respect. at the end of their life I won’t remember how many Kona titles they won. Titles get forgotten. I will remember what they did with the position they were given.

There is nothing wrong with aiming to win. There is nothing wrong with focusing on your dream. Don’t let yourself get so wrapped up with the person in the mirror that you forget what is going on around you.

So this NEw Year’s I encourage you to gather experiences, not live in the vacuum of deprivation. Things will balance themselves out in terms of fitness and nutrition, in terms of life. But only if you open yourself to it. All of it.

I bet… if you do that…. one year from today if we have this conversation…. it will truly have been a year to remember. Because you lived.





  1. Once again beautifully written. I needed this today as a reminder to stop for a moment. My 14yr old has been sick and I have been seeking concrete answers. I know that I may never find them, this piece was a good reminder of that.

  2. Well said Mary. Happy new year.

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