My friend Michele writes wonderful cards. She has beautiful handwriting, but the content is always incredible too. Where most of us would scribble a generic sentence, she composes thoughtful, funny paragraphs that always remind me of her incredible friendship. Michele remembers the little details, the things that build the big picture of my whole life, not just the officially important events and achievements that one might list on a CV or in a formal introduction. If we do not describe ourselves using the “CV items”, do we like what we see? And if we were to remove similar categorizations from our awareness of the children we teach, how well would we really know them? Whenever I talk to Michele, or receive one of her cards, I find myself remembering the little things, the little things which, depending on one’s perspective, might actually be the big things in life.
My yoga teacher suggested forming affirmations for the new year, rather than resolutions. Having originally planned a Bridget Jones-style list of resolutions, mostly ones that I’d failed to achieve in previous years, this sounded like an excellent alternative! According to dictionary.com, an affirmation is “the assertion that something exists or is true.” My truth is that I find myself evermore appreciative of the little things, the moments of joy and laughter and peace, and that I want them to be longer and more frequent. I’m not sure that I can call that an affirmation yet, but I have managed to turn it into one resolution: to be productive about being unproductive. By which I mean focusing on enjoying my downtime by actively reading a book or the paper, watching a film, talking to a friend, trying a new recipe or sleeping – and trying to reduce my tendency to pretend that I’m going to “be productive” (what a horrible word!) when actually I’m really just meandering around my physical and online spaces feeling a bit underwhelmed and underwhelming.
No doubt Bridget would be horrified by my only having one resolution, and one that is so unquantifiable, but I think Michele will approve. After all, it should give her more little things to mention when she writes next year’s Christmas card. And those are far more valuable than anything I can put on my CV.